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Linguistics and the Law
(Released September 2001)

 
  by Colleen B. Brennan  

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  1. Fragmented Narratives and Multiple Tellers: Witness and Defendant Accounts in Trials

    Harris, Sandra

    Discourse Studies, 2001, 3, 1, Feb, 53-74

    This article examines the nature & structure of witness & defendant narrative accounts in the evidential portions of courtroom trials, using the O. J. Simpson (1996), Oklahoma Bombers (1997), & Louise Woodward (1998) trials as a database. The article proposes a means of distinguishing narrative from non-narrative accounts, using William Labov's definition of the "minimal narrative" as a starting point, & puts forward a modified model of narrative structure. A range of narrative structures are explored, & the model is used to analyze a series of representative example narratives taken from the trial data. Different types of narrative fragmentation produced by multiple tellers of the same narrative are also examined, along with the frequent disjunction between "tellers" & "knowers." Lastly, the article explores the relationship between narrative structures & narrative fragmentation & the discourse strategies used by lawyers in direct & cross-examination. 29 References. Adapted from the source document

  2. US Pattern Jury Instructions: Problems and Proposals

    Dumas, Bethany K

    Forensic Linguistics, 2000, 7, 1, 49-71

    The syntactic & semantic difficulties faced by jurors in courtroom trials, particularly with respect to jury instructions, are well documented. Given the clear consensus about the difficulties of dealing with long complex sentences & specialized terms of art (eg, reasonable doubt), it has been difficult to understand why the legal system has been so slow to modify the pattern instructions used in most US jurisdictions. This paper will recognize the advance in instructions represented by the introduction of pattern instructions, suggest reasons for the current inertia, identify chinks in the wall of resistance (notably in Arizona), & suggest a model for reform that draws on the recognition that the role of the jury as finder of fact has to compete with the judicial perception that the jury must be highly constrained & controlled. 51 References. Adapted from the source document

  3. Effects of Preinstruction and Linguistic Simplification on Juror Comprehension of Capital Sentencing Instructions

    White, Teri Lafreniere

    Dissertation Abstracts International, B: Sciences and Engineering, 2000, 60, 7, Jan, 3624-B

    This experiment was conducted to determine levels of comprehension of current pattern instructions used in North Carolina capital sentencing trials and to see if those rates could be improved by simplifying the language and syntax of the instructions and by targeting specific areas of prior legal knowledge that may conflict with the correct standards. Additionally, the timing of the presentation of the instructions was varied to determine whether when the instructions were presented--prior to evidence only, after evidence only, or both prior to and after evidence--affected the levels of comprehension obtained. The results show that comprehension of the concepts involved in capital sentencing, including the standards for finding aggravating and mitigating circumstances and the procedure to be used in the sentencing decision, using the current North Carolina pattern instructions was generally rather poor. In contrast, comprehension rates improved significantly with the use of linguistically simplified instructions designed to counteract some of the legal schemas people have regarding the court system. Simplification of the instructional language was found to be particularly effective for improving comprehension of the standards for finding mitigating circumstances. The timing of the presentation of the instructions showed mixed results. When the instructions were written in simplified language, presentation prior to the evidence only resulted in the highest comprehension rates for both aggravating and mitigating circumstances. When the instructions were written in pattern language, presentation both prior to and after the evidence resulted in highest comprehension levels, although these levels did not differ significantly from the levels obtained with other timing combinations. Comprehension levels for the standards for finding aggravating circumstances were consistently higher than levels of comprehension of the standards for finding mitigating circumstances. This finding supports the notion that people have legal schemas about the standards to be used in a courtroom in that the standards for finding aggravating circumstances are consistent with those schemas whereas the standards for finding mitigating circumstances are not. Comprehension levels for aggravating circumstances were highest among those participants who were primed to elicit those schemas. The possible implications of the increased understanding of mitigating circumstances for both capital sentencing deliberations and verdicts are discussed. Additionally, the issues regarding when instructions should be presented to capital jurors to optimize their impact are addressed.

  4. Creoles and Comprehension in the Courtroom

    Hutchins, Duncan Clyde

    Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 1999, 60, 4, Oct, 1105-A

    While speakers of languages other than English are routinely provided with courtroom interpreters, this is almost never the case with speakers of English-lexicon creoles, although creolists generally agree that creoles are independent languages which share only a limited number of features with the 'standard' languages they are associated with. Observations of court proceedings in New York City and analysis of official transcripts indicated that miscommunication could be occurring between speakers of English-lexicon creoles and Standard English speakers due to creole features in the testimony of creole-speaking witnesses. The extent to which such Standard English speakers are able to comprehend statements made by speakers of Caribbean English Creole in the context of courtroom testimony was examined. Circumstances under which jurors must interpret witness testimony were simulated by presenting ten courtroom exchanges from the transcripts of the proceedings observed, re-enacted on audio-tape, to 158 Standard English speakers, and a control group of 32 Standard English speakers listening to the same extracts with Standard English substituted for the Creole English. Subjects selected interpretations for each extract from four or five choices provided. Even when adjusted for the performance of the control group, the test group chose the correct interpretations only 53.6% of the time. Grammatical morphemes shared by both Creole English and Standard English, but with differing functions, were the greatest source of misinterpretation. Adverbials resembling Standard English, but with different reference, were also major sources of misinterpretation. Grammar elements 'missing' or ambiguous due to phonological variation caused less confusion. Phonological variation alone had little effect, and context provided by the attorneys' words or other portions of testimony affected interpretation in both test and control groups. Gender, age, and education of subjects had no significant effect on ability to interpret the Creole English speakers correctly. Native language, culture and ethnicity, and contact with Creole English speakers did correlate with comprehension. Native English speakers, those from both the English and non-English-speaking Caribbean, and those with frequent contact with Creole English speakers did significantly better.

