Low-Pitch Regions as Dialog Signals? Evidence from Dialog-Act and Lexical Correlates in Natural Conversation

Nigel Ward

European Speech Communication Association (ESCA) Tutorial and Research Workshop on Dialogue and Prosody. IPO, 1999, pp 83-88.

In earlier work, we identified a 110 millisecond region of low pitch as a prosodic feature which seems to bear the dialog function of encouraging back-channel feedback from the listener. In this paper, we examine the ways in which this prosodic feature co-occurs with semantic, pragmatic, and lexical events. Both subjective analysis and statistical analysis suggest that low-pitch regions are associated with the completion or near-completion of the transmission of some unit of information, the occurrence of a disfluency, and the occurrence of back-channel feedback. We take this as evidence that low-pitch regions are real prosodic features.

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