Entrainment in spoken Hebrew dialogues

Andreas Weise*, Vered Silber-Varod, Anat Lerner, Julia Hirschberg, Rivka Levitan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human tendency to adapt to interlocutors to become more similar, known as entrainment, has been studied for many languages. To our knowledge, however, there have only been two studies relating to the phenomenon in any Semitic language, specifically Hebrew, which had limited scope. We greatly expand on this by conducting an analysis of acoustic-prosodic entrainment in a corpus of task-oriented Hebrew dialogues. We use previously established methodology to facilitate comparison with prior results for other languages. We find that acoustic-prosodic entrainment at turn exchanges is present in Hebrew interactions to a similar degree as for Indo-European languages. The most notable difference with those languages is a greater tendency for divergent behavior in Hebrew, particularly among mixed gender speaker pairs. Compared to American English, we also note a lack of global similarity between speakers’ mean feature values. We do not attribute these distinctions to specific linguistic differences but discuss possible sources of variation based on language and other factors. Our data reveals no clear pattern of differences between gender pairs or between speakers responding to male or female interlocutors, respectively, at turn exchanges. There is also no difference at all between responding speakers based on their gender. However, we do find that speakers who depend on information tend to match their interlocutors more closely at turn exchanges than those who possess it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101005
JournalJournal of Phonetics
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Accommodation
  • Entrainment
  • Hebrew dialogue
  • Map task
  • Prosody
  • Speaker gender


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