The Afranaph website and database may be accessed freely for the purpose of carrying out scientific research, subject to the usual rules for fair use and scientific attribution. The authors and editors retain copyright over its contents (in particular, redistribution of the database or its contents is not allowed without the express permission of the editors).

Although our static resources have version numbers, the database is still under construction, and therefore in a state of flux. When it is updated, we do not, at present, plan to indicate this in terms of version numbers, although the site blog will often report major revisions or the addition of new material. The contents of the database may in the future be restructured, expanded with new data, or revised to correct errors. Please use due caution in interpreting the data found here. Where the native speaker linguist consultants have provided contact details, we encourage you to contact them if you need additional information.

Citation guidelines

There are two kinds of documents on the website and the forms for citing them should be distinguished. If the document cited is a static document in a Case file, such as the AQ response for Yoruba  with a version number, then the citation is much like a book chapter citation and might look as follows:

Adesola, Oluseye. 2005. Yoruba Anaphora Questionnaire Response version 2.1. In Ken Safir, ed.,  Afranaph Website, at URL .

Citations of the database should have a somewhat different form. If examples from a single language are reported (e.g., Yoruba), then the linguist who provided the examples is considered the author much in the way that the static AQ response has an author. If you wish to make separate references to the different source documents that you draw examples from, then add references of this form accordingly. The emerging standards for citing electronic resources additionally advise that you should record the date that the information was retrieved, since such resources are likely to change over time and the database does not record version numbers (moreover, the database may be updated more frequently than the static AQ response).

Adesola, Oluseye. 2008. Yoruba data. In K. Safir, Afranaph Database, at URL . Retrieved December 7, 2008.

To cite the database as a whole (e.g., if you draw examples from many different languages), you could use something like the following:

Safir, Ken (2008). Afranaph Database. At URL . Retrieved December 7, 2008.

If you have cause to refer to the results of some query you've carried out, you might wish to provide the expanded URL of the query results in the body of your text (or in a footnote); this will allow readers to reproduce the results page you viewed (but note that the database might be updated in the interim). The citation itself should still have one of the forms given above.

For more information on citing web resources, see the ISO 690-2 standard, this summary of the APA citation format, or this general guide at the University of Alberta Libraries. A web search will reveal many more resources.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Under Construction.

Download: Afranaph Questionnaire in English [pdf] [doc] | et en Français [pdf] [doc] | Clausal Complementation Questionnaire  [pdf] [doc] | Properties of Subjects in Bantu Questionnaire[pdf] [doc] | DP Positions Questionnaire [pdf] [doc] | Noun Class Prefix Questionnaire [pdf][doc] | Questionnaire on Tense and Aspect in African Languages [pdf][doc] | Additional Notes for Consultants [pdf] | Afranaph Consultant Information and Consent Form [pdf]

The life-blood of our work is the information that only our consultants have access to, namely, their native speaker intuitions and the training they have to make those intuitions most efficiently available to us. For example, our consultants must often use their linguistic training to make sense of a poorly asked question by an ignorant analyst and return information that is useful to our common purpose: the exploration, and in the best case, explanation, of empirical patterns in natural language. Thus it is a collaborative enterprise, and some documents are likely to result, particularly the anaphora sketch, that will be the result of that collaboration.

To become a consultant to the Afranaph project, you have to be a native speaker of a non-Colonial language of Africa and a trained linguist. Participation in our project is voluntary and non-contractual. We do pay our consultants for various levels of participation, but the reality of the situation is that we cannot pay what the work is worth. Besides the general benefit your participation will bring to the linguistic research community, we like to think we are providing our consultants with an opportunity that brings their efforts for the project, their language, and other work they have done, to the attention of a wider world community of linguists interested in a broad range of theoretical and (to a lesser extent) practical questions. If you are a young scholar and you  want to enter the world community of Africanist linguists, theoretical linguists and typologists, or both, it is not unrealistic to view your participation in our project as making a contribution that will be unique and significant. If you are already part of that community, then you know what your potential contribution is worth and we hope you will take this opportunity to share it with us. Although it is possible and anticipated that some linguists may choose not to reveal their identities in order to participate in the project, we find that most of our consultants do wish to be known, and some of these consultants may be asked to contribute to some of the other aspects of our case files, including the grammar sketch, collaborations with directors of the Afranaph Sister Projects, the translated tale (with morpheme breakdowns and glosses) the bibliography and so forth.

