Dr. Silber-Varod,

The Open University of Israel


As human listeners, we bring many sources of information to the interpretation of a message, including syntax, semantics, our knowledge of the world, the conversational context, and prosody – the information gleaned from the timing and melody of speech.

In the present lecture, I will focus on recent findings from a study on prosodic phenomena related to the fact that speakers interact in a conversation – thus, prosody in interaction. In the current study, we looked for evidence of prosodic-acoustic discriminative role cues in therapeutic sessions. The goal of this research is to identify speaker’s role via machine learning of broad acoustic parameters, in order to understand how an occupation, or a role, affects voice characteristics. Results based on the acoustic properties show high classification rates, suggesting that there are discriminative acoustic features of speaker’s role, as either a therapist or a client. Within the realm of this study, we compiled the first Hebrew Map-Task corpus, which consists of spoken task-oriented dialogues and which will be available for varied linguistics studies of speech in interaction, as has been already done in many other languages.


Dr. Silber-Varod is a linguist specialized in the acoustics of speech prosody. Dr. Silber-Varod received the Ph.D. degree from Tel Aviv University in 2012. In her PhD dissertation, she investigated the interface between prosodic cues and syntactic structures. From 2009 to 2013, she was a speech scientist at Afeka Center for Language Processing (ACLP), at Afeka College of Engineering in Tel Aviv. Since 2013, she is a Research Fellow at The Research Center for the Study of Innovation in Learning Technologies, The Open University of Israel, Ra’anana. She is the author of a book, articles, and conference proceedings papers. Her research interests include speech prosody, acoustic phonetics, speech technologies, and quantitative analysis of written and spoken texts.


Date: 2016-Jun-22     Time: 16:00:00     Room: 020

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