What is QUIS?

The Questionnaire for Information Structure (QUIS) is designed for the investigation of information structure from a typological perspective. It provides a tool for the collection of natural linguistic data, both spoken and written, and, secondly, for the elaboration of grammars of information structure in genetically diverse languages.


Chapter 1 sets out the rationale of the questionnaire and its relation to the theoretical literature on Information Structure.

Chapter 2 contains questions about the grammatical structure of the object language. It captures the most important typological properties in phonology, morphology and syntax that may have an interaction with the ways of encoding information structure. This part of the questionnaire is filled in on the basis of the available knowledge about the grammar of the object language.

Chapter 3 contains 29 experimental tasks which are based on the manipulation of discourse conditions that have an impact on the information structure of the produced sentence. This manual contains a documentation of the goals of each experimental task as well as the procedure, and the materials used. For the performance of these tasks in the field the project provides a set of “field session manuals” in which the individual tasks are distributed and randomized in order to be performed in field sessions.

Chapter 4 contains four questionnaires for the elicitation of single sentences, question/answer pairs, and statement/reaction pairs through translation. The sentences should be translated into the object language by a native speaker and be recorded. The first section contains a number of elementary sentences for the identification of the basic intonational properties of the language. The second and third sections are devoted to focus and topic respectively. The last section is a questionnaire on quantifiers.

Chapter 5 contains a short information structure survey to facilitate interpretation of the syntactic, morphological and prosodic aspects of the data collected using the main questionnaire (the experimental and translation tasks).

QUIS - Materials

This page contains the elicitation material for the "Questionnaire on Information Structure".

The key document to understand the QUIS is the reference manual, which is free to download. Additional materials are available below:

  • field session manuals and
  • the stimulus materials (films and pictures).

QUIS Reference Manual

The QUIS reference manual contains a description of all experiments including explanations for the researcher about their performance.

Field session Manuals

The field session manuals contain the production experiments in a randomized order and arranged in field sessions. The descriptions of the experiments are in these documents very short, reduced to the information the researchers need during the performance of the experiments.

Picture Manuals

The picture manuals only contain the pictures used in the experimental sessions (in the size used for the performance of the experiment).

Visual material

Power point presentations for the experiments on object localization:


QUIS - Languages and Researchers

  • Georgian - Rusudan Asatiani
  • Québec French - Alain Thériault
  • Mawng - Ruth Singer
  • Dutch - Hanneke van Hoof
  • Niue - Wolfgang Sperlich
  • Prinmi - Picus Ding
  • Teribe - Diego Quesada
  • European French - Serge Pahaut
  • Japanese - Takahita Shinya
  • Egyptian Arabic - Dina El Zarka, Sam Hellmuth
  • Chinese - Bei Wang
  • German - Anja Arnhold, Katharina Moczko, Andreas Pankau
  • English - Elizabeth Medvedovsky
  • Greek - Thanasis Georgakopoulos, Yannis Kostopoulos, Jorgos Markopoulos, Stavros Skopeteas
  • Aja - Ines Fiedler, Anne Schwarz
  • Fon - Ines Fiedler, Anne Schwarz
  • Yucatec Maya - Stavros Skopeteas, Frank Kügler, Elisabeth Verhoeven
  • Konkani - Caroline Menezes


The development of QUIS was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the SFB 632 Information Structure (University of Potsdam/Humboldt University Berlin).

Principal investigators

  • Gisbert Fanselow
  • Caroline Féry
  • Manfred Krifka (until June 2007)
  • Malte Zimmermann (since July 2007)

Former Staff Member

  • Markus Greif (since September 2007)
  • Ines Fiedler (until September 2007)
  • Sam Hellmuth (April 2006 - September 2007)
  • Anne Schwarz (until September 2007)
  • Stavros Skopeteas (until December 2007)
  • Ruben Stoel (until December 2005)