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Political speech – Il parlato politico

International Workshop


Università Roma Tre, Aula Magna, Via Ostiense 161 – Roma

November 10th – 12th, 2010

Abstract Booklet


Ever since classical oratory studies, epideictic and judicial rhetoric have been distinguished from deliberative rhetoric, which includes political discourse. And in all these genres, Cicero and Quintilianus credit high relevance to actio, i.e., all the aspects of discourse performance, in which the Orator must care not only words, but intonation, gesture, facial expression, body movements, etc., so as to be more persuasive.

In the last years, the body has been considered more and more important in political communication, especially because of the ubiquitous presence of political news and political talk shows in media. Moreover, body related aspects of persuasive communication have gained new concern in the research areas of Persuasive Agents and Social Signal Processing.

This workshop aims at investigating “political speech”: the monological and dialogical forms where political persuasion is attained through face to face or media communication, making use of the whole repertoire of body communication, including words, prosody, gesture, gaze, face, posture, proxemics, etc.

The target research questions are the following:

  • Are there body signals typical of political discourse, and more generally signals with a specific persuasive intent or persuasive effect?
  • Are there intonational contours, or prosodic characteristics, that are typical of argumentation?
  • Do political speech and political written text differ from a quantitative or qualitative point of view as to their use of argumentation? And are there cognitive or strategic reasons for such differences?
  • What are the acoustic and visual signals that typically convey emotional aspects and impression management in political speech? And what is their role in it as opposed to other types of persuasive discourse?
  • Is charisma a possible feature of an Orator? And are there signals of charisma in political speech?
  • Within the specific aspects of face to face interaction (prosody, intonational contours, gestures, head movements, gaze, facial expression…) what are the differences between political speech and other types of persuasive discourse, between discourse and debate, between private conversation public discourse?
  • In a political debate, how do turn taking, floor management, feedback, or other aspects of conversation management bear on the persuasive intent and persuasive effects?
  • How can an automatic system recognize and interpret signals of agreement and disagreement, dominance or reactance, persuasive intent or deception?
  • How can an Embodied Conversational Agent be more effective in persuasion, and how can an Intelligent System unmask fallacious argumentation or find counterarguments?

The topics of the Workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • multimodality
  • multimodal corpora
  • social signal processing
  • phonetics, prosody and intonation
  • gesture
  • discourse strategies
  • argumentation and persuasion
  • conversational analysis
  • public speaking
  • political communication
  • persuasive dialogue systems
  • speech analysis and synthesis
  • gesture and action recognition
  • applications
  • Embodied Conversational Agents
  • Persuasive Technology



Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

9.00 Gaetano Domenici, Head of the Faculty “Scienze della Formazione” Welcome
Pragmatics and Rhetoric
9.30 – 10.00 Chiara Degano The first UK televised prime ministerial debate
10.00 – 10.30 Ferdinando Longobardi Linguistic factors in political speech: how persuasive discourse constitutes or shakes politics.
10.30 – 11.30 KEY-NOTE

Frans van Eemeren

11.30 – 12.00 Coffee break
12.00 – 12.30 Martin Reisigl Political Speech – A politolinguistic approach, exemplified by the examples of Obama’s and McCain‘s acceptance speeches
12.30 – 13.00 Lorella Cedroni Politolinguistics: towards a new analysis of political discourse
13.00 – 13.30 Luisa Salvati, Elisa Pellegrino & Anna De Meo Racism and Immigration in Social Advertising Promoted by Italian Government
13.30 – 14.30 Lunch
Obama for president
14.30 – 15.00 Giovanna Leone “I have the blood of Africa within me”: The case of Obama’s reminder of his grandfather humiliation during colonial times, in his speech to African leaders.
15.00 – 15.30 Maria Gelang Towards a political actio
15.30 – 16.00 Daniel C. O’Connell, Sabine Kowal, Edward J. Sabin, John F. Lamia, and Margaret Dannevik Start-up Rhetoric in Eight Speeches of Barack Obama
16.30 – 17.00 Coffee Break
17.00 – 17.30 Patrizia Paggio & Costanza Navarretta Multimodal behaviour and addressee identification in political debates
17.30  –18.00 Michelangelo Conoscenti Reframing the USA: Obama, Multimodality and persuasion in a Web X.0 Age. A cognitive approach to political discourse.
18.00 – 18.30 General Discussion

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The Voice
9.00 –   9.30 Philippe Martin Intonation in political speech: A comparison between Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy intonation
9.30 – 10.00 Massimo Pettorino &

