Language and Linguistics

What is forensic linguistics with applications in law expert and areas

Forensic linguistics

The forensic linguistics is known as specialization by professionals from different areas such as philologists , linguists and translators to use their knowledge in different legal contexts that require the help of a linguist expert .

This branch has two quite marked characteristics. The first is a multifaceted discipline , and the second, whose analysis shows great complexity, by incorporating a series of research areas that are related to administrative , legal and judicial language , added to the forensic application of the linguistic expert evidence wherever it may be. necessary.

The forensic linguistics is a commendable expertise for professionals who want to work as philologists, linguists and translators, offering professional services in the context of possible court cases in which the intervention of an expert linguist is important.

Areas of of Forensic Linguistics

Approaching the question from a very general perspective, and following (roughly) the organizing scheme of the fundamental Language and the Law , edited by Gibbons (1994), it can be said that there are three main areas in which the paths of language and law intersect. crisscross 1 : 

  1.  the language of law , that is, the language of legal texts, problems arising from the fact that laws are formulated and transmitted through languages, such as analysis of the meaning and ‘interpretation’ of laws, the intelligibility of legal language, etc. ( Danet 1990, Hiltunen 1990, Mellinkoff 1963, Shuy 1998, Tiersma 1999).
  2.  language in legal processes : language as an instrument for legal argumentation both in oral hearings and in the preparation of sentences; language as a potential source of disadvantage before the law for certain social groups, including children, speakers of a foreign language or ethnic or dialect minorities of all kinds. (Atkinson and Drew 1979, Bennet and Feldman 1981, Danet , Hoffman, Kermish , Rafn and Stayman 1980, Harris 1984).
  3.  linguistic evidence in legal processes : the use, validity, reliability of linguistic evidence in judicial processes, that is, the analysis of linguistic materials at different levels (phonological-phonetic, morpho- syntactic, lexical-semantic, pragmatic-discursive, etc.) and its probative value in said processes.

Application of forensic linguistics in the field of Law

What specific tasks can you perform as an expert forensic linguist? Carrying out transcription tasks, preparing forensic recordings and analyzing the linguistic profile of the author of a text.

Therefore, this branch of linguistics is directly related to law . For example, it is very important to define the language of the law so that a regulation is expressed through a rigorous formulation.

1-Resolution of contradictions in legal texts

A forensic linguist also specializes in the specific transcription of audio recordings as a means of information in a case. This language analysis is also very important to clarify possible points of contradiction in legal documents such as a contract.

2-Identification of the authorship of a text

Similarly, a specific application of this practical knowledge is determining the authorship of an anonymous text . Language as a form of communication is present in all branches of life, also at the level of Law.

3-Voice test

For example, the forensic linguist can perform a voice validation test in situations where it is necessary to confirm whether the voice belongs to a specific person. Voice identification can also be carried out in those situations where it is necessary to specify who a voice corresponds to among several possible candidates.

What is an expert linguist?

The forensic linguistics expert performs work related to the third research area of ​​forensic linguistics: language as evidence. Therefore, whenever a linguistic sample, written or oral, is part of a judicial process or investigation, the work of a forensic linguist is necessary. The main areas of work for linguistic experts include, among others:

  • Voice forensic comparison
  • Attribution of authorship
  • Plagiarism detection
  • Linguistic analysis of brands
  • Profiling of speakers and authors

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