The prosody of negative yeah

Valerie Freeman, Richard Wright, Gina-Anne Levow

Abstract


Normally, yeah has positive polarity, but with a change in prosody, it can convey a negative stance (e.g., polite disagreement/rejection). This study examines acoustic-prosodic features of "negative yeah" in a stance-rich corpus of collaborative tasks. Four categories are identified based on degree of agreement/acceptance and distinguished by an interaction between pitch and intensity: while two groups have low, flat pitch, and two have high domed or dipping contours, this division is cross-cut by intensity, again low-flat vs. high domed. These patterns show that fine-grained stance analysis can reveal word-level acoustic patterns that are not apparent in coarser approaches. 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.2997