Audio Illustrations For:

    Prosodic Cues that Lead to Back-Channel Feedback in Northern-Mexican Spanish
    Anais G. Rivera and Nigel G. Ward.
    Full Paper

Each example following has a figure with one or several strips. Each of the strips includes two tracks and a timeline (in milliseconds).  In each strip the top track is one speaker and the bottom track the other. Each track includes: a transcription, the signal, and the pitch. The back-channel cues are marked by a tan rectangle, while the back-channels are marked by a circle and the questions are marked by a green rectangle.

An English translation is shown below each figure.

Example 1 - More common back-channel cue. A low pitch region, followed by a rise in pitch
Example 2 - A question
Example 3 - An uncommon back-channel cue, with a slight downslope
Example 4 - A pitch drop used to make a joke which serves as a back-channel cue
Example 5 - Overlapped speech which causes a miss
Example 1 - Typical Back-Channel

This example shows the most common cue, preceeding about 28.7% of the back-channels, a region of low pitch at second 11.85 (11,850ms), followed by a rise in pitch at second 12 (12,000ms) when the speaker said "hay pero no te he contado" introduced the back-channel "que paso?" at second 12.15 by the listener (See Figure 1). Another back-channel, "en serio?", occurrs at 15.15 (15,150ms) after a pitch rise started at second 14.85 of the dialog when the speaker said "ya corrieron a mi jefe".
In this part of speech the two back-channels were about 3 second apart. Click on Figure 1 below to listen to the audio.


Figure 1: Typical back-channel cues


speaker 1: Oh but I haven't told you

speaker 2: what happened?

speaker 1: they fired my boss

speaker 2: really?!


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Example 2 - A Question

In Spanish "yes or no" questions tend to not have a lenghtening but are otherwise very similar in intonation to back-channel cues. In this example the question (marked by a green rectangle) starts with a low pitch region which is followed by an increase in pitch and a pause. Because of the similarity of these prosodic features with those of back-channel cues it is difficult to distinguish them.

Click on Figure 2 below to listen to the audio.


Figure 2: "Yes/no" question


speaker 1: hey and in that year Luis Carlos was there right?

speaker 2: actually in the second year...


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Example 3 - An uncommon back-channel cue, with a slight downslope

This example shows a back-channel cue consisting of a low pitch region with a slight downslope instead of the more common back-channel cue. This lasts from second 1.95 (1,950ms) until second 3.15 (3150ms) at the time the first speaker says "me saque con el." In this instance a back channel follows at second 3.5 (3500ms), where the second speaker back-channels with "no no no no no." Examples similar to this one in which the back-channel cue consists of a low pitch region, accounted for around 7% of total back-channel cues.

Click on Figure 4 below to listen to the audio.


Figure 3: Uncommon back-channel cue with a pitch downslope


speaker 1: (quiz scores of)two zeros and two fives man, I got with him

speaker 2: no no no no no

speaker 1: and really...

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Example 4 - A pitch drop used to make a joke which serves as a back-channel cue

In this example, the first speaker makes an amusing comment, which causes the second speaker to back-channel with laughter. In this case the first speaker gives a back-channel cue starting at second 0 and which culminates on second 1.8 by saying "voy a hablar por telefono, eeeh, pero ahorita vuelvo." To this the listener produces a back-channel at second 1.95.

Click on the figure to listen to the audio.


Figure 4: An amusing back-channel cue


speaker1: "I'm going to make a phone call, uh but I'll be right back"

speaker2: hehehe

speaker1: he's going to make us


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Example 5 - Overlaped speech

In this example the typical case is again present, and the back channel response overlaps the next utterance by the speaker. Click on Figure 5 to listen to the audio.


Figure 5 : Overlapped speech


speaker1: yes, it's too much

speaker2: yeah that's a fact

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