Prosody and hand gesture at turn boundaries in Swedish

Margaret Zellers, David House, Simon Alexanderson

In order to ensure smooth turn-taking between conversational participants (cf. Sacks et al., 1974), interlocutors must have ways of providing information to one another about whether they have finished speaking or intend to continue. The current work investigates Swedish speakersÂ’ use of hand gestures in conjunction with turn change or turn hold in unrestricted, spontaneous speech. As has been reported by other researchers (e.g. Streeck & Hartge, 1992; Mondada, 2007), we find that speakersÂ’ gestures end before the end of speech in cases of turn change, while they may extend well beyond the end of a given speech chunk in the case of turn hold. We investigate the degree to which prosodic cues and gesture cues to turn transition in Swedish face-to-face conversation are complementary versus functioning additively. The co-occurrence of acoustic prosodic features and gesture at potential turn boundaries gives strong support for considering hand gestures as part of the prosodic system, particularly in the context of discourse-level information such as maintaining smooth turn transition.

DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2016-170

Cite as

Zellers, M., House, D., Alexanderson, S. (2016) Prosody and hand gesture at turn boundaries in Swedish. Proc. Speech Prosody 2016, 831-835.

author={Margaret Zellers and David House and Simon Alexanderson},
title={Prosody and hand gesture at turn boundaries in Swedish},
booktitle={Speech Prosody 2016},