CHILDES Clinical English Ellis Weismer Corpus

Susan Ellis Weismer
Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Wisconsin - Madison


Participants: 138
Type of Study: clinical
Location: Wisconsin
Media type: audio
DOI: doi:10.21415/T5FP4H

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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

This project, titled “Linguistic Processing in Specific Language Delay,” examines the link between late onset of language development and language impairment. The aim of this investigation is to evaluate a limited processing capacity account of linguistic deficits in children with language impairment. The performance of late talkers on language processing tasks that have revealed deficits in children with language disorders is being assessed to determine whether these measures predict subsequent language delay. A total of 112 children are participating in this 5-year longitudinal project, including 56 late talkers and 56 controls with normal language development matched on age, nonverbal cognition, and SES. Three experimental studies have examined lexical, morphological, and discourse processing at ages 2;6, 3;6 and 4;6 respectively. A subset of children participated in an additional study (at 2;9) to explore the rate and pattern of acquisition of novel lexical forms within contexts involving differing levels of processing demands. Several outcome studies are being completed to determine the proportion of late talkers who meet criteria for language impairment at 5;6, assess whether experimental processing measures predict language status, and examine the role of outside language intervention on outcomes. The findings from this project have advanced our understanding of processing limitation models of language delay and should improve our ability to identify late talkers at risk for language disorders in order to provide them with earlier language intervention.

Language sample collection was performed at the yearly assessment visits at ages 2;6, 3;6, 4;6, and 5;6. At ages 2;6 and 3;6 examiner-child (EC) and parent-child (PC) samples were collected using a standard set of toys - Fisher Price Farm set and Doll House plus people and furniture - as the props for play-based conversations. Examiners were given these standard instructions and training for LS elicitation:

  1. Engage child but limit adult talk
  2. Avoid yes/no questions and questions with a 1-word answer
  3. Follow the child's lead and continue her/his topic
  4. Allow plenty of response time (avoid interruptions)
At age 4;6 an examiner-child (EC) play sample was collected as well as structured interview between the examiner and child (INT). Language sampling at 5;6 involved a conversation (CON) between the examiner and child. A subject numbering system was devised as follows: first digit = cohort (1 or 2) ; second digit = gender (1=female 2=male); last three digits = recruitment order. There are 123 parent-child and 78 examiner-child samples at 2;6, 81 PC and 95 EC samples at 3;6, 83 samples at 4;6 which consisted of an interview format and 66 examiner-child conversations, and 81 examiner-child conversational samples at 5;6.

This spreadsheet summarizes the available transcripts at each age level for each task. The codes for language status are 1=late talker, 0=typical talker. Late talker was initially identified as scoring at or below the 10th percentile on the MacArthur-Bates CDI in words produced at 24 months.


Support for the collection and transcription of these language samples was provided by NIDCD 1R01 DC03731, "Linguistic processing in specific language delay,” (S. Ellis-Weismer, PI).

Andrew Yankes reformatted this corpus into accord with current versions of CHAT.