Shiro Corpus

Martha Shiro
Instituto de Filologia “Andres Bello”
Universidad Central de Venezuela


Participants: 113 children -- ages 6;0 to 9;0 years old
Type of Study: narratives
Location: Venezuela
Media type: no longer available
DOI: doi:10.21415/T52C9W

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Citation information

Shiro, M. (1997). Getting the story across: A discourse analysis approach to evaluative stance in Venezuelan children’s narratives. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Harvard University.

Shiro, M. (2000a). Los pequeños cuentacuentos. Cuadernos de Lengua y Habla, 2, 319-337.

Shiro, M. (2000b). Diferencias sociales en la construcción del yo y del otro: Expresiones evaluativas en las narraciones de niños caraqueños en edad escolar. In de Bustos Tovar et al. Lengua, discurso, texto, (Vol. 1, pp.1303-1318). Madrid: Universidad Complutense & Visor Libros.

In accordance with TalkBank rules, any use of data from this corpus must be accompanied by at least one of the above references.

Project Description

The narratives in this data were collected from 113 Venezuelan children by Martha Shiro of Universidad Central de Venezuela for a doctoral thesis under the direction of Catherine Snow, Lowry Hemphill, and Victoria Purcell-Gates of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The children, 56 first graders and 57 fourth graders, were selected from three public schools and three private schools. Due to the characteristics of the Venezuelan educational system, all 59 children interviewed in the private schools come from high SES families, and all 54 children from the public schools come from low SES families.

The interviews consisted of an initial warming up conversation, where the child talked about his or her personal background, followed by 4 types of prompts which elicited 4 narrative types (the transcription is gemmed for the narratives produced in the interview). A total of 444 narratives were produced. The personal narratives were elicited with the following tasks:

  1. Personal Narrative, Open-ended Prompt: the child was asked to tell a story about a frightening experience (¿Te pasó algo que te haya dado un susto? Cuéntame.)
  2. Personal Narrative, Structured Prompt: The interviewer modeled a short personal anecdote and asked the child if something similar had ever happened to him or her. The following 3 prompts were used to make sure that the child would produce at least one story:
  3. Fictional Narrative, Open-ended Prompt: The child was asked to tell the story of a favorite film, video or TV program.
  4. Fictional Narrative, Structured Prompt: The child was shown a wordless animated video (Picnic, Weston Woods, 1993) and asked to tell the story. The film was shown twice and the children retold the story after the second viewing to the researcher who was not present when the film was projected and pretended not to be familiar with the story.

Each file has a four-field ID that lists: (1) ID numbers, (2) School initial (SL, PE, IGN stand for the 3 private schools, RG, LE, FR, stand for the 3 public schools), (3) age in months, and (4) sex. Transcriptions follow the conventions of CHAT format and most utterances are divided into clauses [c]. The Spanish spoken by the children is the Venezuelan variety from the capital of Caracas. Only a few phonological deletions are signaled in the transcription.

The recordings of the interviews have been digitalized on 37 CD’s entitled Corpus del habla de niños caraqueños en edad escolar 1996, Instituto de Filología “Andrés Bello”, Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Usage restrictions

Anyone interested in acquiring the audio portion of the transcripts should write to Martha Shiro (