8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Antwerp, Belgium
August 27-31, 2007

Children's Convergence in Referring Expressions to Graphical Objects in a Speech-Enabled Computer Game

Linda Bell (1), Joakim Gustafson (2)

(1) TeliaSonera, Sweden
(2) KTH, Sweden

This paper describes an empirical study of children's spontaneous interactions with an animated character in a speech-enabled computer game. More specifically, it deals with convergence of referring expressions. 49 children were invited to play the game, which was initiated by a collaborative "put-that-there" task. In order to solve this task, the children had to refer to both physical objects and icons in a 3D environment. For physical objects, which were mostly referred to using straight-forward noun phrases, lexical convergence took place in 90% of all cases. In the case of the icons, the children were more innovative and spontaneously referred to them in many different ways. Even after being prompted by the system, lexical convergence took place for only 50% of the icons. In the cases where convergence did take place, the effect of the system's prompts were quite local, and the children quickly resorted to their original way of referring when naming new icons in later tasks.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bell, Linda / Gustafson, Joakim (2007): "Children's convergence in referring expressions to graphical objects in a speech-enabled computer game", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 2209-2212.