Evaluating Language Environment Analysis System Performance for Chinese: A Pilot Study in Shanghai Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate performance of the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) automated language-analysis system for the Chinese Shanghai dialect and Mandarin (SDM) languages. Method Volunteer parents of 22 children aged 3–23 months were recruited in Shanghai. Families provided daylong in-home audio recordings using ... Research Note
Research Note  |   April 01, 2015
Evaluating Language Environment Analysis System Performance for Chinese: A Pilot Study in Shanghai
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jill Gilkerson
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Yiwen Zhang
    Shanghai Children's Medical Center Affiliated to Medical School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
    MOE-Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children's Environmental Health, China
  • Dongxin Xu
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Jeffrey A. Richards
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
  • Xiaojuan Xu
    Shanghai Children's Medical Center Affiliated to Medical School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
    MOE-Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children's Environmental Health, China
  • Fan Jiang
    Shanghai Children's Medical Center Affiliated to Medical School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
    MOE-Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children's Environmental Health, China
  • James Harnsberger
    LENA Research Foundation, Boulder, CO
    University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Keith Topping
    University of Dundee, Scotland
  • Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. Jill Gilkerson, Dongxin Xu, and Jeffrey A. Richards are employed by the LENA Research Foundation. The specific results of this study do not create a conflict of interest for them. The other authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.
    Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. Jill Gilkerson, Dongxin Xu, and Jeffrey A. Richards are employed by the LENA Research Foundation. The specific results of this study do not create a conflict of interest for them. The other authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.×
  • Correspondence to Keith Topping: k.j.topping@dundee.ac.uk
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Jenny Roberts
    Associate Editor: Jenny Roberts×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Note
Research Note   |   April 01, 2015
Evaluating Language Environment Analysis System Performance for Chinese: A Pilot Study in Shanghai
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 445-452. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0014
History: Received January 15, 2014 , Revised June 12, 2014 , Accepted November 27, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 445-452. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0014
History: Received January 15, 2014; Revised June 12, 2014; Accepted November 27, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate performance of the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) automated language-analysis system for the Chinese Shanghai dialect and Mandarin (SDM) languages.

Method Volunteer parents of 22 children aged 3–23 months were recruited in Shanghai. Families provided daylong in-home audio recordings using LENA. A native speaker listened to 15 min of randomly selected audio samples per family to label speaker regions and provide Chinese character and SDM word counts for adult speakers. LENA segment labeling and counts were compared with rater-based values.

Results LENA demonstrated good sensitivity in identifying adult and child; this sensitivity was comparable to that of American English validation samples. Precision was strong for adults but less so for children. LENA adult word count correlated strongly with both Chinese characters and SDM word counts. LENA conversational turn counts correlated similarly with rater-based counts after the exclusion of three unusual samples. Performance related to some degree to child age.

Conclusions LENA adult word count and conversational turn provided reasonably accurate estimates for SDM over the age range tested. Theoretical and practical considerations regarding LENA performance in non-English languages are discussed. Despite the pilot nature and other limitations of the study, results are promising for broader cross-linguistic applications.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by the LENA Research Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity. We gratefully acknowledge Terrance Paul for conceiving of the LENA system, him and his wife Judith for funding its development, and the LENA Research Foundation for sponsoring the current study. We also express our deep appreciation to the families who participated and to Hongmai Mao, director of the Luwan Guidance and Service Center for Early Childhood Education. We are also grateful to Cynthia Lee and Joy Wu for their assistance with coding the validation samples. Special appreciation is expressed to Lei Xiao for assistance with data collection.
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