Within the CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) system, CLAN (Computerized Language Analysis) is a group of computer programs allowing one to perform a large number of automatic analyses on transcript data. The analyses include frequency counts, word searches, co-occurrence analyses, mean length of utterance (MLU) counts, interactional analyses, text changes, and morphosyntactic analysis.

As an example, one of the CLAN programs is freq. Here's an excerpt from the manual:

2.3.1 Sample FREQ Runs

FREQ counts the frequencies of words used in selected files. It also calculates the type– token ratio typically used as a measure of lexical diversity. In its simplest mode, it generates an alphabetical list of all the words used by all speakers in a transcript along with the fre-quency with which these words occur. The following example looks specifically at the child’s tier. The output will be printed in the CLAN window in alphabetical order:
freq +t*CHI 0042.cha
The output is:

> freq +t*CHI 0042.cha
FREQ +t*CHI 0042.cha
Wed May 5 16:30:13 1999
FREQ (04-May-99) is conducting analyses on:
 ONLY speaker main tiers matching: *CHI;
 From file <0042.cha>
 1 ah
 1 bow wow
 1 bow+wow@
 10 uh
 1 vroom@o
 5 Total number of different word types used
   14 Total number of words (tokens)
0.357 Type/Token ratio
A statistical summary is provided at the end. In the above example there were a total of 14 words or tokens used with only five different word types. The type–token ratio is found by dividing the total of unique words by the total of words spoken. For our example, the type–token ratio would be 5 divided by 14 or a ratio of 0.357. The +f option can be used to save the results to a file. CLAN will automatically add the .frq.cex extension to the new file it creates. By default, FREQ excludes the strings xxx, yyy, www, as well as any string immediately preceded by one of the following symbols: 0, &, +, -, #. However, FREQ includes all retraced material unless otherwise commanded. For example, given this utterance:

*CHI: the dog [/] dog barked.
FREQ would give a count of two for the word “dog,” and one each for the words “the” and “barked.” If you wish to exclude retraced material, use the +r6 option.

Clan (?), n. [Gael. clann offspring, descendants; akin to Ir. clann, cland, offspring, tribe, family; perh. from L. plania scion, slip, cutting. Cf. Plant, n.]


A tribe or collection of families, united under a chieftain, regarded as having the same common ancestor, and bearing the same surname; as, the clan of Macdonald.

"I have marshaled my clan."



A clique; a sect, society, or body of persons; esp., a body of persons united by some common interest or pursuit; -- sometimes used contemptuously.

Partidge and the rest of his clan may hoot me. Smolett.

The whole clan of the enlightened among us. Burke.


© Webster 1913.

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