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Practical materials for the study of language proficiency

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Title: Practical materials for the study of language proficiency
Authors: O'Grady, William
Hattori, Ryoko
Issue Date: 01 Mar 2013
Description: A major challenge for the study of language endangerment and language revitalization involves the development of easy-to-use techniques for assessing language proficiency in a community’s children, adolescents, and adults. In this two-part presentation, we demonstrate a set of materials that can be used to diagnose basic proficiency in a language. The materials, which consist of pictures that are designed to elicit the production of particular types of sentences, are appropriate for speakers of all ages, ranging from young children to elderly adults. They require no special expertise on the part of the researcher, can be adapted for use with any language, and yield results that are relatively easy to interpret.

Our presentation will focus on how these materials can help assess mastery of the particular grammatical mechanisms (case marking, verb agreement, and word order) that constitute the foundation of proficiency in a language. We will discuss how to decide which picture sets to employ for the particular language being investigated, how to carry out the actual elicitation procedure, and how to interpret the results. Our discussion will include actual examples from recent fieldwork, and opportunities to discuss applications of this method in situations of interest to members of the audience.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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