Implicit communication can be an effective means of persuasion (Ducrot 1982; Kerbrat-Orecchioni 1986; Rigotti 1988; Sbisà 2007; Lombardi Vallauri 2009b; De Saussure 2012, 2013). Implicatures and vague expressions, which we propose calling implicits of content, induce to conceive of their contents more as something the addressees have arrived at by themselves than as something the source is imposing on them (Lombardi Vallauri 2009a). Presuppositions and topicalizations, which are rather to be considered implicits of responsibility, present the encoded content as something not really introduced by the source, because the addressees themselves previously knew about it (Lombardi Vallauri 2016). In both cases, mainly due effort-economic euristics (Gigerenzer 2008; Maillat-Oswald 2009, Oswald-Maillat-Saussure 2016), epistemic vigilance (Sperber et al. 2010) ends up being reduced, so that implicit contents are less prone to be critically challenged and rejected than asserted ones (Reboul 2011). In particular, when it comes to questionable contents, this strategy can be exploited for potentially manipulative purposes. In public communication, which is mostly unilateral, this persuasive effect is enhanced. In order to quantify this phenomenon in actual texts, a measuring model aimed at assessing the impact of implicit information in political speeches has been developed (Lombardi Vallauri & Masia 2014, 2016). The model is based on a system of indexes expressing the intensity by which each category of implicit strategy conceals some content or the speaker’s responsibility for its truth. More specifically, vague expressions are assigned an index of 3, while implicatures range from 1 to 3, depending on the degree of implicitness (in ascending order, conventional, generalized and conversational). This is due to the fact that these strategies increasingly entrust to the addressee the task of calculating the speaker’s intentional meaning. Similarly, Topic’s intensity is rated with an index of 3 and presuppositions with an index of 4, as the latter drasticly reduces noticeability and recoverability of the responsability on the part of the adressee. When the impact of implicit strategies on actual texts is calculated, the intensity of the implicitness of each category is multiplied for their extension in the texts. The extension expressed in terms of characters and is measured on the basis of the ratio between the extension of the whole text and the number of characters of the linguistic expressions codifying the implicit strategy. The result represents the overall impact of the implicit strategy within the text. As a way of example, if a persuasive presuppositions such as “When you bribed people in exchange of votes” is 36 characters long and the entire text is made of 7400 characters, the ratio between the two extensions gives 0,004, which means that this presupposition represents about 0,4% of the whole text. This extension value of the single occurrence is then multiplied for the implicitness intensity index for presuppositions, that is to say 4. The result, 0,02, represents the overall impact of that presupposition within the text. The application of this procedure to the whole text and the sum of the impact values of all implicit strategies result in a global implicitation value. This value expresses a relative strength of the implicitness of the text, which is next compared to one or more texts. The comparison is drawn between text homogeneous by aim, potential audience potential background knowledge (if predictable), the length in characters of the texts and - finally - the topic they broach. .... The model application is resulting in a collective project consisting in a permanent observatory on political discourse. The OPPP! group (Osservatorio Permanente sulla Pubblicità e la Propaganda) has a democratic intent and communicates with its target – i.e. the Italian citizen, but also the political bodies, the media, and all the researchers who are interested in this type of linguistic analysis – via the website oppp.it. The OPPP! website publishes the results of the analyses carried out on Italian political speeches by a visual graphic and two evaluation rates: the analyses are presented in pairs of two speeches delivered by two different politicians on the same topic, and close to each other in time. Fine-grained analyses are also available. Besides pair-ratings, trend analyses can for example highlight the strategies of implicitness preferred by a particular politician, or the political contents that are more frequently conveyed in an implicit way. This second kind of posts helps the readers to interpret data and values within a larger and more complex view. Both the results of the analyses and the explanation of the measuring model are mainly directed to a non-academic target, but follow-up instruments are systematically proposed and linked to every published analysis.

