Making Language Sampling Easier!
Get Started

Sample Length

Sample Length

Published at: 2015-10-05

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


  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

Please Login to Comment.