There are now a variety of Afranaph Sister Projects that consultants can participate in. Participation in any one project, specifically by filling out a questionnaire for it, does not require participation in any of the other projects, but we encourage our consultants to participate in as many projects as possible so that a broader picture of their language can emerge from the data that our project can put on view. If, after reviewing one or more of the questionnaires and checking out the remuneration possibilities you have decided to participate, then the next page to consult is the Consultant’s Page, where more detailed instructions for participation are available.

 Getting Started

About compensation




Getting Started

If you decide you are interested in participating in our project as a consultant, we urge you to begin by deciding which questionnaire you would like to begin with. Naturally, consultants will tend to look first at the questionnaires for the projects that interest them, but just for comparison, we recommend that you look at more than one. Some questionnaires will make much greater demands on your time than others, and if you would like to begin by answering one of the less time-consuming ones, then consult the About Compensation page where the schedule of fees reflects our estimation of which projects are likely to be the most time-consuming. The AQ, for example, for which we offer the most compensation, is very long and detailed and so it is important to assess how much is expected before you make a commitment.

While linguistic training is required, the main effects of that training that is pertinent to filling out the AQ is that you need to be sensitive to matters of grammar in your language, you need to be able to provide a thoughtful morpheme breakdown and gloss (according to our Glossing Conventions), and that you have a sense of what a linguist might be interested in knowing. Although it is rare, some people have this latter sense with little training, but the AQ is not designed with naive native speakers in mind, and moreover, the level of commitment required is more typical of those who have a professional interest in matters of grammar.

When you have made these assessments, then please contact us by email (Contact Us) and let us know which project or projects you would like to answer questionnaires for. In your first message, please also tell us a bit about yourself, including a brief account of your linguistic training, the language(s) you speak natively, your affiliation, if you have one, and how we may most conveniently maintain contact with you. At some point, before we can use any data you send us, you must fill out the Consultant Information and Consent Form, which includes this information and more, and once you have filled it out once, you don’t have to fill out again for participation in any new sister project. We will then put you in touch with the investigators for the Afranaph Sister Project that the questionnaire is for (if you are not already in touch, or have come to us through them). Thereafter, most of your contact will be with project investigators for each of the sister projects you are answering a questionnaire for.

As soon as it is agreed between us that you will become a consultant for Afranaph, please go to the Consultant’s Page, which provides necessary documents and includes a variety of instructions designed to simplify your experience and standardize, as much as possible, the procedures for presenting data to us.

About compensation
Back to Become a Consultant home

About compensation


Although we realize that most of our consultants participate in our project out of curiosity about their own language, in order to bring attention to their language as the object of theoretical study, to participate in linguistic inquiry generally, to expand their range of academic contacts, and so forth, and we hope to deliver on those aspirations, we also recognize that the work of our project is not a trivial commitment of time and effort and that it should be remunerated, however inadequately. So, although we know that what we ask of our native speaker linguist consultants is worth more than what we pay, we do pay something, and in order for us to predictably manage our budget and provide some predictability for all involved, we have devised a schedule of fees and some rules to live by.

AQ - $300 for completion of first draft of AQR. $200 more for two or more follow-ups.
TAQ - $100 for completion of first draft. $100 for completion of follow-up.
SSBQ - $200 for completion of first draft. $100 more for two or more follow-ups
CCQ - $250 for completion of first draft. $100 more for two or more follow-ups
NCQ - $100 for completion of first draft. $100 for completion of follow-up.
DPPQ - $200 for completion of first draft. $100 more for two or more follow-ups.

