INTERSPEECH 2007
8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

Synthesis of Prosodic Attitudinal Variants in German Backchannel ja

Thorsten Stocksmeier, Stefan Kopp, Dafydd Gibbon

Universität Bielefeld, Germany

Feedback utterances are an important part of any dialog between humans. When two or more persons talk, they use short backchannel utterances to signal understanding and interest in the conversation. Surprisingly little is known about the relationship between the accompanying prosody and the meaning of feedback perceived by the dialog partner. We present a qualitative modelling study of 12 synthesized German ja (yes) interjections that shows the influence of prosodic features on emotional and pragmatic perception of this kind of feedback. Listeners perceived utterances as bored, hesitant, or happy and agreeing depending on the prosodic parameters used for synthesis.

Full Paper

Acoustic Material

Example1.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 1 (sombrero)
Example2.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 2 (sombrero)
Example3.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 3 (Ehlich's v)
Example4.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 4 (Ehlich's v)
Example5.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 5 (dropping)
Example6.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 6 (dropping)
Example7.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 7 (linear fall)
Example8.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 8 (linear fall)
Example9.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 9 (stick)
Example10.wav  Synthesized ja with parameter set 10 (stick)
Example11.wav Synthesized ja with parameter set 11 (twin peaks)
Example12.wav ynthesized ja with parameter set 12 (linear fall)

Bibliographic reference.  Stocksmeier, Thorsten / Kopp, Stefan / Gibbon, Dafydd (2007): "Synthesis of prosodic attitudinal variants in German backchannel ja", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 1290-1293.