Language Sample Analysis

I have a confession... I adore language sample analysis. (*crickets* *laughter*) No seriously, guys! I'm not joking! The processing of gathering and analyzing language samples is the best time to meld the "science" and the "art" parts of the profession, which gives me such a nerdy thrill. In addition, language sample analysis is hands down the best tool I have to truly get to know a child's authentic language ability. I may have developed this love partially due to the fact that I had an advisor who would frequently say that she wanted to do away with standardized testing altogether and just rely on speech and language sample analysis - I don't know if I'm quite to that extreme yet, but I'm on my way!

As much as I love the process and the end product, as a school-based SLP with a huge caseload and no cushy hourly rate for evaluations, the downsides to collecting and analyzing language samples are clear. Chiefly, the TIME. My goodness it takes time. Time to gather, time to transcribe, time to count, time to calculate... Sometimes I'm ready to pull out my hair by the end of it! Yes, I know CLAN exists and for many people, it helps speed things up and ease the frustration. But I just can't get on board! I feel like I've spent a decent amount of time figuring it out, but I still go back to using my tried and true, visually appealing charts that were created in Word.

This year, I've upgraded to an Excel version in order to make the calculations as easy as possible. I love the way it the form looks and that benefit can't be denied since I'm the one who is going to be looking at the screen for hours. The fact that it prints out nicely (all on one page!) and is comprehensible for non SLP folk is a bonus as well. Check out the video below (about 10 minutes) for a walkthrough of the form and some helpful tips. You can also download the video from my Google Drive if this shows up too small on your screen.

As always, please drop comment if you download!


  1. Wow! I can't thank you enough for this...

    I'm curious about how it was created - but pretty sure I don't need to know - that might just be too much 'programming' for me!

    I have one question: How do you count and where do you note any unintelligible words used in the sample? In my scribbling - they look like: "I want bXXXX." I could guess at the part of speech...and I count them in MLU --but how do you handle them? Can you suggest how they fit into your language sample analysis form?

    Thank you again for all this work and amazing free download. Can I share with my colleagues?

  2. Hi Joan! Thanks so much for your comment and question. I didn't even think about counting the unintelligible words since I usually leave those out and just transcribe complete utterances. But I can completely understand why it would be helpful to include them, especially when working with younger or more impaired children. Let me work on this and post an update soon.

    Of course, please share! I prefer that you give friends a link to the blog rather than just the document so they have the opportunity to browse around. Thanks!

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