Presentation on theme: "Persuasive goals of Irony in a political trial. Isabella Poggi* Federica Cavicchio**, Emanuela Magno Caldognetto** * Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione."— Presentation transcript:
Persuasive goals of Irony in a political trial. Isabella Poggi* Federica Cavicchio**, Emanuela Magno Caldognetto** * Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione Università Roma Tre, Roma ** Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione del CNR Sezione di Fonetica e Dialettologia, Padova Humaine: WP8 Workshop Trento – November 17-18, 2005
A trial as a case of persuasive discourse According to classical rhetoric, which distinguished among deliberative, judiciary and epideictic rhetoric, a trial is a typical case of persuasion. In a judicial debate, the goal of punishing the guilty is shared by the judge and the attorneys The job of the attorneys is to persuade the Judge, through argumentation, about the truth of some beliefs concerning the events and the responsibility of the accused in them a subgoal of this is, for all of them, to assess the credibility of the accused and of the witnesses.
How believable are the accused and the witnesses As to witnesses, the Judge must assess if they tell the truth about events, mainly by assessing how certain they are of what they say (if by direct witnessing, or only by having heard, or by their own inferences), and checking possible contradictions As to the accused, a judge must assess not only factual states of affairs (events), but also, and more importantly, the accused’s intentionality and awareness of committing a misdeed. The civil attorney, for example, must persuade the judge that the accused did know that he was committing some transgression, while the accused aims, in turn, to convince that, even if he caused some damage to someone or he transgressed some norm, he was not aware of this.
“Clean Hands”: An Italian political trial A famous trial, held in Italy in 1993, of very high political import, in which many politicians were charged of corruption, and were subject to a “ degradation ritual ” (Garfinkel, 1995; Giglioli et al., 1997) In this trial, both the accuser, Antonio Di Pietro, and one of the attorneys, Spazzali, often use irony while interrogating the accused and the witnesses Their interrogations also provide examples of humor and ridiculization
Our research Goals To define the notion of Irony in terms of a goal and belief model of communication To analyse examples of Irony in the “Clean Hands Trial”, to single out - their goals - their multimodal cues
A model of communication in terms of goals and beliefs (Castelfranchi & Parisi 1980; Conte & Castelfranchi 1995; Poggi & Magno Caldognetto 1997; Poggi & Pelachaud 2000) People communicate through communicative acts A communicative act is a behavior performed or a morphological trait exhibited by a Sender in order to have an Addressee believe some belief A communicative act can be perfomed through a sentence, a gesture, a gaze, a facial expression
Communicative acts A communicative act always has a literal meaning, but it may also have, in addition, a non-literal meaning The beliefs the Sender wants the Addressee to understand through the lexical and syntactic rules of the shared communication system The beliefs the Sender wants the Addressee to draw by inference The goal of the communicative act The(communicative) supergoal of the communicative act
Irony Irony is a communicative act in which the literal meaning is opposite to the non-literal meaning (antiphrastic irony) Generally the literal meaning (and hence the non-literal one) has an evaluative import, in that it directly bears, or makes one infer, some evaluation about some event, object or person Irony is a Rhetorical Figure in that the Sender wants the Addressee to understand the non-literal meaning: a case of “recitation” (Castelfranchi & Vincent, 1977; Castelfranchi & Poggi, 1998) Recitation = I say something I do not believe, but I want you to understand I do not believe it As well as any communicative act, also an ironic act can have supergoals
How to understand irony (and how to have others understand it) To understand the non-literal meaning of irony, the Addressee must - understand that the Sender wants to be ironic (ironic alert: Jacovoni & Poggi, 1998; Attardo et al., 2003) - understand the non-literal meaning of the communicative act In order to make the Addressee understand he’s being ironic, the Sender may lean on - metacommunication: a “blank face”, a wink, an a-symmetric smile, by itself a signal “dedicated” to alerting to irony S performs a signal that means: I am being ironic - paracommunication, namely an utterly contrasting belief, drawn from contextual knowledge or from a contradictory signal (e.g., a bored face while uttering an enthusiastic utterance; hyperbole or understatement ) (Attardo et al., 2003) S performs two signals meaning rexpectively X and not X
Di Pietro’s irony in the “Clean Hands” trial The accuser Di Pietro is trying to demonstrate that the accused, the politician Cirino Pomicino, received 5 billions Lire from Dr. Ferruzzi for political elections. Cirino Pomicino says that - the day after the elections he received Ferruzzi at his home at 7.30 in the morning - he did so just because seven months before he had promised to Sama that he would meet Ferruzzi Di Pietro ironically remarks it is quite strange that Cirino Pomicino received Dr. Ferruzzi at his home at 7.30 in the morning, and, moreover, that this was only because, 7 months before, he had been committed to meet Ferruzzi, and not because he was to thank Ferruzzi for granting 5 billions for the elections He does so to argue that Pomicino did know he was doing an illicit thing.