Completion and credit: The directors of the project(s) you are a consultant for must contact Afranaph Central (the Afranaph Project staff) to confirm that a questionnaire has been completed and then you will then receive email from Afranaph Central stating what your credit amount is according to the payment schedule in effect at the time of completion.

Cash Payment: When what we owe you is $200 or more, we will pay you on demand with a balance transfer and the balance transfer fee will not be subtracted from your payment. If you would like payment on demand for less than $200 credit for work done, the balance transfer fee will be subtracted from the payment. We do this to discourage balance transfers on low amounts because it is uneconomical for all concerned, but for Afranaph especially. Consultants who accept any payment by balance transfer will have to fill out a (short) consultant agreement detailing the rights and obligations of paid consultants, which is required by the lawyers at our parent institution, Rutgers University. 

The Laptop Option: A consultant who completed work worth $500 or more can choose not to be compensated, but instead can qualify for the use of a laptop computer that we will provide as a tool that they can use in future work for us. We will buy the best one this amount will permit (after we cover the considerable costs required to have it shipped) from the supplier that our university gets a discount from. We promise, at least through 2015, that those who waive the $500 compensation will have the option to receive this research tool (delivery included) to help them in their work for us. Consultants interested in the laptop option can qualify by completing the AQ with follow-up, or some combination of completion of other questionnaires. The laptop option, however, requires that follow up be completed for at least one of the questionnaires. For example, if a consultant earns $200 for completing follow-up for the NCQ and $300 for completing the DPPQ, that is enough payment, if waived, to qualify as a researcher who chooses to accept the laptop as a research tool for further work with Afranaph (although further work, e.g., other questionnaire responses, will then qualify for cash payment). If you need clarification of this policy, please contact us directly. 

We hope to be able to make additional payments for the preparation of documents (e.g., grammar sketches) but we have not worked out a system for this yet. When you have completed a document for any one of the sister projects and your document is ready for posting, you will be asked to provide a consultant profile (if you have not decided for your participation to be anonymous) which will appear on the case file page for your language.

Getting Started
Back to Become a Consultant home

It is our goal to make our rich field data and analysis as accessible as possible to researchers of a wide variety of theoretical perspectives, as well as to those interested in using some of our results for pedagogical purposes. Our questionnaire response data is presented in two forms, as static documents for each language, and in the form of an online database that permits search and comparison functions within and across questionnaire responses (see About the Database and How to use the Database). We expect that both sources will be accessed by our users, but to different degrees, depending on their interests. Additional data is stored in our case files (see About the Case Files)

The presentation of the data in a static .pdf AQ response (AQR) will closely follow the format of our elicitation questionnaires, which will be as uniform as possible across languages. This uniformity permits some close comparisons, but every AQR is laced with commentary by our consultants and so each one takes on an individual character in terms of how the analytic comments are introduced. Much of that commentary is also accessible in the database, which has a field for commentary, but some of the commentary is more general to a section of the questionnaire, and so is better understood by consulting the static document.

The database serves both intralanguage and crosslinguistic research objectives. Language internally, searches can group data of interest from across the entire AQR, whether the target is particular morphemes or sentence types. We have already found that searches of this kind facilitate our exploration of anaphora patterns for the preparation of the anaphora sketches. Although it is difficult to completely anticipate how our data is to be used, we expect, as the range of data we collect expands, that intralanguage database searches will be useful for researchers concerned with issues other than the patterns of anaphora, or whatever other patterns our particular questionnaires are designed to elicit. For researchers with the latter sorts of interests, the static questionnaires are much harder to profit from.

For crosslinguistic research, the database is invaluable. Search and comparison functions are available for morphemes, glosses, sentence features, language features, and anaphoric marker features (e.g., types of reflexives or reciprocals). To get close analogs of sentences across languages, it is possible to search crosslinguistically for a particular AQ example number, e.g. every translation of (A16c) in all the languages in the database. Moreover, it is possible to look for every sentence in any SVO language that has reflexivity marked by a body part anaphor involving the root meaning ‘head’, or just for the languages that have such markers. It is possible to search for languages that have more than one marker for reflexivity and search for the kinds of sentences in which each appears, and so on (see About the Database).

