Three Prosodic Features that Lead to Back-Channel Feedback in Northern Mexican Spanish

Anais G. Rivera and Nigel G. Ward

Technical Report UTEP-CS-07-12

Department of Computer Science, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract: In order to demonstrate attentiveness during a conversation it is generally necessary for the listener to provide back-channel feedback. To some extent, the times when back-channel feedback is welcome are determined by the speaker and conveyed to the listener with prosodic cues. In this study we sought to identify the cues used for this purpose in Northern Mexican Spanish. Based on quantitative analysis of a corpus of unstructured conversations, we found three cues, of which the most common is a pitch downslope followed by a pitch rise accompanied by a rate reduction on the last syllable and a drop in energy leading to a slight pause.

Keywords: listener response, intonation, dialog, low-high-slow pattern

Technical Report UTEP-CS-07-12

(This is based on a manuscript that was accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the Seventh Annual High Desert Linguistics Society Conference, University of New Mexico; however that volume never appeared. Please cite the technical report.)

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