Prosidic features that cue back-channel responses in northern Mexican Spanish

Luis H Acosta-Reyes, University of Texas at El Paso


Human-human interaction comes fluently, but HCI does not. We want to study Human behaviors for better human-computer interaction systems. Back-channel feedback consists of short utterances that a listener usually produces while a speaker is talking and encourages a speaker to continue. Back-channel feedback was studied for northern Mexican Spanish using a corpus-based predictive model. The hypothesis is that there is a low pitch followed by a rise in pitch as a prosodic cue for back-channel production and this study found that a rise in pitch is indeed a prosodic cue. This paper suggests that for men a rise in pitch of 15 Hertz or more triggers back-channel responses, as it also does 78 Hertz or more for women. Effectiveness of this rule was 30.1% for women and 21.7% for men. More prosodic cues for back-channel production may exist in this language. A number of back-channel responses relate to utterance content.

Subject Area

Computer science

Recommended Citation

Acosta-Reyes, Luis H, "Prosidic features that cue back-channel responses in northern Mexican Spanish" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1423721.