Intergenerational Telephone Calls: Linguistic and Communicative Parameters

Ana Carvalho, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Ana Carvalho and Linguistics Senior Research Scientist Malcah Yaeger-Dror, along with a team of Communication and Linguistics experts, collected and studied a corpus of telephone conversations between monolingual and bilingual students and their grandparents to investigate the linguistic and communicative dynamics of cross-generational interactions. This corpus helped develop models of supportive and adversarial communication strategies and fine-tuned software for the recognition of multicultural and multigenerational speech.

Sixteen phone calls between college students and their same-sex grandparent were collected in the Southwest in English and Spanish. The LDC (Linguistic Data Consortium) at the University of Pennsylvania provided the sound system which permitted the calls to be made and stored. The data were transcribed and aligned using the Forced Alignment & Vowel Extraction suite (FAVE, Rosenfelder et al. 2011) and the Forced Alignment System for Español (FASE, Wilbanks 2015) to align the English and Spanish bilingual data, respectively. Preliminary analysis has been carried out and presented at the 45 NWAV Conference in November, 2016. In addition, the research team presented about the process of building this corpus in a separate presentation during the same conference. Both presentations were well received. (Click here for the poster - opens a PDF).

Additionally, the team hosted a workshop on forced alignment, taught by a guest speaker. This workshop was well attended by both faculty and graduate student from different departments. It was also fundamental in the training of graduate students that worked as research assistants for this project.