Using CHILDES tools for researching second language acquisition

Marsden, Emma, Myles, Florence, Rule, Sarah and Mitchell, Rosamond (2003) Using CHILDES tools for researching second language acquisition. In, Sarangi, Srikant and Van Leeuwen, Theo (eds.) Applied Linguistics and Communities of Practice. Annual Meeting of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL), London, UK; New York, US, British Association for Applied Linguistics / Continuum, 98-113. (British Studies in Applied Linguistics 18).


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The second language acquisition research community needs datasets of oral production in order to study linguistic development. The use of digital technologies, as already seen in other areas, has the potential to improve the collection, analysis and sharing of such data. Attempts to develop uniquely SLA specific tools have been abandoned. This paper evaluates some of the CHILDES tools (MacWhinney 2002,, originally developed for first language acquisition research, in the context of a project investigating linguistic development of French .

The CHILDES tools are part of an active and well-funded international community of language researchers, and consequently keep pace with relevant technological developments (e.g. digitised sound and video files, XML compatible formats). Although considerable time was required to become sufficiently familiar with the tools, and some project-specific modifications were necessary in order to benefit from the recently-developed computerised French morphosyntactic analyses, we argue that the CHILDES package can offer the SLA community flexible and efficient means of data preparation, analysis and sharing. Our experience suggests that training in and use of the tools could significantly enhance current practice.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 082647280 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 42154
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:14
Linguistic development in classroom learners of french: a cross sectional study
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (R000223421)
1 October 2001 to 30 September 2002

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