Accent Patterning on Domain-Related Information in Swedish Travel Dialogues

  • Merle Horne
  • Petra Hansson
  • Gösta Bruce
  • Johan Frid


Investigation of travel-domain dialogues reveals travel-agent (≈System) utterances with intonational contours characterized by late-timed focal accents on given information. These accents occur on content words in utterance-initial position. The accentuation can be assumed to be related to the interactive nature of the dialogue in which the travel agent links back to a domain-related concept introduced by the client (≈User) and comments on it in an engaged manner. A perception test using constructed human-machine dialogues in which the machine (synthesized) responses vary as to the type of accent pattern on the initial words was developed to test listeners' preference for accent type. Results indicate that i) focal accents on domain-related utterance-initial given concepts are indeed preferred to nonfocal accents and that ii) late-timed focal accents are preferred to early-timed focal accents. These results have implications for the design of the prosody-generating component of human-machine dialogue systems.

prosody accentuation information structure dialogue speech synthesis given/new 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Merle Horne
    • 1
  • Petra Hansson
    • 1
  • Gösta Bruce
    • 1
  • Johan Frid
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and PhoneticsLund UniversityLundSweden

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