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Forensic Linguistics

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on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of Forensic Linguistics

Forensic Linguistics
Frances Rock

Describing the legal system: policing
Police Interviews traditionally 'face to face' and Divided by Suspect/Witness
Linguistic Study is more useful to divide by Audio Recorded or Not (Written Statement)
Interview Talk
Question Form-
prefaced questions
Interviewer can take the 'storyteller role', evaluate the previous responses that expects agreement
"Silly Question'- Interviewee has potential to be manipulated
Research Attention on rights presentation, emergency police assistance calls using identity & community of practice studies.
The future trajectory of forensic linguistics
Forensic Linguist plan to take on the challenge of using their findings in scholarly works to improve the societal justice systems
Continue to develop linguistic research to apply linguistic findings or resources such as phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, discourse and so on. Legal settings are an avenue to do so.
Language and Expertise
Forensic case work entails using analytical tools
Resources such as knowledge of additional language or technique
Authorship Investigation 'Who said this?'
Authorship and Style Markers
vocabulary, phrase choice, syntax, spelling and discourse, for example verb forms
Quantitative and Qualitative Studies
Ex: Violet Hussein's will
Main Current Issues
*Forensic linguistics is so new that its history is still being written and so diverse that this history
has been traced from several directions.

*Current research tests the bounds of the forensic linguistic enterprise

Describing the Legal System:
courtroom language
Two research themes: 1.Examining Intricacies between Lawyer and witness questioning 2. Words delivered by judges to juries
Discourse in rape trials
'Why?' questions=lengthy answers
Speech Style- hesitations, hedging, and hyper corrections altar perceptions of trustworthiness
Narrative and Paradigmatic
Interpreters attend to speaker intentions, manage politeness, orient to norms while listening and speaking 2 languages
Unsettling Effects of legal language
'Law is the profession of words'
Language defines offences, obligations and rights to present to legal specialists and members of society
Legal language governs relationships between individuals, companies and institutions
Language is more than just platitude
Linguists with specialisms in Phonetics and Pragmatics can inform decisions about weather illegal activity has occurred
Forensic linguistics defined in many different ways
Methods-Understood, Devised and Applied
Authorship and Interviews
Forensic Linguistic Connections
Courtroom analysis and Interview Power and Control
Diversity of Forensic Linguist activities
(Although much not described in this chapter, readers should note the potential of reach this sub field of linguistics and future promises)


Brock, Frances. (2011) Forensic Linguistics .
The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics,
Introduction to Linguistics
Spring 2014
Dr Boyd Davis
Presented by: Tanya Gusdorf
Full transcript