Gessinger, Iona; Raveh, Eran; Möbius, Bernd; Steiner, Ingmar

Phonetic Accommodation in HCI: Introducing a Wizard-of-Oz Experiment

Phonetik & Phonologie 14, Vienna, Austria, 2018.

This paper discusses phonetic accommodation of 20 native German speakers interacting with the simulated spoken dialogue system Mirabella in a Wizard-of-Oz experiment. The study examines intonation of wh-questions and pronunciation of allophonic contrasts in German. In a question-and-answer exchange with the system, the users produce predominantly falling intonation patterns for wh-questions when the system does so as well. The number of rising patterns on the part of the users increases significantly when Mirabella produces questions with rising intonation. In a map task, Mirabella provides information about hidden items while producing variants of two allophonic contrasts which are dispreferred by the users. For the [Iç] vs. [Ik] contrast in the suffix h-igi, the number of dispreferred variants on the part of the users increases significantly during the map task. For the [E:] vs. [e:] contrast as a realization of stressed h-a-¨ i, such a convergence effect is not found on the group level, yet still occurs for some individual users. Almost every user converges to the system to a substantial degree for a subset of the examined features, but we also find maintenance of preferred variants and even occasional divergence. This individual variation is in line with previous findings in accommodation research.