Adverbial clauses are grammatical constructions that are of relevance in both typical language development and impaired language development. In recent years, computer software has been used to assist in the automated analysis of clinical language samples. This software has attempted to accurately identify adverbial clauses with limited success. The present study investigated the accuracy of software for the automated identification of adverbial clauses. Two separate collections of language samples were used. One collection included 10 children with language impairment, with ages ranging from 7;6 to 11;1 (years;months), 10 age-matched peers,and 10 language-matched peers. A second collection contained 30 children ranging from 2;6 to 7;11 in age, with none considered to have language or speech impairments. Language sample utterances were manually coded for the presence of adverbial clauses (both finite and non-finite). Samples were then automatically tagged using the computer software. Results were tabulated and compared for accuracy. ANOVA revealed differences in frequencies of so-adverbial clauses whereas ANACOVA revealed differences in frequencies of both types of finite adverbial clauses. None of the structures were significantly correlated with age; however, frequencies of both types of finite adverbial clauses were correlated with mean length of utterance. Kappa levels revealed that agreement between manual and automated coding was high on both types of finite adverbial clauses.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





adverbial clauses, automated identification, language impairment, language samples