Fundamental Frequency in Feedback Words in Swedish

Mechtild Tronnier, Jens Allwood

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An investigation of the fundamental frequency in Swedish feedback words is presented. It is hypothesised that the F0-pattern differs between words signalling positive and negative feedback-i.e. agreement and disagreement with the utterance of the preceding speaker. When imitating the contrast, the negative feedback word nej 'no' is often produced with a falling F0, stretching over a larger range, whereas the positive feedback word ja 'yes' is produced with some steady intonation, ending in a rise. Data from spontaneous dialogues has been investigated to confirm that feedback words in discourse are handled in the described way. The data is part of the Göteborg Spoken Language Corpus (GSLC). Neither consistent use of these patterns, nor of any other pattern has been found in the data. An identification test was carried out, to see whether the hummed F0-pattern contained enough information for the listener to separate positive feedback words from negative ones. Results show that listeners' capability to distinguish between positive and negative feedback words when solely relying on the F0-pattern is rather poor. A variety of F0-patterns are used for positive and negative feedback words within and across the categories. The recognition of the contrast between the two categories depends presumably on more information, which may also be found in a broader scope of prosody, like phrasal prosody, including intonation and pausing. Otherwise one might assume that in some cases-such as noticeable hesitation-information about the feedback type is solely conveyed by the words. It seems like the F0-patterns previously described reflect other factors-like emphasis-rather than contrast between positive and negative feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICA 2004
Subtitle of host publication proceedings of the 18th International Congress on Acoustics, Kyoto International Conference Hall, 4-9 April, 2004, Kyoto, Japan
PublisherInternational Congress on Acoustics
ISBN (Electronic)9901915-6-0
ISBN (Print)4-9901915-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr
Externally publishedYes
Event18th International Congress on Acoustics - Kyoto International Conference Hall, Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 2004 Apr 42004 Apr 9


Conference18th International Congress on Acoustics
Abbreviated titleICA 2004

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


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