Academic Commons

Presentations (Communicative Events)

The Prosody of Backchannels in American English

Benus, Stefan; Gravano, Agustin; Hirschberg, Julia Bell

We examine prosodic and contextual factors characterizing the backchannel function of single affirmative words. Data is drawn from
collaborative task-oriented dialogues between speakers of Standard American English. Despite high lexical variability, backchannels are
prosodically well defined: they have higher pitch and intensity and greater pitch slope than affirmative words expressing other pragmatic
functions. Additionally, we identify phrase-final rising pitch as a salient trigger for backchanneling.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Published Here
May 1, 2013
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.