The movies in the archive

The archive consists of over one thousand separate video clips. The video clips are based on the tasks or events that occurred during the language recording sessions. The archive will be able to be viewed by the public through the internet after 2012. In the meantime they are the subject of linguistic research and are being annotated in detail. The types of language elicitation tasks used in the creation of the archive are listed below:

1 Introduction: A brief identification and background interview in Auslan was conducted by the session leader. Each participant gave their sign name and explained its origin.

2 Narrative—text stimulus: Each participant produced a narrative in Auslan based on a text stimulus, which was one of two Aesop’s Fables: ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ or ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’. The fable had been read one week prior to the recording session and practiced individually by each participant, each of whom had a different fable. Each participant retold the other participant the fable they had previously read.

3 Narrative—personal recount: The session leader asked each participant to recount to the other participant a memorable event that had happened to them or someone close to them.

4 Attitudes survey: Each participant was questioned on their opinion regarding various issues of relevance to the deaf community, such as issues related to the genetics of deafness, the use of cochlear implants, the availability and cost of sign language interpreters, the use of Auslan in schools for deaf children, and the future of the deaf community.

5 Conversation: The two participants were left alone and allowed to converse freely on any topic for at least fifteen minutes.

6 Narrative—cartoon stimulus: A Warner Brothers cartoon (‘Canary Row’ from the ‘Tweety and Sylvester’ series) was edited into short episodes which were shown to each participant alternatively and separately. Each participant then told the other participant what they had seen. Four episodes were described, two by each participant.

7 Narrative—picture book stimulus: One participant recounted to the other participant a story ('Frog Where Are You?') they had just seen depicted in a children's picture book.

8 Narrative—Auslan stimulus: One participant recounted to the other a story that they had just seen told by a deaf person in Auslan. The Auslan story had been pre-recorded on video and was shown to the participant.

9 Description—video stimulus: One participant watched a series of filmed vignettes designed to elicit depicting signs. They then described what th ey had seen to the other participant.

10 Description—picture stimulus: One participant described a series of 18 pictures depicting a series of simple events, situations and actions categorized as ‘reversible’ (either participant in the illustration could be the agent), ‘non-reversible’ (only one participant in the illustration could be easily construed as the agent), or ‘locative’ (describing a locative relationship, not an action). The other participant had a series of cards with pictures of two similar situations, only one of which was that which was described. They had to chose which picture had been described.

11 Question game: Each participant was given one of two very similar drawings. They asked each other questions to establish the exact differences between the two pictures, as in the game ‘spot the difference’. This task was designed to elicit interrogative and negated constructions.