Project

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Modality in Argumentation. A semantico-argumentative Study of Predictions in Italian economic-financial Newspapers

Applicant Rocci Andrea
Number 120740
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Istituto Media e Giornalismo Facoltà di Scienze della comunicazione Università della Svizzera italiana
Institution of higher education Università della Svizzera italiana - USI
Main discipline Other languages and literature
Start/End 01.09.2008 - 31.12.2011
Approved amount 227'500.00
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Keywords (10)

argumentation; modality; economic-financial discourse; Italian language; argumentative indicators; evidentiality; conditionals; news discourse; economic discourse; financial news

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The project investigates the role of modality (e.g. possibility, necessity, probability or un certainty) in predictions appearing in a corpus of Italian economic newspaper articles. The aim is to combine the theoretical tools of semantics and argumentation theory in order to study the contribution of different modal meanings both to the logical and to the communicative structure of natural arguments.From a theoretical viewpoint, the research studies the connection between the different modal meanings and the realization of different kinds of argumentative moves in the text. The hypothesis of an intimate connection between the two levels has been put forth repeatedly in modern argumentation theory since the foundational work of S. Toulmin (1958), but was never investigated systematically nor tested empirically. Thus the project aims at contributing significantly to research on argumentative indicators, that is structures that signal that a particular argumentative move might be in progress and to the task of reconstructing the inferential structure of informal arguments in natural language. A systematic approach for dealing with modalities in the reconstruction of arguments has been proposed in Rocci (2008) and will be tested and refined during the project. The genre selected offers an ideal test-bed for such an investigation, and at the same time represents a promising field of application, where the study of the interaction between modality and argumentation is likely to throw light on the functioning of prediction as a key speech act of economic discourse.In fact, in economic-financial news, prediction of future developments often primes over the reporting of past events. From a socio-pragmatic viewpoint, financial news concerning public companies primarily addresses an audience of investors whose demand for information is oriented towards supporting their future investment decisions. Financial news influence these decision processes both directly and indirectly. In connection to the presentation of predictions, the communication of forecasting uncertainty and of the conditions of validity is particularly problematic, as these texts address a wider public of semi-expert people. Argumentative support of predictions can be also problematic, given the highly technical nature of economic forecasting.These socio-pragmatic features are reflected in the language used by an extreme abundance of complex combinations of modal expressions, conditional structures, reported speech and other structures signaling the attribution of forecasts to expert or informed sources.From a methodological viewpoint, the research will be based on a large corpus (more than 4 million words) of articles from different Italian economic-financial newspapers and will build a database of analyzed argumentative passages which will be exploited to investigate the correlation between modal meanings and different types of moves deployed in argumentative discourse.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Le funzioni inferenziali e polifoniche dell'avverbio epistemico italiano 'forse'
Miecznikowski Johanna, Rocci Andrea, Zlatkova Gergana (2013), Le funzioni inferenziali e polifoniche dell'avverbio epistemico italiano 'forse', in Daniela Pirazzini / Anika Schieman (ed.), Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 201-230.
Modality and argumentative discourse relations: A study of the Italian necessity modal dovere
Rocci Andrea (2012), Modality and argumentative discourse relations: A study of the Italian necessity modal dovere, in Journal of Pragmatics, 2012(Volume 44,), 2129-2149.
The Italian epistemic modal adverb forse: from semantics to argumentation.
Rocci Andrea, Zlatkova Gergana (2012), The Italian epistemic modal adverb forse: from semantics to argumentation., in Cantarini Sibilla (ed.), 232-252.
L'argumentation dans la presse économique et financière italienne
Miecznikowski Johanna, Rocci Andrea, Zlatkova Gergana (2012), L'argumentation dans la presse économique et financière italienne, in Gautier Laurent (ed.), Frank und Timme, Berlin, 65-83.
"Reported argumentation in financial news articles: problems of reconstruction."In: F. van Eemeren, B. Garssen, D. Godden and G. Mitchell. Proceedings of the 7th ISSA Conference
Zlatkova Gergana (2011), "Reported argumentation in financial news articles: problems of reconstruction."In: F. van Eemeren, B. Garssen, D. Godden and G. Mitchell. Proceedings of the 7th ISSA Conference, in Seventh International Conference of the international Society for the Study of argumentation., AmsterdamSicSat, Amsterdam.
Construction types and argumentative functions of possibility modals: evidence from Italian. In: F. van Eemeren, B. Garssen, D. Godden and G. Mitchell. Proceedings of the 7th ISSA Conference
Miecznikowski Johanna (2011), Construction types and argumentative functions of possibility modals: evidence from Italian. In: F. van Eemeren, B. Garssen, D. Godden and G. Mitchell. Proceedings of the 7th ISSA Conference, in Seventh International Conference of the international Society for the Study of argumentation., AmsterdamSicSat, Amsterdam.
The Italian modal dovere in the conditional: future reference, evidentiality and argumentation
Rocci Andrea (2011), The Italian modal dovere in the conditional: future reference, evidentiality and argumentation, in De Mulder Walter, Mortelmans Tanya , Mortelmans Jesse (ed.), Rodopi, Amsterdam /New york, 61-79.
Modalities as Indicators in Argumentative Reconstruction
Rocci Andrea (2009), Modalities as Indicators in Argumentative Reconstruction, in Garssen Bart , van Eemeren Frans H. (ed.), Springer, Dordrecht, 207-228.
Modals as lexical indicators of argumentation. A study of Italian economic-financial news
Rocci Andrea (2009), Modals as lexical indicators of argumentation. A study of Italian economic-financial news, in L’Analisi Linguistica e Letteraria, 2008(2), 577-619.
Per un’analisi semantica del connettore testuale in realtà.
Rocci Andrea (2009), Per un’analisi semantica del connettore testuale in realtà., in Casoni Matteo, Moretti Bruno, Pandolfi Elena-Maria (ed.), 71-94.
Modal conversational backgrounds and evidential bases in predictions: the view from the Italian modals
Andrea Rocci, Modal conversational backgrounds and evidential bases in predictions: the view from the Italian modals, in L. de Saussure , Jaszczolt K.M. (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, x-x.
The discourse system of financial communication
Rocci Andrea, The discourse system of financial communication, in Cahiers de L’Institut de linguistique et des sciences du langage (CILSL, Lausanne), 31.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Lugano–Amsterdam Colloquium '09. Rocci, Andrea “Modals as argumentative indicators. Some provisional remarks on “weak necessity” modals vs. expressions of probability in a corpus of financial news”. 27.11.2009 Lugano, Switzerland


Knowledge transfer events

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Con Mercurio, tra argomentazione e finanza SQUARE USI – MAGAZINE (Inverno 2012) Italian-speaking Switzerland 01.02.2012
Media relations: print media, online media Oltre i numeri, un intreccio complesso di parole, argomenti, generi e canali SQUARE USI – MAGAZINE (Inverno 2012) Italian-speaking Switzerland 01.02.2012
Media relations: print media, online media Siamo nell’epoca dell’argomento d’autorità.Il ruolo degli esperti nelle notizie economico/finanziar SQUARE USI – MAGAZINE Italian-speaking Switzerland 01.02.2012
Media relations: print media, online media La communication financière, entre stratégies et contraintes Point de Mire (NUMÉRO 46 – AUTOMNE 2011) Western Switzerland 01.09.2011

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