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A Study on Prosody and Discourse Structure in Cooperative Dialogues.
ROCHESTER UNIV NY DEPT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
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This paper describes how well prosodic information correlates with the topic structure of a cooperative dialogue. To investigate this correlation systematically, first we introduce the notion of utterance unit UU as a basic unit in conversations. We define the utterance unit by employing four principles. The grammatical principle is a syntactic criterion in which the UU boundary is set wherever a period can be placed. The pragmatic principle says that each UU corresponds to a basic speech act. In other words, if two neighboring phrases correspond to different speech acts for instance, acknowledgment and request, they should be taken as two different UUs. The conversational principle addresses the turn-taking aspect of conversations. A UU boundary should be placed wherever the speaker changes. Finally, the prosodic principle says that whenever a medium length or longer pause 750 msec is inserted between two phrases, they are to be taken as two different UUs. We apply these principles to a speech database containing about one and a half hours of collected dialogue to split the dialogues into a sequence of UUs. AN
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