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Pitch and Lengthening as Cues to Turn Transition in Swedish

By Margaret Zellers


In many cases of turn transition in conversation, a new speaker may respond to phonetic cues from the end of the prior turn, including variation in prosodic features such as pitch and final lengthening. Although consistent pitch and lengthening features are well-established for some languages at potential points of turn transition, this is not necessarily the case for Swedish. The current study uses a two-alternative forced choice task to investigate how variation in pitch contour and lengthening at the ends of syntactically complete turns can influence listeners ’ expectations of turn hold or turn transition. Both lengthening and pitch contour features were found to influence listeners ’ judgments about whether turn transition would occur, with shorter length and higher final pitch peaks associated with turn hold. Furthermore, listeners were more certain about their judgments when asked about turn-hold rather than turn-change, suggesting an imbalance in the strength of turn-hold versus turn-transition cues. Index Terms: prosody, perception, turn-taking 1

Year: 2014
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