Di Pietro : Irony 1 il vero impegno che aveva preso questo signore era di ringraziare, di sdebitarsi di un impegno che aveva preso col dottor Sama a giugno di sette mesi prima The true commitment of this gentleman was to thank, to pay off his debt of something he had been committed to with Dr.Sama in june of seven months before
Paracommunication of irony Words Gesture Gaze Un impegno che aveva preso col dottor Sama a giugno di sette mesi prima (= a commitment with Dr.Sama that he had been committed to in june of seven months before) Depicts an oblong shape up in the air = cloud = vague Looks up in the sky = cloud = vague Gesture and gaze paracommunicate a meaning of vagueness which contrasts with the straight idea of a commitment Commitment vs. Vague Gesture and gaze paracommunicate a meaning contrasting with words and thus alerts to irony
Di Pietro’s strategy G1: Judge condemns CP G2: Judge believes CP had received 5 billions for the elections G3: Judge believes there was a stronger reason to receive guests at 7.30 A: DP is ironic about receiving Ferruzzi at 7.30 only because CP. was committed to do so 7 months before
Di Pietro : Irony 2 Oòh, a mme sembra, e le chiedevo a lei conferma, se lei si sia sentito in dovere di svegliarsi alle sette e mezza perché le avevano dato cinque miliardi o perché aveva preso un impegno sette mesi prima di ricevere… Ferruzzi Well, it seems to me, and I was asking you to confirm, if you felt a duty to wake up at 7.30 because they had given you 5 billions or because you had been committed seven months before to receive… Ferruzzi
Irony in gesture and trunk Words Gesture Gaze (somewhat later) Trunk Ooh, a mme sembra, e le chiedevo a lei conferma Well, it seems to me, and I was asking you to confirm hands palm up move forward up in curve line = I offer you kindly Wide open eyes, raised eyebrows, horizontal wrinkles on the forehead = I am perplexed, doubtful about this hypothesis Trunk bends down, bows = I submit to you Gesture and trunk show an exaggerate politeness, like in truly asking to confirm (but in a hyperbolic way, ironic in itself) gaze shows a contrasting perplexity I trust your confirmation (I believe you) vs. I am perplexed (I don’t believe you) The whole communicative act then results ironic
Di Pietro’s strategy G1: Judge condemns CP G2: Judge believes CP knew he was transgressing G3: Judge believes receiving guests at 7.30 is strange A: DP is ironic about receiving people at 7.30
Di Pietro’s strategy G1: Judge condemns CP Judge believes CP knew : G2 G3: Judge believes CP received he was transgressing 5 billions for the elections Judge believes receiving : G4 G5: Judge believes there was a stronger guests at 7.30 is strange reason to receive guests at 7.30 DP is ironic about receiving: A1 A2: DP is ironic about receiving Ferruzzi people at 7.30 in the morning at 7.30 only because CP. was committed to do so 7 months before
Spazzali: self irony Sapeva anche, ed è questo che le chiedo, quali fossero le posizioni di Grotti e di Bernabè insieme all’Eni in relazione…? C.: Di Grotti e di Sernia vuol dire S.: (Schiocca pollice e medio della sinistra) C’è qualche ragione: mi scivola sempre la lingua si Bernabè. Di Sernia. S.: You also knew, and this is what I ask you, what were the positions of Grotti and Bernabè with Eni as to… C.: Of Grotti and Sernia you mean S.: (snaps thumb and middle finger) There is some reason for this: my tongue always slips on Bernabè. Of Sernia.
Spazzali : Self-irony Words Gesture Forehead Mouth Mi scivola sempre la lingua su Bernabè (= My tongue always slips over Bernabè) Reproaches himself with his finger Wrinkles show worry Smiles The smile paracommunicates a contrasting meaning : Mistake – reproach – worry vs. Amusement The smile paracommunicates self-irony
Spazzali’s strategy Spazzali’s ironic self reproach has a further indirect meaning G1: You should talk about Bernabè G2: You never talk about Bernabè, but I inadvertently mentioned him, because I really think this is relevant G3: I am ironic about my slip of the tongue Also in this case Irony is a means to unmask the truth
Conclusion In the “Clean Hands Trial”… Irony is generally exploited to persuade the Judge that the Accused is not credible Irony in this case has an important function within judiciary persuasive discourse