Ninth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Pittsburgh, PA, USA
September 17-21, 2006

Effect of Genre, Speaker, and Word Class on the Realization of Given and New Information

Agustín Gravano, Julia Hirschberg

Columbia University, USA

There is much evidence in the literature that speakers tend to deaccent discourse-given entities, while accenting new ones. However, speakers do not always follow this simple strategy and the causes for such variation are not yet well understood. In this paper, we describe several new forms of variability in the relationship between given/new information and accenting behavior, variation due to individual differences and to word class. We present results indicating that different speakers have different strategies for making new words prominent. We analyze two word-classes - nouns and verbs - in a corpus of spontaneous and read direction-giving monologues, and show that speakers use different combinations of pitch, intensity and inter-word pauses to distinguish between given and new information. Most interestingly, we find that in both genres all speakers tend to produce given verbs with higher intensity than new verbs.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gravano, Agustín / Hirschberg, Julia (2006): "Effect of genre, speaker, and word class on the realization of given and new information", In INTERSPEECH-2006, paper 1747-Mon3A3O.5.