Sighs are non-verbal vocalisations that can carry important information about a speaker's emotional (and psychological) state. Although sighs are commonly associated with negative emotions (e.g. giving up on something, `a sigh of despair', sadness), sighs can also be associated with positive emotions such as relief. In order to gain a better understanding of sighing as a social and affective signal in dialogue, and to advance towards an automatic classification and interpretation of the emotional content of sighs, it is necessary to learn more about the various phonetic characteristics of sighs. To that end, we developed an annotation scheme for sighs that takes the variation in phonetic form into account. Using this scheme, an oral history corpus containing emotionally-coloured dialogues was annotated for sighs. Results show that sighs can be annotated with a sufficient level of reliability (Cohen's Kappa of 0.713), and that indeed, various types of sighs can be identified as well (Cohen's Kappa between 0.637 and 0.805). Through a preliminary analysis of emotional content words, indications were found that certain types of sighs can be associated with specific emotional contexts.
Bibliographic reference. Truong, Khiet P. / Westerhof, Gerben J. / Jong, Franciska de / Heylen, Dirk (2014): "An annotation scheme for sighs in spontaneous dialogue", In INTERSPEECH-2014, 228-232.