Studying Conversational Adjustments in Interaction: Beyond Acoustic Phonetic Changes

Catherine T. Pham, Navin Viswanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Purpose: We examined which measures of complexity are most informative when studying language produced in interaction. Specifically, using these mea-sures, we explored whether native and nonnative speakers modified the higher level properties of their production beyond the acoustic–phonetic level based on the language background of their conversation partner. Method: Using a subset of production data from the Wildcat Corpus that used Diapix, an interactive picture matching task, to elicit production, we compared English language production at the dyad and individual level across three differ-ent pair types: eight native pairs (English–English), eight mixed pairs (four English–Chinese and four English–Korean), and eight nonnative pairs (four Chinese–Chinese and four Korean–Korean). Results: At both the dyad and individual levels, native speakers produced lon-ger and more clausally dense speech. They also produced fewer silent pauses and fewer linguistic mazes relative to nonnative speakers. Speakers did not modify their production based on the language background of their interlocutor. Conclusions: The current study examines higher level properties of language production in true interaction. Our results suggest that speakers’ productions were determined by their own language background and were independent of that of their interlocutor. Furthermore, these demonstrated promise for capturing syntactic characteristics of language produced in true dialogue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-210
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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