problems with disambiguating THAT on MOR tier as complementizer, relative pronoun and demonstrative pronoun

Jeanine Treffers-Daller jeanine.daller07 at
Wed Jul 25 02:47:31 EDT 2018

Dear Leonid and colleagues
We have come across a problem with the mor tier:
On the mor tier the word THAT is coded as pro:rel regardless of its actual
grammatical role.  I have seen that the MOR manual on the CHILDES website
also contains examples with the same mistakes so wondered if this could be
addressed. These are the three uses of "that" in our stories:

1: that used as a subordinate conjunction (complementizer) as in “he saw
that the cat…” Should the code on the mor tier be "conj:sub|that"?
2: that used as a demonstrative pronoun  as in “that was delicious” : code "
3: that used as a relative pronoun as in “a playful cat that saw a
butterfly”. This is coded correctly as "pro:rel|that" on the mor tier.

I have manually changed this on the mor tier in the attachment
"cat.mor.pst.cha" but have also attached the original file with the errors.
We  have 1000 children telling these stories so doing all this manually is
a bit difficult.

A second question related to the above is whether we can disambiguate these
three types of "that" when we count types on the mor tier. If we run "freq
+sm;*,o% @" we get a list of types but the three types of "that" are
counted as one type. We'd like to be able to differentiate between these
three in our count of types. Is there any way to do this? Thanks a lot for
your help!
best wishes
Jeanine Treffers-Daller

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