Conversational Entrainment in the Use of Discourse Markers

  • Štefan Beňuš
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 26)


Entrainment is the tendency for participants in conversations to develop behaviour similar to one another in multiple dimensions. The degree of such entrainment is linked to the emotional state and empathy of the speakers and people who entrain to their conversational partners are seen as more socially attractive, likeable, competent, more intimate, and the interactions with such partners as more successful. It is thus important that ICT interfaces for supporting wellbeing and empathy employ also some module of entrainment.

In this paper we analyze entrainment in the acoustic, prosodic and pragmatic domains connected to the use of Slovak discourse marker ‘no’ in the spoken modality of task-oriented collaborative dialogues. We analyze how speaking behaviour changes due to interacting with a different partner, and consequently, how entrainment is employed. We use acoustic and prosodic information extracted from the signal and labelled pragmatic functions of the marker (including acknowledgment, backchannel, reservation, topic shift, etc.). Results suggest a varied picture with both entrainment and disentrainment present in the data. Regarding the relationship between entrainment in acoustic-prosodic features and more cognitively complex features of pragmatic meaning and discourse functions, we found both matches and mismatches between the two.


Entrainment prosodic features human-computer interaction wellbeing discourse markers 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nitra, Slovakia & Institute of Informatics, Slovak Academy of SciencesConstantine the Philosopher UniversityBratislavaSlovakia

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