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computerized language sample analysis

Sample Length

How many utterances are needed for a valid language sample? Posted by SALT Support Staff on Sep 16, 2014

3 thoughts on “Sample Length”

  • Salt Support

    This depends on several factors, including the type of sample you are eliciting, the speaker’s production, and the purpose of the language sample. If you are eliciting a story-retell or expository, the sample ends when the speaker completes the task. With an open-ended context, such as a conversation, you should aim for 5 minutes or 40-50 utterances. If the speaker has difficulty with the task or if you are looking for specific language patterns, you may need a longer sample. Refer to Heilmann, Nockerts, & Miller, 2010 which discusses sample length.

    Posted by SALT Support Staff on Sep 16, 2014 and edited Jan 10, 2019

  • Becky

    Following up with this question, why then are the utterance lengths for the language samples in the data base so small? I am comparing the 40-50 utterances from three to five year-olds but many of the language samples in data base with same age peers have less than twenty utterances, which I feel makes an uneven comparison. Will SALT be adding in more language samples from typically developing three to five year olds in the future? Thanks.

    • Salt Support

      Perhaps I misunderstood which database you are using but the SALT Conversation database contains the following sample lengths for three to five year olds:
      3-year-olds (2;9 - 3;11) - 24 samples, range of C&I Verbal Utts is 44 - 220, average is 106 utts
      4-year-olds (4;0 - 4;11) - 20 samples, range of C&I Verbal Utts is 20 - 190, average is 92 utts
      5-year-olds (5;0 - 5;11) - 124 samples, range of C&I Verbal Utts is 17 - 307, average is 95 utts

      Only six of these conversational samples contain less than 30 C&I Verbal Utts.

      We are continually adding samples but are not currently targeting conversational samples in this age range.

      Ann Nockerts
      SALT Customer Support

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