Speech Prosody 2014

Laughing, breathing, clicking the prosody of nonverbal vocalisations

Jurgen Trouvain
When analysing human spoken communication the focus on the linguistic side lies on speech with its verbal message, whereas the focus on the non-linguistic side usually is on the visually transported information such as gestures and facial expression. However, speech, especially in talk-in-interaction, also features numerous nonverbal vocalisations including various forms of laughter and inhalation noises as their most frequent forms. Although nonverbal vocalisations are usually short in duration they may provide rich information on linguistic, paralinguistic and extralinguistic levels including prosodic phrasing, cognitive load, affective state or speaker identity. The talk provides an overview on the phonetic and prosodic structure and the timing of laughter and audible breathing. Special attention is put on conversational speech where we can frequently find situations in which interlocutors temporally overlap. An emphasis is given to apical click sounds that often occur with inhalation before upcoming articulation but also during word-finding difficulty.