It is our intention that, as much as possible, our data should be available through open source applications, especially since many of our participants and site users may lack the resources to use proprietary products. All of our static files are currently available in .pdf form (read only), which can be read with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a program available free of cost on the internet from the manufacturer. Character representation in our database is sensitive to certain choices of internet font and may not present properly on some settings (see About the Database). The results of database searches can be copied into electronic documents or printed out, and there are further options, also discussed in About the Database. Those who choose to make use of our resources should consult our Fair Use and Citation page, which is a guide to citation and reproduction of our documents.

Our elicitations are designed to be highly detailed and specific to portions of grammars that can be compared across a wide range of languages for the purpose of theoretical exploration. Our theoretical bias is toward nativist accounts of language competence, hence we posit a universally available language forming capacity in human beings that operates no differently in Africa than it does anywhere else. From this point of view, even if the world's languages vary enormously, thanks to relatively small formal differences with large effects, or because lexicons and phonological forms must differ, there is still a core plan common to all the world's languages that can most profitably studied by closely studying how they vary. Some impossibilities are common to all the world's languages for example, hence we are just as interested in what linguistic forms are not possible as we are in what forms are possible. Since our goal is not pedagogy, we may explore constructions that many speakers consider marginal, especially if they sharply distinguish the marginal ones from similar constructions that are completely unacceptable. We fully hope and intend, however, that researchers with goals different from ours may find our data pertinent and accessible.

Our anaphora questionnaire (AQ) is designed with every known language in mind and our current understanding of linguistic anaphora in mind in particular. Thus the AQ is in no way customized to the effects present in any particular language, but instead addresses as many interesting questions as we are aware of for the domain of grammar we are studying. The design of the questionnaires will naturally reflect the perspectives of, and serve the research purposes of, those who design them, but as the project develops, questionnaires may be developed by researchers with different perspectives and interests, including our native speaker linguist consultants. Naturally, we expect that our questionnaires will be revised as commentary and experience show their weaknesses (and indeed this has already been the case). Additional questionnaires on other aspects of grammar are part of our plan for the future.

An important aspect of our methodology is that the AQ is designed to be filled out by consultants who are native speakers trained as linguists (at more than rudimentary levels of training). At this point in history, there is an ever-widening pool of potential consultants who fit this description, and so far, the 25 linguists who are working with us as consultants now are only a small fraction of those we hope to attract.

Working with native speaker linguists permits us to carry on our research through electronic communication, since the sorts of data we are interested in can be harvested by collaborators who know how to treat their own intuitions of acceptability as data. Frequently, native speaker linguist consultants can see what we are trying to find out even if our elicitation is clumsy (either in general or in their langauge), and so a multitude of elicitation shortcomings are ameliorated by the expertise of those whose data we rely on. Thus we are counting quite a bit on the linguistic skills and training of those who work with us in order to make this means of harvesting data efficient and insightful.

The latter point is underscored by the fact that our elicitations only begin with the questionnaire. After the questionnaire has been filled out, there ensues a follow-up process with a fair amount of back and forth to clarify the responses and questions. Additional follow-up questions are asked that are designed to explore issues and constructions that can be profitably explored for those domains where one language has a more articulated set of distinctions than others (for example). Thus the presentation of the data contains  more than just uniformly complete the answers to the questionnaire, and in this respect the character of the follow-up process is partially visible from the commentary that appears directly in the anaphora questionnaire responses (AQRs) for each language (particularly in their static .pdf databank versions).

When the elicitations are complete, a sketch of the pattern of anaphora in the language in question is written up (by the project director, the consultant, or a collaboration between them, or by a collaboration between other project members and the consultant). Now that our database program is online, partial entries are used to develop new research questions in follow-up and the role of the database in the development of the anaphora sketches has increased.