Semin Speech Lang 2016; 37(02): 074-084
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1580742
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Your Laptop to the Rescue: Using the Child Language Data Exchange System Archive and CLAN Utilities to Improve Child Language Sample Analysis

Nan Bernstein Ratner
1  Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, the University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland
Brian MacWhinney
2  Department of Psychology, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
› Author Affiliations
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Publication History

Publication Date:
25 April 2016 (online)


In this article, we review the advantages of language sample analysis (LSA) and explain how clinicians can make the process of LSA faster, easier, more accurate, and more insightful than LSA done “by hand” by using free, available software programs such as Computerized Language Analysis (CLAN). We demonstrate the utility of CLAN analysis in studying the expressive language of a very large cohort of 24-month-old toddlers tracked in a recent longitudinal study; toddlers in particular are the most likely group to receive LSA by clinicians, but existing reference “norms” for this population are based on fairly small cohorts of children. Finally, we demonstrate how a CLAN utility such as KidEval can now extract potential normative data from the very large number of corpora now available for English and other languages at the Child Language Data Exchange System project site. Most of the LSA measures that we studied appear to show developmental profiles suggesting that they may be of specifically higher value for children at certain ages, because they do not show an even developmental trajectory from 2 to 7 years of age.