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Spoken language samples can be gathered in various ways. The elicitation strategies and materials influences the sample collected.

As part of our standard procedure, we use picture series to elicit language samples. We use some commerically available series. We have also developed our own series with the following goals in mind:

  • To depict familiar situations-to enable usage of everyday concepts and vocabulary
  • To depict situations tapping thoughts, feelings and motivations—to elicit more complex language
  • To have enough ambiguity that students can convey the information in variable ways—to reduce the influence of listener familiarity on comprehensibility.

Elicitation Procedures for Picture Series The elicitation task is an important variable. We have found a big difference in cohesiveness and linguistic complexity when students tell a story as they look at pictures versus when they look at the whole story first, put it away, and then tell the story. The latter task encourages students to integrate the information into a cohesive text prior to the story telling.

Instructions for Language Sampling "I'm going to show you a series of pictures. The pictures tell a story. I want you to look at the pictures and see the story. You can look at the pictures as long as you want and you can go back and look at the pictures more than once. When you know the story, I want you to close the booklet and then tell the story to someone who has not seen the pictures and does not know the story."