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Paul Kilpatrick (02 Feb 2006) said:

Data Collection

I've done some language salvage work and video recording in Mexico and Peru.In the mid '80's, rather accidentally, I discovered a way to get more natural spontaneous speech.I had set up both video and audio recorders to record three elderly Shipibo women in San Francisco, north of Pucallpa. I turned on both machines and left hoping I would get natural speech.Viewing the tape later was a disappointment because other anthropologists/linguists had been there before and these women had a pretty canned narrative. The village 'chief' assured me these were the women I needed for my data, but in fact, he was simply using women who were old enough to remember some of the more violent inter-tribal history of that area. They had recited their history to so many anthropologists that their narrative had become very canned. Certainly there was NO simultaneous speech as in their normal conversation.After 30 minutes, however, my audio recorder clicked off at the end of the cassette. My video was still running and caught some wonderful spontaneous (simultaneous) speech as they began to problem solve.Introducing a problem into the taping situation seems to elicite more natural speech where there is an unexpected topic (the problem) and an unscripted discourse (the solution.)

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