Forensic Linguistics – Methodology that Solves Crimes

Forensic Linguistics is the study of the language of law and legal process. It also includes the language of 911 calls, the police and the courtroom, and the language that is used in trials as evidence.

LanguageAndLaw.org describes Forensic Linguistics as the methodology that solves crimes. It comprises many areas that relate to crime, both solving crime and absolving people wrongly accused of committing crimes. Some of these areas include:

  • Voice identification (also called forensic phonetics)
  • Author identification (analysis of the personal writing style; also called forensic stylistics)
  • Discourse analysis (analysis of the structure of spoken or written utterance)
  • Linguistic proficiency
  • Dialectology
  • Language analysis (determining the suspect’s native language)
  • “Linguistic veracity analysis” (determining whether a speaker or a writer was being truthful)

One of the best forensic linguists in the USA is Dr. Robert Leonard. He has a wide experience in his field of expertise. For instance, he has been retained by both defendants and prosecutors to consult and/or testify in criminal cases involving murder, espionage, and other felonies, and he has consulted and/or testified for both plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases involving trademarks, plagiarism, libel, malpractice, and the meaning of contracts.

The following video briefly describes Dr. Robert Leonard’s technique on how to implement the theoretical knowledge of Forensic Linguistics into practice, i.e. Sherlyn Hummert murder investigation.