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CHILDES SYSTEM OVERVIEW

- BASIC -
1.
What is
CHILDES?

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Sy
Child ste
m
e
ng D
h a
Exc ata
Language
CHIld Language Data Exchange System

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2.
Why
we need
CHILDES?

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Because…..

You want to study what I say


You want to investigate languages
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CHILDES provides

Tools for studying


conversational interactions
3.
Who
started
CHILDES?

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Found in 1984
Concord MA
Department of
Psychology,
Carnegie Mellon
University
The team

Director Contact Programmers


Brian MacWhinney macw@cmu.edu Leonid Spektor
Franklin Chen
4,500

members
130
corpora
1,500

published articles
4.
Why we
need a lot of
data with
CHILDES?

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We needs
LOTS of DATA.
WHY?

Universals
and
Difference
s
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5.
Where is
CHILDES?

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visit CHILDES website at

http://childes.psy.cmu.edu
6.
How can I get
the latest info
of CHILDES?

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Subscribe to the CHILDES Mailing Lists now!
7.
What are the
tools provided
by CHILDES?

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The CHILDES system provides tools for studying
conversational interactions, including

Transcript database Programs for transcript analysis

Methods for linguistic coding Systems for audio and video linking
8.
What related
software do I
need?

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BEFORE installing, you should have

Quicktime Adobe Unicode fonts:


player reader Winzip Arial FixedSys

To read the To view the To unzip the To display the


media files Manual corpus characters
Download unicode fonts - STEP ONE
Download unicode fonts - STEP TWO
Download unicode fonts - STEP THREE
9.
Where is
the CHILDES
program?

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The program available at CHILDES
is called

CLAN
Download CLAN
4 versions are available

ClanWin ClanX + ClanXu UnixClan

 versions No longer supported


9.
I want to
install CLAN to
my Windows.
HOW ?

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Getting Started @ Windows
updated
frequently
download
new version

Download CLAN at ”
Program and
Database ” Section.

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After Download

Double click the *.exe file


downloaded and follow the
instructions given by
InstallShield

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10.
I have CLAN
now. What
should I do?

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Download the Manual for details

CHAT Transcript System:


How to record the
conversation in a standard
format at CHILDES.

CLAN Program Manual:


How to use the CLAN program
11.
I just want to study
the available
language database.
How?

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Click Database to
download the
Corpus from
around the world
TWO ways to view the data

View the corpus using WebData

You can download the corpus and run the


transcript in your local machine in this page.
1. Unzip the corpus into folders
2. Use CLAN program to open the *.CHA files.
Local Transcripts

Download the audio and video


files here and place them in the
same folder of the transcripts..

Download the
bilingual
corpus here.
e.g. Download YipMatthews bilingual corpus

On Window, right
click the mouse >> save target
as >> choose the directory for
this zip file.

On Mac, click the link and it will


save automatically.
Unzip the corpus files

Unzip the downloaded


corpus by right click the
mouse >> extract here

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Unzip the corpus files

1. After extraction, folders,


which contains *.cha under
names of children being
investigated, will place
inside a folder.

2. Each folder contains


*.cha files, which are
transcripts of the
bilingual children.

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This is a transcript in CHAT format
(*.cha file)
Zoom inside a transcript

FAT=Father, he is saying “what’s bear doing?”

CHI=children, saying “writing a letter, letter”

%mor=morphological tier, list parts of speech


“n” is NOUN, “PL” is plural, so “friends” is a plural noun
Download the Manual for more
12.
How can I read
transcripts together
with audio & video
files?

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Playback with audio file

2. Open the CHA file


Click Mode >>Sonic
Mode>>Locate the
audio file.
1. Put the
corresponding
audio and *.cha
files in the same
folder

3. Audio Wave of the


4. Either use Esc+8 sound file will pop up
OR inside the CLAN
Click Mode >> window.
Continuous playback

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Playback with video file

2. Open the CHA file


Click Mode >>Sonic
Mode>>Locate the
1. Put corresponding video file.
video files and *.cha
files in the same
folder

4. Either use Esc+8 3. Video Player will pop


OR up inside the CLAN
Click Mode >> window.
Continuous playback

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13.
I want
to search words/
language structure
from various corpus
for research.
HOW?

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Command window

1. Click Window >> Commands


Or Ctrl+D

2. Type the Command here


basically composed of
3 subparts

Basic structure of the Commands

freq +t*CHI 0042.cha


mlu +t*MOT 0042.cha

Command Tier(s) Target file name)


(started with (ended with .cha
Name or .cex )
+t )
14.
Can you
introduce me
some useful
COMMANDS?

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A. MLU
stands for

Mean Length Utterance


The ratio of morphemes over utterances
1. Click “WORKING” Locate
the files/folder here by
clicking SELECT DIRECTORY

2. TYPE mlu +t*CHI *.cha

3. Click “RUN”
B. FREQ
stands for

Frequency
Count numbers of words used in selected files
+
Calculate the type– token ratio (a measure of lexical diversity)
1. Click “WORKING” Locate
the files/folder here by
clicking SELECT DIRECTORY

2. TYPE freq +t*CHI (filename).cha

3. Click “RUN”
C. Kwal
is for

Keyword and Line


searching
Search data for user-specified words
+
Output those keywords in context.
1. Click “WORKING”. Locate
the files/folder here by
clicking SELECT DIRECTORY

2. TYPE kwal +t*CHI +t%mor +s”but” (filename).cha

You want to search the


file with the word “BUT”

3. Click “RUN”
D. Combo
is used for

Combination search
A powerful program that searches the data for
specified combinations of words or character strings.
1. Click “WORKING” Locate
the files/folder here by
clicking SELECT DIRECTORY

2. TYPE combo +t*CHI +s”what^is” (filename).cha

You want to search file with


the word “what”+”is”

3. Click “RUN”
For more
information on commands
details

example
+s “xx^xx” - search for specific
combinations of words OR
combo +t*MOT +s"kitty^kitty" 0042.cha character strings

kwal +sbunny -w2 +w2 0042.cha -w* and +w* options for number of text
lines included before and after the
search words.
15.
WOW! Can I
create a language
corpus for my
own kids with
CHILDES?

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YES!!!
http://childes.psy.cmu.edu
This is the Work Flow
CHILD/INFORMANT
record

Sound / Video data


transcribe
digitalized
audio/video
files in
TEXT computer
RUN
CHECK @
CLAN link
“Esc-L”

CLAN
sound+video+transcript  corpus
16.
What about
the details? e.g.
how to record
data, digitalize
the sounds &
video?

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Visit
http://childes.psy.cmu.edu

CHILDES SYSTEM OVERVIEW


- ADVANCE -
Coming soon!
This introduction was produced by
Uta Lam using materials derived from

the CHILDES website

AND

the Bilingual Child Language Corpus


contributed to CHILDES by
Virginia Yip (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
and Stephen Matthews (University of Hong Kong).

Special Thanks to
Brian MacWhinney, Virginia Yip, Stephen Matthew

Contact me at utalam@hotmail.com
April 2007

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