CHILDES English New England Corpus
Graduate School of
| || |
Graduate School of Education
| Participants: || 52 |
| Type of Study: || naturalistic |
| Location: || USA |
| Media type: || audio |
| DOI: || doi:10.21415/T52P6V |
Link to media folder
A., Snow, C., Pan, B., & Rollins, P. (1994). Classifying
communicative acts in children’s interactions. Journal of
Communications Disorders, 27, 157-188.
Dale, P., Bates,
E., Reznick, S., & Morisset, C. (1989). The validity of a parent report
in-strument. Journal of Child Language, 16, 239–249.
Ninio, A., & Wheeler, P. (1984). A manual
for classifying verbal communicative functions in mother-infant
interaction. Working Papers in Developmental Psychology, No. 1.
Jerusalem: The Martin and Vivian Levin Center, Hebrew University.
Snow, C. E. (1989). Imitativeness: a trait or a skill? In G. Speidel
& K. Nelson (Eds.), The many faces of imitation. New York:
Snow, C., Pan, B.,
Imbens-Bailey, A., & Herman, J. (1996). Learning how to say what one
means: A longitudinal study of children’s speech act use. Social
Development, 5, 56– 84.
In accordance with TalkBank rules,
any use of data from this corpus must be accompanied by at least one of
the above references.
This directory contains longitudinal data on 52 children whose language
development was studied by Catherine Snow, Barbara Pan, and colleagues
as part of the project “Foundations for Language Assessment in
Spontaneous Speech,” funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Participants were chosen from a larger sample of 100 children on whom
language and other data were available from the MacArthur Individual
Differences Project. A description of participant solicitation and other
information about the original sample can be found in Snow (1989) and
Dale, Bates, Reznick, and Morisset (1989). The present sam-ple of 52
children from English-speaking families was chosen to include half girls
and half boys, and equal proportions of children from families of
lower-middle and upper-middle socioeconomic status. Children with
indications of medical or other developmental problems were excluded.
Each child–parent (mother–child) dyad was brought to
the laboratory at three ages: at 14 months, at 20 months, and again
between the ages of 27 and 32 months. Transcripts at 14 and 20 months
reflect spontaneous language data collected during a 5-minute warm up
and several subsequent activities, each of which is described briefly
- Warm-up. For the warm-up period, the mother and child
were left alone in a small room with some toys, and the mother was
instructed to take a few minutes to let her child become accustomed to
- Toy play. Next there was a 5-minute period during
which the child was given a variety of small toys to play with
(Small-Scale Activity) while the mother was filling out a form at a
nearby table. Because the mother was instructed not to initiate
inter-action with the child during this period, this portion of the
videotaped protocol was not transcribed.
- Forbidden object. In
the next task, the mother was seated beside the child at the table and
instructed to try and keep the child from touching an attractive, moving
object (Forbidden Object). Users of these transcripts should be aware
that this part of the transcribed data involved some triadic
(examiner–parent–child) interaction, and thus for certain analyses may
not be comparable to the dyadic (parent–child) interaction that makes up
the rest of the transcript.
- Boxes. Finally, the mother was
asked to spend about 10 minutes playing with her child using the
contents of four successive boxes. She was not instructed how long
should be spent on each box, but was told to try to get to all four, and
to have only one box open at a time. The boxes contained, in order, a
ball, a cloth for peekaboo, paper and crayons, and a book. The entire
transcribed parent–child interaction av-eraged 20 to 25 minutes in
The protocol for parent–child interaction at the third data point
(age 27-32 months) involved only four boxes (no warm-up or forbidden
object), and two substitutions were made to make the activities more
age-appropriate: hand puppets and a Fisher-Price™ toy house replaced the
ball and peekaboo cloth. Parent and child were videotaped by means of a
camera located either at ceiling level in one corner of the room and
operated by remote control, or located on the other side of a one-way
Gems are marked in this way. For 20 and 32 months, the first gem is
Mother Freeplay. After that come from one to four 10 minutes.
Finally, there is Book For 32 months, the order is Mother
Freeplay , Book , and then 10 minutes .
Transcription and Coding
The transcripts in this corpus were
prepared from the videotaped parent–child interac-tion by transcribers
trained in the CHAT conventions. Users should note several specific
transcription guidelines that were followed. Utterance boundaries were
based on intonation contour. No attempt was made to distinguish the
number of unintelligible words in a string; therefore xxx and yyy
(rather than xx and yy) are used throughout. Where the phonological form
could be represented, yyy was followed by a %pho tier and UNIBET
transcription. Other nonverbal vocalizations were represented as 0 [=!
vocalizes]. The audio quality of videotapes did not permit phonetic
transcription. In general, no attempt was made to repre-sent possible
word omissions, nor to distinguish child-invented forms, family-specific
forms, and phonologically consistent forms; rather the generic @ was
used for all three. Pauses were transcribed as either # or #long, rather
than in terms of precise duration. Words on the main tier were
morphemicized so that MLU could be automatically computed in morphemes,
and so that inflected forms of nouns and verbs would be counted not as
separate word types, but as tokens of the uninflected stem.
Because it was anticipated that looking behaviors, especially in the
14 month olds, would often be used to direct the adult’s attention and
would therefore be important to con-sider in coding infants’ nonverbal
communicative acts, it was decided that all looking be-haviors (as well
as points, head nods, and so forth.) would be recorded on %gpx tiers.
Time at the beginning of each activity and the passage of each
subsequent full minute were recorded on %tim tiers.
Codes on the %spa tier are based on the Inventory of Communicative
Acts Abridged (INCA-A), a shortened and modified version of the system
developed by Ninio and Wheeler (1984). For fuller discussions of this
coding scheme, see Ninio, Snow, Pan, & Rollins, (1994) and Snow, Pan,
Imbens-Bailey, & Herman (1996).
Funding for this project was provided by the National Institutes of Health.