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Conference Paper

Speech act recognition in conversation: Experimental evidence

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Gisladottir,  Rosa S.
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Levinson,  Stephen C.
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations;
Radboud University Nijmegen;
INTERACT, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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paper0282.pdf
(Publisher version), 55KB

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Citation

Gisladottir, R. S., Chwilla, D., Schriefers, H., & Levinson, S. C. (2012). Speech act recognition in conversation: Experimental evidence. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1596-1601). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2012/papers/0282/index.html.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-3C5F-6
Abstract
Recognizing the speech acts in our interlocutors’ utterances is a crucial prerequisite for conversation. However, it is not a trivial task given that the form and content of utterances is frequently underspecified for this level of meaning. In the present study we investigate participants’ competence in categorizing speech acts in such action-underspecific sentences and explore the time-course of speech act inferencing using a self-paced reading paradigm. The results demonstrate that participants are able to categorize the speech acts with very high accuracy, based on limited context and without any prosodic information. Furthermore, the results show that the exact same sentence is processed differently depending on the speech act it performs, with reading times starting to differ already at the first word. These results indicate that participants are very good at “getting” the speech acts, opening up a new arena for experimental research on action recognition in conversation.