Using experimental design for descriptive work: reflections on why it is helpful and how to do it


  • Suzi Lima University of Toronto


experimental design, semantics, Brazil


In this paper I discuss the use of small-to-medium scale production and comprehension studies to further the description of languages. This discussion is based on studies performed in Yudja, a Brazilian Indigenous language. The discussion centers around the considerations one should make while designing a study. Furthermore, I review how production and comprehension studies with a small-to-medium group of speakers - aligned with other techniques (such as analysis of naturalistic data and one-on-one context-based elicitation) - can contribute to the description of language use across different generations of speakers and to the advancement of typological and theoretical studies on a given topic. Finally, I also discuss the importance of investigating the same topic using more than one method.