Automated Analysis of Child Phonetic Production Using Naturalistic Recordings Purpose Conventional resource-intensive methods for child phonetic development studies are often impractical for sampling and analyzing child vocalizations in sufficient quantity. The purpose of this study was to provide new information on early language development by an automated analysis of child phonetic production using naturalistic recordings. The new approach was ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
Automated Analysis of Child Phonetic Production Using Naturalistic Recordings
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dongxin Xu
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
    University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Jeffrey A. Richards
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
  • Jill Gilkerson
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
    University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Disclosure: The study and related research and development were funded by the LENA Research Foundation. All three authors, Dongxin Xu, Jeffrey A. Richards, and Jill Gilkerson, are employees of the LENA Research Foundation.
    Disclosure: The study and related research and development were funded by the LENA Research Foundation. All three authors, Dongxin Xu, Jeffrey A. Richards, and Jill Gilkerson, are employees of the LENA Research Foundation.×
  • Correspondence to Dongxin Xu: dongxinxu@lenafoundation.org
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Megha Sundara
    Associate Editor: Megha Sundara×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
Automated Analysis of Child Phonetic Production Using Naturalistic Recordings
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1638-1650. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0037
History: Received February 12, 2013 , Revised November 26, 2013 , Accepted May 5, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1638-1650. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-13-0037
History: Received February 12, 2013; Revised November 26, 2013; Accepted May 5, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose Conventional resource-intensive methods for child phonetic development studies are often impractical for sampling and analyzing child vocalizations in sufficient quantity. The purpose of this study was to provide new information on early language development by an automated analysis of child phonetic production using naturalistic recordings. The new approach was evaluated relative to conventional manual transcription methods. Its effectiveness was demonstrated by a case study with 106 children with typical development (TD) ages 8–48 months, 71 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 16–48 months, and 49 children with language delay (LD) not related to ASD ages 10–44 months.

Method A small digital recorder in the chest pocket of clothing captured full-day natural child vocalizations, which were automatically identified into consonant, vowel, nonspeech, and silence, producing the average count per utterance (ACPU) for consonant and vowel.

Results Clear child utterances were identified with above 72% accuracy. Correlations between machine-estimated and human-transcribed ACPUs were above 0.82. Children with TD produced significantly more consonants and vowels per utterance than did other children. Children with LD produced significantly more consonants but not vowels than did children with ASD.

Conclusion The authors provide new information on typical and atypical language development in children with TD, ASD, and LD using an automated computational approach.

Acknowledgment
We gratefully acknowledge Terrance D. Paul for his conception of the LENA tool and for personally funding and directing its development, as well as the development of the LENA Natural Language Corpus.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access