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The Pear-Chaplin Basque Corpus

© Jon Aske


In the Fall of 1993 I tape recorded Basque speech from 42 Basque speakers.  There were three types of recordings:

  1. Narratives: Speakers recounted a silent movie they had just watched to a friend who had not watched it.  Two silent movies were used for this purpose: 7-minute silent movie The Pear Story (cf. Chafe, ed., 1981) and a 12 minute collage of scenes from the beginning part of Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times.  Forty two such narratives were recorded, half (21) about each one of these two films.  For more information on these films, please contact me.  All of these recordings are included on this CD in MP3 format together with their transcripts.
  2. Descriptions: Speakers describing still pictures taken from children’s books (the Ramona pictures).  All of these recordings are included on this CD in MP3 format (without transcripts).
  3. Extemporaneous speech: In between recording sessions, a few recordings were also made of extemporaneous, spontaneous speech with speakers telling jokes, other stories, or talking about themselves.  Some of these recordings are also included on this CD in MP3 format (without transcripts).


These recordings and their transcripts were used in my doctoral dissertation on Basque word order (Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley, 1997) and are being released now so that other Basque linguists may take advantage of them.  Much interesting information can be gleaned from comparing narratives from different speakers speaking about the same subject, such as differences in description strategies, memory, and so on.


In this CD you will find the following materials related to the recordings:

  1. The transcripts page: From this framed page you may access the different transcripts of all the narratives, as well as information about the transcriptions and other related information.
  2. Index of Pear-Chaplin Basque Corpus MP3 Sound Files: Here you will find the listing, or index, of all the MP3 sound files, together with their playing times and other information.
  3. Corpus Background Page: Includes information about the speakers, notational conventions and symbols, and excerpts from Aske 1997, a dissertation on Basque word order which used the Basque Pear-Chaplin corpus.
  4. Ramona Pictures Page: This page contains thumbnails of all the pictures that were used to elicit descriptions from some speakers.  Clicking on each thumbnail opens the full picture.


On this CD you will not find the silent movies that were used to elicit the narratives.  For more information on how to acquire these videos, please contact me.


In order to listen to the sound files on this CD, you will need a media player capable of playing MP3 files.  In a Windows environment you may use Windows Media Player, which comes with more recent versions of Windows or which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site.  Alternatively, you may use the excellent Winamp player, which can be downloaded free of charge.  In either Windows or Mac environments the, also free, Quicktime player from Apple Corporation.



I would like to thank all my ‘subjects’ (language consultants) and the people who helped me get in touch with them: Koro Nabarro and Juan Mari Arzallus of Lur Argitaletxea, for the contacts at the schools; Edurne Yañez of Gure Ikastola in Hendaia, and Edurne Odriozola Sustaeta, of Ikasbide Ikastola in Donostia; Xabier Falcon of Deustuko Unibertsitatea in Donostia; and my good friends Iñaki Heras Saizarbitoria of Donostia and Karmen Rodriguez Ranz of Andoain.


Also, I would like to acknowledge the great help I received with the first pass for the transcriptions from Aitziber Arnaiz Garmendia and Izaskun Mitxelena Santos, who in 1993 were students of Xabier Falcon at Deustuko Unibertsitatea (Donostia).  They spent many hours committing each of these narratives to writing, before I even spent an equally large number of hours refining those transcriptions and adding linguistic information.




Chafe, Wallace, ed. 1980. The pear stories: Cognitive, cultural, and linguistic aspects of narrative production. Advances in Discourse Processing, 3. Norwood, NJ: Ablex


Aske, Jon. 1997. Basque word order and disorder: Principles, variation, and prospects. Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley


Aske, Jon. to appear. Word order typology: Evidence from Basque (working title). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins



If you have any questions or suggestions to make about these materials, feel free to contact me.


Jon Aske

Department of Foreign Languages

Salem State University

352 Lafayette Street

Salem, MA 01970



Version: January 10, 2002


Start | Recordings | MP3 listing | Transcripts | Background | Pictures | Movies