I have reposted our old friend Ted Kennedy’s statement in the documents section in case you need it. I want you to find the semantic elements in each sentence. Don’t worry about interpreting what they mean, just find and list the elements. We will discuss what each means in a forum for the next assignment. For the format of the assignment, list the phrase or word that is a semantic indicator and then tell me what it is. For example, “We pulled up front, then he ran out of the store – the word ‘then’ indicates a temporal lacuna.” Don’t worry about the MLU, prologue, CI, or epilogue
Ted Kennedy’s Initial Account of Chappaquiddick #1
01 On July 18th, 1969, at approximately 11:15 P.M. in Chappaquiddick, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, I was driving my car on Main Street on my way to get the ferry back to Edgartown.
02 I was unfamiliar with the road and turned right onto Dike Road, instead of bearing hard left on Main Street.
03 After proceeding for approximately one-half mile on Dike Road I descended a hill and came upon a narrow bridge.
04 The car went off the side of the bridge.
05 There was one passenger with me, one Miss ________, a former secretary of my brother Sen. Robert Kennedy.
06 The car turned over and sank into the water and landed with the roof resting on the bottom.
07 I attempted to open the door and the window of the car but have no recollection of how I got out of the car.
08 I came to the surface and then repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car.
09 I was unsuccessful in the attempt.
10 I recall walking back to where my friends were eating.
11 There was a car parked in front of the cottage and I climbed into the backseat.
12 I then asked for someone to bring me back to Edgartown.
13 I remember walking around for a period then going back to my my hotel room.
14 When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately contacted the police.
Investigative Statement Analysis – Analysis Steps
1. Locate the Prologue, CI, and Epilogue and determine whether the narrative is truthful or deceptive on its form.
2. Determine the MLU and locate all sentences that are below the MLU and all that are significantly above the MLU (5 or more words above or below).
3. Locate any persons mentioned in the narrative and list them. For each person listed in the narrative, determine if there are any changes in reference to the person (name to pronoun, etc.) and determine the antecedent (why the change occurred). Especially look for reduced or eliminated self-reference. This is apparent in sentences that begin with verbs or in descriptions of activities in which the speaker was a participant, but that include no references to the speaker’s involvement. This is especially apparent where the pronoun “I” disappears from the narrative. This may indicate the suspect’s loss of commitment to his own narrative.
4. Locate any changes in verb tense (past to present, past to future, etc.) and determine the antecedent (why the change occurred). Locate any present tense verbs (present tense verbs in a narrative relating past events are significant). Deceptive subjects can display a reluctance to refer to past events as past – particularly if the past event is the subject of the investigation. Ask yourself, Why did the subject use that particular verb?
5. Locate and review the pronouns for insight into the status of relationships and the labels that the subject places on events, circumstances, and actions. Pay attention to the use of possessive pronouns “my”, etc. that indicate possession or possessiveness. Also is indicative of psychological introjection whereby aspects of the external world are absorbed into or incorporated into the self. Pay attention to heavy use of the pronoun “me” – indicates that the subject perceives himself or wishes to portray himself as the passive object of external actions or events over which he has no control. The appearance of “we” indicates a collective reference to the writer or speaker and at least one other person – always note the use and context of “we”.
6. Locate and review the nouns – particularly those that refer to persons – pay attention to nouns used when individuals are first introduced into the narrative. If the noun is used in reference to an individual changes, there must be an antecedent. Also when a reference to a thing changes, there must be an antecedent that stimulates the change.
7. Locate and review the adjectives used in the subject’s narrative for limiting or qualifying.
8. Locate and review the adverbs used in the narrative for the verb modifying and the temporal and degree identifying role of adverbs.
9. Locate and review the conjunctions. Look at the flow of the narrative and identify components that have been left out of the narrative. Identify cause and effect.
10. Locate and review the prepositions. These can give a sense of the location or position of persons or objects as well as the spatial relations between people and objects.
11. Locate and identify any sentences that are out of sequence and try to determine why they are out of sequence.
12. Locate and identify any abjuration terms such as the conjunction “but” that serve to withdraw the assertion made in the previous clause of the sentence.
13. Locate and identify any repression. In repression, the subject seeks to remove anxiety-causing content – this should always draw your attention. This is characterized by statements such as “I don’t remember”, “I don’t know”, “I don’t recall”. When the purpose of the narrative is to convey information and the subject claims not to remember, it merits close investigation.
14. Locate and identify any temporal lacunas. This is characterized by terms such as “when”, “later on”, “after that”, “by and by”, etc.. This indicates a blank space or missing period of time or missing element in the narrative.
15. Locate and identify any modifying or equivocating terms. These are characterized by the use of “little”, “believe”, “guess”, “kind of”, “sort of”, “think”, “hopefully”, etc.. These terms allow the subject to evade the risk of commitment to the statement.
16. Locate and identify any explanatory terms. These are characterized by use of “so”, “since”, “because”, “cause”, etc.. The subject uses them to give the reason for or cause of. This allows him to explain cause and effect or to offer an explanation or justification or rationale for his actions.
17. Locate and identify any denial or negation such as “I didn’t even know”. This is a defense mechanism that simply disavows or denies thoughts, feelings, wishes, or needs that cause anxiety. This is shown when the subject relates what did not happen or what he did not know, do, or observe.
18. Locate and identify any stalling mechanisms. Seen in the use of “let’s see”, “okay”, “well”, “um”, stuttering, stammering, etc.. This allows the speaker to hold back, especially when he is in doubt.
19. Locate and identify any second person referencing. Seen when the subject refers to himself with the second person pronoun “you”. Used by the subject to divert attention from himself. Subject is signaling that he feels no personal accountability or responsibility for whatever happened. This can also be used as an emotional enlistment “you know I don’t do that” to get the investigator to agree with him.
20. Locate and identify any weakened assertions. Seen by the use of “to tell you the truth”, “honestly”, etc.. Subject feels the need for additional (and what should be unnecessary) support for his narrative. These may also be used by the subject to refer to actions that were never actually carried out. Examples are “We were going”, “I needed to get”, “as a matter of fact”, “I tried”, “I started”. “Tried” and “started” are two of the most common verbs used in weakened assertions and particularly in deceptive ones.
21. Pay particular attention to the use of more generalized statements. Deceptive individuals may relate events vaguely with a series of actions or blocks of time summed up in such phrases as “messed around”, “talked for a while”, “got my stuff together”. Truthful subjects will tend to be more specific and to give details throughout the narrative. This is because their goal is to convey and not to convince. Deceptive subjects will only say enough to be convincing. Watch for a change from specific to general – may be evidenced by a temporal lacuna.