Elicited imitation:a brief overview



This article considers the key concepts of elicited imitation (EI), with the aim of contributing to the understanding of this technique for language testing. EI has been widely debated and often criticized, but there seems now to be an agreement as to its usefulness, as long as it is applied with great care. The article reviews the literature on EI and suggests some issues for discussion, such as the process of imitating, the length and structure of the stimulus, contextual support, whether the test evaluates comprehension or production skills, whether it assesses imitative or spontaneous language capacity, and how scoring is carried out. Although the focus is on foreign language acquisition (FLA), studies about EI within other areas have been included where this is considered useful for the understanding of the technique.