Using Prosody to Classify Discourse Relations

Janine Kleinhans, Mireia Farrús, Agustín Gravano, Juan Manuel Pérez, Catherine Lai, Leo Wanner


This work aims to explore the correlation between the discourse structure of a spoken monologue and its prosody by predicting discourse relations from different prosodic attributes. For this purpose, a corpus of semi-spontaneous monologues in English has been automatically annotated according to the Rhetorical Structure Theory, which models coherence in text via rhetorical relations. From corresponding audio files, prosodic features such as pitch, intensity, and speech rate have been extracted from different contexts of a relation. Supervised classification tasks using Support Vector Machines have been performed to find relationships between prosodic features and rhetorical relations. Preliminary results show that intensity combined with other features extracted from intra- and intersegmental environments is the feature with the highest predictability for a discourse relation. The prediction of rhetorical relations from prosodic features and their combinations is straightforwardly applicable to several tasks such as speech understanding or generation. Moreover, the knowledge of how rhetorical relations should be marked in terms of prosody will serve as a basis to improve speech synthesis applications and make voices sound more natural and expressive.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-710

Cite as: Kleinhans, J., Farrús, M., Gravano, A., Pérez, J.M., Lai, C., Wanner, L. (2017) Using Prosody to Classify Discourse Relations. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 3201-3205, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-710.


@inproceedings{Kleinhans2017,
  author={Janine Kleinhans and Mireia Farrús and Agustín Gravano and Juan Manuel Pérez and Catherine Lai and Leo Wanner},
  title={Using Prosody to Classify Discourse Relations},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={3201--3205},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-710},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-710}
}