10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

Using Responsive Prosodic Variation to Acknowledge the User's Current State

Nigel G. Ward, Rafael Escalante-Ruiz

University of Texas at El Paso, USA

Spoken dialog systems today do not vary the prosody of their utterances, although prosody is known to have many useful expressive functions. In a corpus of memory quizzes, we identify eleven dimensions of prosodic variation, each with its own expressive function. We identified the situations in which each was used, and developed rules for detecting these situations from the dialog context and the prosody of the interlocutor’s previous utterance. We implemented the resulting rules and had 21 users interact with two versions of the system. Overall they preferred the version in which the prosodic forms of the acknowledgments were chosen to be suitable for each specific context. This suggests that simple adjustments to system prosody based on local context can have value to users.

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Bibliographic reference.  Ward, Nigel G. / Escalante-Ruiz, Rafael (2009): "Using responsive prosodic variation to acknowledge the user's current state", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 2431-2434.