Phonetic Accommodation in a Wizard-of-Oz Experiment: Intonation and Segments

Iona Gessinger, Bernd Möbius, Bistra Andreeva, Eran Raveh, Ingmar Steiner


This paper discusses phonetic accommodation of 20 native German speakers interacting with the simulated spoken dialogue system Mirabella in a Wizard-of-Oz experiment. The study examines intonation of wh-questions and pronunciation of allophonic contrasts in German. In a question-and-answer exchange with the system, the users produce predominantly falling intonation patterns for wh-questions when the system does so as well. The number of rising patterns on the part of the users increases significantly when Mirabella produces questions with rising intonation. In a map task, Mirabella provides information about hidden items while producing variants of two allophonic contrasts which are dispreferred by the users. For the [ɪç] vs. [ɪk] contrast in the suffix ⟨-ig⟩, the number of dispreferred variants on the part of the users increases significantly during the map task. For the [εː] vs. [eː] contrast as a realization of stressed ⟨-ä-⟩, such a convergence effect is not found on the group level, yet still occurs for some individual users. Almost every user converges to the system to a substantial degree for a subset of the examined features, but we also find maintenance of preferred variants and even occasional divergence. This individual variation is in line with previous findings in accommodation research.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2445

Cite as: Gessinger, I., Möbius, B., Andreeva, B., Raveh, E., Steiner, I. (2019) Phonetic Accommodation in a Wizard-of-Oz Experiment: Intonation and Segments. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 301-305, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2445.


@inproceedings{Gessinger2019,
  author={Iona Gessinger and Bernd Möbius and Bistra Andreeva and Eran Raveh and Ingmar Steiner},
  title={{Phonetic Accommodation in a Wizard-of-Oz Experiment: Intonation and Segments}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={301--305},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2445},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-2445}
}