• Laughter and Other Non-Verbal Vocalisations Workshop 2020

    5 October 2020 - Bielefeld, Germany

    © Nataliya Bryhadyr

Laughter Workshop 2020

Non-verbal vocalisations in human-human and human-machine interactions play important roles in displaying social and affective behaviors and in controlling the flow of interaction. Laughter, sighs, filled pauses, and short utterances such as feedback responses are among some of the non-verbal vocalisations that have been studied previously from various research fields. However, much is still unknown about the phonetic or visual characteristics of non-verbal vocalisations (production/encoding) and their relations to their intentions and perceived meanings (perception/decoding) in interaction. Furthermore, with the increased interest for more naturalness in human-machine interaction, it would be worthwile exploring how these phenomena can be integrated in speech applications.

Following the previous workshops on laughter held in Saarbrücken (2007), Berlin (2009), Dublin (2012), Enschede (2015) and Paris (2018), we have the pleasure to announce the next edition of the workshop in Bielefeld, Germany, in October 2020.

The goal of this series of workshops is to bring together scientists from diverse research areas and to provide an exchange forum for interdisciplinary discussions in order to gain a better understanding of laughter and other non-verbal vocalisations. The workshop consists of invited talks, oral and poster presentations of ongoing research.

Submission opens: 14 January 2020

Submission deadline: 14 February 2020 29 February 2020

Acceptance notification: 31 March 2020

Final paper submission: 30 April 2020

Workshop registration deadline: 1 June 2020 1 July 2020

Workshop: 15-16 June 2020 5-6 October 2020

Researchers are invited to submit short papers or abstracts (max. 4 pages, including references) describing their work, including work in progress. All submissions should use the ACL template. Submission website: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=lw-2020.

Each submission will be reviewed by at least two reviewers. Accepted papers will be made available online.

Submission website


The authors of accepted papers are asked to upload the final version of their paper on the Easychair platform by Thursday, April 30. It should include the name and the affiliation of each author, as well as any acknowledgments. Those having used the LaTeX template for the submission should just uncomment the line \aclfinalcopy in order to produce the un-anonymized version. For the users of the Word template, we have prepared a new file which includes a field for the name of the authors and removes the line numbers. You can download it from here.

You can register by sending us an email to laughterWorkshop2020@gmail.com. Registration is free of charge. At least one author of each accepted paper will have to register by July 1st.



The workshop will take place online, in the afternoon of October 5th (all times are local times in Germany).


15:00 - 16:00 Introduction. Teaser session with highlights
16:00 - 18:00 Poster session
18:00 - 19:00 Discussion panel with the keynote speakers. General discussion

Teaser session

During the teaser session, each paper's higlight slide will be shared on the screen and the author of the article has one minute to present it.

Poster session

The author of the each paper will have to be at their poster during the designated time, as shown in the programme of the poster session. They are free to visit other posters or stay longer at their poster outside this time interval.

Order of presentation


Both the teaser session and the poster session will have the following order of presentation:


  1. Chiara Mazzocconi and Jonathan Ginzburg - Laughter growing up (poster)
  2. Malte Belz - Acoustic vowel quality of filler particles in German (poster)
  3. Aurélie Chlébowski - A Semasiological Approach to Non-Lexical Conversational Sounds: Issues, Benefits and Impact (poster)
  4. Magdalena Rychlowska, Gary McKeown, Ian Sneddon and William Curran - Social and acoustic determinants of subjective judgments of laughter intensity (poster)
  5. Angelika Braun Nonverbal Vocalisations - A Forensic Phonetic Perspective (poster)
  6. Jessica Di Napoli - Filled pauses and prolongations in Roman Italian task-oriented dialogue (poster)
  7. Bogdan Ludusan, Maik Wesemann and Petra Wagner - A distributional analysis of laughter across turns and utterances (poster)
  8. Marion Schulte - Functions and Social Meanings of Click Sounds in Irish English (poster)
  9. Jonathan Ginzburg and Chiara Mazzocconi - Laughing about laughter: comparing conversational analysis, emotion psychology, and dialogical semantics (poster)
  10. Jaya Narain*, Kristina T Johnson*, Amanda O'Brien, Peter Wofford, Pattie Maes and Rosalind W Picard - Nonverbal Vocalizations as Speech: Characterizing Natural-Environment Audio from Nonverbal Individuals with Autism (*Co-first authors; Equal contribution) (poster)
  11. Beeke Muhlack - L1 and L2 Production of Non-Lexical Hesitation Particles of German and English Native Speakers (poster)
  12. Kevin El Haddad and Thierry Dutoit - Cross-Corpora Study of Smiles and Laughter Mimicry in Dyadic Interactions (poster)
  13. Loredana Schettino, Maria Di Maro and Francesco Cutugno - Silent pauses as Clarification trigger (poster)
  14. Vladislav Maraev, Chiara Mazzocconi, Gregory Mills and Christine Howes - “LOL what?”: Empirical study of laughter in chat based dialogues (poster)
  15. Bronagh Allison and Gary McKeown - A taxonomy of non-verbal responses to gossip (poster)
  16. Roza Kamiloglu and Disa Sauter - Posed and spontaneous nonverbal vocalizations of positive emotions: Acoustic analysis and perceptual judgments (poster)
  17. Jürgen Trouvain and Raphael Werner - Comparing Annotations of Non-verbal Vocalisations in Speech Corpora (poster)
  18. Reshmashree Bangalore Kantharaju and Catherine Pelachaud - Analysis of Laughter in Cohesive Groups (poster)
  19. Loulou Kosmala - On the distribution of clicks and inbreaths in class presentations and spontaneous conversations: blending vocal and kinetic activities (poster)

