Brian MacWhinney macw at cmu.edu
Sun Nov 18 21:02:32 UTC 2007

Dear Jamie,

This might be a good time to review the status of quotation in CHAT
files in the CHILDES database.  There are no occurrences of " by
itself in any CHAT files in the database.  So that form is not at issue.
      In the versions of CHAT from before 1995, the only way of
quoting material was with the form <text> ["].  When we started to use
MOR for part of speech analysis, we came to realize that this form was
not giving proper utterance segmentation, so we broke out quotes into
two forms.  One is the old <text> ["] form that quotes one or two
words inside a matrix sentence.  The other is the combined use of the
+". and +" symbol that is used for direct quotation of whole
utterances.  Over the last five years, we have attempted to adjust
corpora to represent this distinction, but that work is not yet
uniformly complete.
     Now, to the actual answer to your question.  To count the
frequency of  +", you need

freq +s'\+\"' sample.cha

Note the use of the single quote marks, since your search string
includes the double quote and also note the required use of the back
slashed for the literal meaning of  special characters.

For the short quote symbol, you need

freq +s"[\* 0]" sample.cha

I realize that the composition of these strings is TOTALLY non-
intuitive.  Hopefully, some day in the not too distant future, we will
have a user interface to assist in the construction of these search

--Brian MacWhinney

On Nov 17, 2007, at 2:43 PM, Jamie Smith wrote:

> I am running CLAN under Linux and have hit a snag with my project.
> I'm trying to count occurrences of dialogue within a storytelling
> task. I thought it would be straightforward to tally the ["] codes,
> but I'm having no success. FREQ is working fine for me if I tell it
> to look for specific words, but when I try either freq +s" or freq
> +s["], it hangs.
> I considered using CHSTRING to append a low-frequency word to every
> ["] (turning them into, say, "["] syzygy"), and then using FREQ to
> count all the appearances of syzygy. It seems like there ought to be
> a more straightforward approach, though.
> Thanks for any help you can offer.
> Jamie
> >
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