Luisa Salvati

Diachronic analysis of political face-to-face discussion: Berlusconi, fifteen years later
10.00 – 10.30 J Revis, C. De Looze, C. Fredouille & A. Giovanni Phonetic and linguistic features adaptation during voice imitation of a political speech
10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 – 12.00 KEY-NOTE

Klaus R. Scherer

Voice appeal and its role in political persuasion
12.00 – 12.30 Sylvia Shaw The Strange Case of the Minister for Education: An ethnographic and linguistic investigation into the construction of an individual’s ‘unpopularity’ on the debating floor of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
12.30 – 13.00 Donald Glowinski &  Liouba Bouscant Music as a perfect mean for political persuasion
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
Dominance in Debates
14.30 – 15.00 Marc Mehu & Klaus R.Scherer The role of voice in establishing verbal dominance in political  discussions
15.00 – 15.30 Isabella Poggi, Francesca D’Errico & Laura Vincze Dominance as an aspect of Ethos in political persuasion
15.30 – 16.00 De Carolis, F. D’Errico, I. Mazzotta, N. Novielli, I. Poggi Towards Modeling  Dominance in Political Debates
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee Break
Political Speech Corpora
16.30 – 17.00 Marco Guerini, Danilo Giampiccolo, Rachele Sprugnoli & Carlo Strapparava The New Release of CORPS: Tagged Political Speeches for Persuasive Communication Processing
17.00 – 17.30 Katerina T. Frantzi Exploring the Language Use in George Papandreou’s Interviews
17.30  –18.00 Valentina Porcu Analisi dei dibattiti elettorali 2007-2009. Stili cinesici e paradigmi gestuali nei leader moderni

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The political Body
9.00 –   9.30 Isabel Galhano Rodriguez Political Speech
9.30 – 10.00 Maria Koutsombogera, Harris Papageorgiou Multimodal indicators of persuasion in political interviews
10.00 – 10.30 Coffee Break
10.30 – 11.30 KEY-NOTE

Jens Allwood

Political words and their effects
11.30 – 12.00 Patrizia Catellani, Mauro Bertolotti, & Venusia Covelli Counterfactual communication in politics: Features and effects on voters
12.00 – 12.30 Andrzej Zuczkowski, R. Bongelli & I. Riccioni Evidentiality and Epistemicity in Italian Political Speeches
12.30 – 13.00 Monica Rubini &

Michela Menegatti

Language abstraction as a strategic tool used by political leaders to convince different types of audience
13.00 – 13.30 Gilda Sensales, Alessandra al Secco & Alessandra Areni Communicating politics. A study on the representations of 2008 electoral campaign in Italian daily press.


Aula Magna of University Roma Tre
Via Ostiense 159 – Roma

Public Transport from Termini Station:

  1. Take Metro B
  2. Stop at San Paolo (direction Laurentina)
  3. Walk for 400 mt toward Piramide.
  4. From Piramide Metro station:
  5. Take Bus n. 23, 770, 769
  6. Stop at Roma Tre Rettorato (Via Ostiense 159)


Hotel Santa Prisca
Largo Gelsomini 25
Tel. +39065741917
Fax +39065746658
Single: 100 €
Double: 130 €

Hotel Abitart
V.P. Matteucci, 10/20 –
Tel +39 064543191
Fax +39 06454319899
Double single use: 149 €
Double: 179 €

Hotel Domus Aventina
Via S. Prisca, 11/B – Roma
Tel. +3906 5746 135 – 06 5746 189
Fax +3906 5730 0044
Single: 105 €
Double single use: 130
Double: 155 €

Hotel Sant’Anselmo
Via Melania 19
fax: +39065741112
double single use: 140 €
double: 160 €

Hotel Villa San Pio
double single use: 105 €
double: 135 €

Hotel Aventino
double single use: 105 €
double: 120 €

Organizing Committee:

Isabella Poggi, Francesca D’Errico, Laura Vincze, Alessandro Vinciarelli

Important dates:

September 10th, 2010: Abstract submission (max 1000 words)

Abstract, in a doc. file, should be sent to the following addresses:

poggi@uniroma3.it; fderrico@uniroma3.it; laura.vincze@gmail.com

with “Political Speech” in the Subject

September 30th, 2010: Notification of acceptance

October 10th 2010: Final Program

November 10th -12th, 2010 International Workshop “Political Speech”

A selection of accepted papers will be published in a volume of Post-proceedings by Springer in the LNAI series.

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