The workshop proceedings can be found here.

Khiet Truong (University of Twente)

Title: Automatic analysis of laughter in social interaction

Abstract: Since it is becoming more and more common to talk to a device, the need for methods to make this interaction more smooth, enjoyable and natural increases. Spoken language is more than just words. The way people talk not only reveals information about their age, sex, or region they are from, it also reveals information about one’s socio-affective, mental, and physical state. If agents can automatically extract this kind of information from the way the user talks, this will help regulate human-agent interaction and opens up opportunities for innovative talking agents. In this talk, I will present an overview of our work on human-human/agent interaction and socially interactive technology, and the role of laughter in our research.


Short bio: Khiet Truong is an assistant professor in the Human Media Interaction group, University of Twente. Her interests lie in the automatic analysis and understanding of verbal and nonverbal (vocal) behaviors in human-human and human-machine interaction, and the design of socially interactive technology to support human needs. Having a background in speech communication, her main focus is on analysing the vocal modality of expression, in addition to the visual (e.g. facial expressions, eye gaze) and physiological modalities in social interaction. Khiet holds a master in Computational Linguistics (Utrecht University) and a PhD in Computer Science (University of Twente). During her PhD carried out at TNO, she investigated emotion recognition in speech and automatic laughter detection. She is serving on numerous program committees and has chaired positions in major conferences such as Interspeech, ACM ICMI, ICASSP, and ACII. Website: http://khiettruong.space


Greg Bryant (UCLA)

Title: The evolution of laughter and verbal play

Abstract: During conversational interaction, speakers will use a variety of nonverbal vocal strategies to help them achieve pragmatic goals. These vocal signals often accompany verbal phenomena such as indirect speech, which often can be construed as a form of verbal play. One common such signal is laughter, which evolved from play vocalizations in our primate ancestors, and retains part of this communicative function in our everyday interactions. Here I will describe some different lines of research that reveal some of the communicative complexities of laughter, verbal play, and social interaction. Overall this work points to one possible connection between linguistic pragmatics and nonhuman animal communication.


Short bio: Greg Bryant is a Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Los Angeles. Greg is a leading researcher in human vocal communication and social behaviour, including examining the mechanisms and evolutionary underpinnings of laughter, infant directed speech, and vocal communication of emotion. As a pioneer in cross-cultural perception studies, his research often involves large, representative samples of participants from around the world. Website: http://gabryant.bol.ucla.edu


Salvador Alvidrez (Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom)

Reshmashree Bangalore Kantharaju (Pierre et Marie Curie University, France)

Simon Betz (Bielefeld University, Germany)

Greg Bryant (University of California Los Angeles, USA)

Kevin El Haddad (Mons University, Belgium)

Jonathan Ginzburg (Paris Diderot University, France)

Dirk Heylen (University of Twente, Netherlands)

Bogdan Ludusan (Bielefeld University, Germany)

Gary McKeown (Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom)

Magdalena Rychlowska (Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom)

Christine Spence (Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom)

Jürgen Trouvain (Saarland University, Germany)

Khiet Truong (University of Twente, Netherlands)

Petra Wagner (Bielefeld University, Germany)

The workshop is organized as a collaboration between researchers from Bielefeld University, Bogdan Ludusan and Petra Wagner, and Queen's University Belfast, Magdalena Rychlowska and Gary McKeown.


Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology

Inspiration 1, 33619 Bielefeld, Germany

Click here to download the workshop flyer.

For further information or questions regarding the workshop you can contact the organizers at the following email address: laughterWorkshop2020@gmail.com

The workshop has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 799022.