Implicit argumentation and persuasion A measuring model

Doriana Cimmino;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Implicit communication can be an effective means of persuasion (Ducrot 1982; Kerbrat-Orecchioni 1986; Rigotti 1988; Sbisà 2007; Lombardi Vallauri 2009b; De Saussure 2012, 2013). Implicatures and vague expressions, which we propose calling implicits of content, induce to conceive of their contents more as something the addressees have arrived at by themselves than as something the source is imposing on them (Lombardi Vallauri 2009a). Presuppositions and topicalizations, which are rather to be considered implicits of responsibility, present the encoded content as something not really introduced by the source, because the addressees themselves previously knew about it (Lombardi Vallauri 2016). In both cases, mainly due effort-economic euristics (Gigerenzer 2008; Maillat-Oswald 2009, Oswald-Maillat-Saussure 2016), epistemic vigilance (Sperber et al. 2010) ends up being reduced, so that implicit contents are less prone to be critically challenged and rejected than asserted ones (Reboul 2011). In particular, when it comes to questionable contents, this strategy can be exploited for potentially manipulative purposes. In public communication, which is mostly unilateral, this persuasive effect is enhanced. In order to quantify this phenomenon in actual texts, a measuring model aimed at assessing the impact of implicit information in political speeches has been developed (Lombardi Vallauri & Masia 2014, 2016). The model is based on a system of indexes expressing the intensity by which each category of implicit strategy conceals some content or the speaker’s responsibility for its truth. More specifically, vague expressions are assigned an index of 3, while implicatures range from 1 to 3, depending on the degree of implicitness (in ascending order, conventional, generalized and conversational). This is due to the fact that these strategies increasingly entrust to the addressee the task of calculating the speaker’s intentional meaning. Similarly, Topic’s intensity is rated with an index of 3 and presuppositions with an index of 4, as the latter drasticly reduces noticeability and recoverability of the responsability on the part of the adressee. When the impact of implicit strategies on actual texts is calculated, the intensity of the implicitness of each category is multiplied for their extension in the texts. The extension expressed in terms of characters and is measured on the basis of the ratio between the extension of the whole text and the number of characters of the linguistic expressions codifying the implicit strategy. The result represents the overall impact of the implicit strategy within the text. As a way of example, if a persuasive presuppositions such as “When you bribed people in exchange of votes” is 36 characters long and the entire text is made of 7400 characters, the ratio between the two extensions gives 0,004, which means that this presupposition represents about 0,4% of the whole text. This extension value of the single occurrence is then multiplied for the implicitness intensity index for presuppositions, that is to say 4. The result, 0,02, represents the overall impact of that presupposition within the text. The application of this procedure to the whole text and the sum of the impact values of all implicit strategies result in a global implicitation value. This value expresses a relative strength of the implicitness of the text, which is next compared to one or more texts. The comparison is drawn between text homogeneous by aim, potential audience potential background knowledge (if predictable), the length in characters of the texts and - finally - the topic they broach. .... The model application is resulting in a collective project consisting in a permanent observatory on political discourse. The OPPP! group (Osservatorio Permanente sulla Pubblicità e la Propaganda) has a democratic intent and communicates with its target – i.e. the Italian citizen, but also the political bodies, the media, and all the researchers who are interested in this type of linguistic analysis – via the website oppp.it. The OPPP! website publishes the results of the analyses carried out on Italian political speeches by a visual graphic and two evaluation rates: the analyses are presented in pairs of two speeches delivered by two different politicians on the same topic, and close to each other in time. Fine-grained analyses are also available. Besides pair-ratings, trend analyses can for example highlight the strategies of implicitness preferred by a particular politician, or the political contents that are more frequently conveyed in an implicit way. This second kind of posts helps the readers to interpret data and values within a larger and more complex view. Both the results of the analyses and the explanation of the measuring model are mainly directed to a non-academic target, but follow-up instruments are systematically proposed and linked to every published analysis.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4753080
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