Abstract: This work examines the rhetorical techniques that speakers employ during political campaigns. We introduce a new corpus of speeches from campaign events in the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and develop new models for predicting moments of audience applause. In contrast to existing datasets, we tackle the challenge of working with transcripts that derive from uncorrected closed captioning, using associated audio recordings to automatically extract and align labels for instances of audience applause. In prediction experiments, we find that lexical features carry the most information, but that a variety of features are predictive, including prosody, long-term contextual dependencies, and theoretically motivated features designed to capture rhetorical techniques.
Authors: Jon Gillick, David Bamman (University of California, Berkeley)