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By Roberta Piazza

Linguistic research of the discussion of Italian cinema, utilizing options and methodologies from pragmatics, dialog research and discourse research.

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The Discourse of Italian Cinema and Beyond: Let Cinema Speak

Linguistic research of the discussion of Italian cinema, utilizing thoughts and methodologies from pragmatics, dialog research and discourse research.

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E. e. having a dispute or conflict with someone) (Hutchby, 1996). A similar distinction is taken up by Schiffrin’s ‘rhetorical’ argument, indicating 48 The Discourse of Italian Cinema and Beyond a discourse that justifies a viewpoint, and ‘oppositional’ argument, describing an interactional ‘polarization’ (1985: 41). In this study, the term ‘argument’ is taken to indicate a verbally expressed, or, in the case of silence, a deliberately not-voiced contrast or opposition, an instance of interpersonal verbal conflict between two or more interlocutors – which can be accompanied or emphasized by non-verbal behaviour.

According to Bubel in film and television ‘the default attitude . . : 66) and film discourse is ‘tailored’ to viewers whose knowledge structures and interpreting schemas are anticipated. The model proposed here is not in conflict with Bubel’s model, rather it problematizes the disclosure modality in it by showing how the interface between images and words can assume different degrees of overhearers’ agency and responsibility. When viewers are construed as ‘overhearers’ the verbal–visual planes interact in ways that seem to ignore or be indifferent to their presence; in the case of 34 The Discourse of Italian Cinema and Beyond ‘targetted overhearers’ instead the viewers are invited to participate and expected to carry out specific cognitive tasks; finally, ‘undisclosed intermediaries’ is the situation in which a dedicated message is sent from the screen to the viewers rather than being addressed to a particular character.

2 Methodology for the investigation of the verbal–visual interaction The consideration of the role of the dialogue vis-à-vis images in films belongs to a broader debate on the verbal–visual intersection in a number of contexts, beyond cinema. Morley (2003) investigates the writing–drawing relation in modern art. The complementariness between photographs and texts, the functional relation between a picture and its caption or phototext is the topic of Hunter’s volume (1987), which investigates the possibility of coherent and synchronous relations between photographic and literary styles in the twentieth century and establishes correspondences between some writers’ styles and some forms of photography.

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