To See or not to See: Interlocutor Visibility and Likeability Influence Convergence in Intonation

Katrin Schweitzer, Michael Walsh, Antje Schweitzer


In this paper we look at convergence and divergence in intonation in the context of social qualities. Specifically we examine pitch accent realisations in the GECO corpus of German conversations. Pitch accents are represented as 6-dimensional vectors where each dimension corresponds to a characteristic of the accent’s shape. Convergence/divergence is then measured by calculating the distance between pitch accent realisations of conversational partners. A decrease of distance values over time indicates convergence, an increase divergence. The corpus comprises dialogue sessions in two modalities: partners either saw each other during the conversation or not. Linear mixed model analyses show convergence as well as divergence effects in the realisations of H*L accents. This convergence/divergence is strongly related to the modality and to how much speakers like their partners: generally, seeing the partner comes with divergence, whereas when the dialogue partners cannot see each other, there is convergence. The effect varies, however, depending on the extent to which a speaker likes their partner. Less liking entails a greater change in the realisations over time — stronger divergence when partners could see each other, and stronger convergence when they could not.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1248

Cite as: Schweitzer, K., Walsh, M., Schweitzer, A. (2017) To See or not to See: Interlocutor Visibility and Likeability Influence Convergence in Intonation. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 919-923, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1248.


@inproceedings{Schweitzer2017,
  author={Katrin Schweitzer and Michael Walsh and Antje Schweitzer},
  title={To See or not to See: Interlocutor Visibility and Likeability Influence Convergence in Intonation},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={919--923},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1248},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1248}
}