Is Putting SUGAR (Sampling Utterances of Grammatical Analysis Revised) Into Language Sample Analysis a Good Thing? A Response to Pavelko and Owens (2017) Purpose In this letter, the authors respond to Pavelko and Owens' (2017)  newly advanced set of procedures for language sample analysis: Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised (SUGAR). Method The authors contrast some of the new guidelines for transcription, morpheme segmentation, and language sample elicitation in SUGAR with ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   July 05, 2018
Is Putting SUGAR (Sampling Utterances of Grammatical Analysis Revised) Into Language Sample Analysis a Good Thing? A Response to Pavelko and Owens (2017)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ling-Yu Guo
    Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, University at Buffalo, NY
    Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Sarita Eisenberg
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Montclair State University, Bloomfield, NJ
  • Nan Bernstein Ratner
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Brian MacWhinney
    Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Ling-Yu Guo: lingyugu@buffalo.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray
    Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray×
  • Editor: Kerry Ebert
    Editor: Kerry Ebert×
Article Information
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   July 05, 2018
Is Putting SUGAR (Sampling Utterances of Grammatical Analysis Revised) Into Language Sample Analysis a Good Thing? A Response to Pavelko and Owens (2017)
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2018, Vol. 49, 622-627. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-17-0084
History: Received August 16, 2017 , Revised November 9, 2017 , Accepted November 22, 2017
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2018, Vol. 49, 622-627. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-17-0084
History: Received August 16, 2017; Revised November 9, 2017; Accepted November 22, 2017

Purpose In this letter, the authors respond to Pavelko and Owens' (2017)  newly advanced set of procedures for language sample analysis: Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised (SUGAR).

Method The authors contrast some of the new guidelines for transcription, morpheme segmentation, and language sample elicitation in SUGAR with traditional conventions for language sample analysis (LSA). They address the potential impact of the new guidelines on some of the target measures in SUGAR—mean length of utterances in morphemes (MLUm), words per sentence (WPS), and clauses per sentence (CPS)—and provide their suggestions.

Results Inclusion of partially intelligible utterances in SUGAR may over- or underestimate children's MLUm and reduce the reliability of computing WPS. Counting derivational morphemes and the component morphemes of catenatives (e.g., gonna) may result in overestimation of children's morphosyntactic skills.

Conclusion Further data are needed to determine whether MLUm including derivational morphemes and the component morphemes of catenatives is a better measure of children's morphosyntactic skills than MLUm excluding those morphemes. Pending such data, the authors recommend maintaining traditional LSA conventions and measures. Furthermore, free, fast automated utilities already exist that reduce barriers for clinicians to conduct informative, in-depth LSA.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by FluencyBank grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (1R01DC015494) and National Science Foundation–Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SMA-1539010) to Nan Bernstein-Ratner and Brian MacWhinney, and the National Institutes of Health CHILDES grant (R01-HD23998) to Brian MacWhinney.
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