  5. Varying Realities: Patterned Changes in the Interpreter's Representation of Courtroom and External Realities

    Hale, Sandra; Gibbons, John

    Applied Linguistics, 1999, 20, 2, June, 203-220

    Two layers of reality are manifested in the courtroom: that of the courtroom itself, the courtroom reality, & that of the events under examination in the case, the external reality. Both realities are represented through the language used in the courtroom. While interpreters tend to faithfully interpret language referring to the external reality, there are consistent & significant changes in their interpreted representation of the courtroom reality. Such changes may have significant influences on evidence, & hence on the outcome of the case. This paper presents the results of a detailed analysis of courtroom transcripts involving Spanish-English interpreting by four interpreters in Sydney, Australia, where consistent changes in the interpreted versions were found. 1 Table, 30 References. Adapted from the source document

  6. And-Prefaced Questions in Institutional Discourse

    Matsumoto, Kazuko

    Linguistics, 1999, 37, 2(360), 251-274

    This paper presents a pragmatic account of and, a conjunction that is commonly used by professional questioners as a question preface in institutional interactions. Based on some linguistic features characteristic of and-prefaced yes/no questions, it is argued that and-prefacing serves two main functions: (1) It underscores a link to the anaphoric discourse (eg, juxtaposition), thereby grouping the conjoined propositions as a coherent package of information (eg, one conveying an argument in cross-examination) in a succession of question-answer sequences. (2) It underscores the questioner's skewed orientation toward the affirmative polarity of an answer. It is proposed that the frequent use of and-prefaced questions in institutional discourse may be attributed to three factors:(A) its structural organization, which is predominantly characterized by question-answer sequences with no alternation of the questioner-answerer roles between the interactants; (B) the professional questioner's prior knowledge of the answers, which seems maximal in courtroom settings; & (C) the primary recipients of the answers, ie, a third party other than the questioner not directly participating in the interaction (eg, the jury). 30 References. Adapted from the source document

  7. Intertextuality, Affect, and Ideology in Legal Discourse

    Matoesian, Greg

    Text, 1999, 19, 1, 73-109

    This article examines how attorneys & witnesses mobilize intertextuality, affect, & linguistic ideology to accomplish practical interactional tasks in a rape trial context. Drawing on Erving Goffman (1979), Mikhail Bakhtin (eg, 1986), & recent work by linguistic anthropologists in the area of metapragmatics, I analyze how complex interactions between grammar, prosody, & discursive style create a dense constellation of voices or footings, & index multiple social contexts in the legal order. I show how courtroom speakers shape evidence in testimony, project a particular social identity for themselves & for each other, & naturalize their discursive authority through a complex array of linguistic resources. More analytically, I propose that intertextuality in real-time conflict talk could fruitfully be studied as an explicit, blow-by-blow metapragmatic negotiation between courtroom participants, a dynamic process of framing, constraining, & appropriating one another's reported speech. 47 References. Adapted from the source document

  8. Bilingual Legal Interpreter Education

    Benmaman, Virginia

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 1, 109-114

    The dramatic growth in the number of immigrants in the US has been paralleled by all ever-increasing demand for interpreters in the courts. The 5th, 6th, & 14th amendments of the Constitution support the provision of due process & equal protection under the law for all residents. Legal interpreters are therefore needed to provide equal access to justice for linguistic minorities. However, it takes more than bilingualism to make a legal interpreter. The legal interpreter must also be able to manipulate dialect & geographic variation in his/her working languages, possess wide general knowledge, understand both the legal process & the related terminology, & also understand the various discourse styles used in the courtroom. But, despite the stringent requirements needed to perform legal interpreting, academic institutions have been slow to develop suitable programs. While a few ongoing but limited legal interpreting programs exist at the undergraduate level, the only comprehensive & graduate programs are the Master of Arts in Bilingual Legal Interpreting & the Graduate Certificate in Bilingual Legal Interpreting at the University of Charleston, South Carolina. 6 References. Adapted from the source document

  9. Interpreters' Treatment of Discourse Markers in Courtroom Questions

    Hale, Sandra

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 1, 57-82

    Discourse markers, eg, well, now, & see, are common in everyday oral communication, yet very few speakers are ever aware of their presence in their own speech. Nevertheless, even when these markers carry no propositional content, they are important in portraying a speaker's intentions & adding tone & force to their utterances. This paper describes the different uses of these discourse markers as found in lawyers' questions during examination-in-chief & cross-examination. It was found that such markers are used as devices of argumentation & confrontation, mostly initiating disagreements or challenges during cross-examination, & during examination-in-chief, as devices used to maintain control of the flow of information, & to mark progression in the story-line. Having established this, the paper goes on to describe the treatment of such markers by the court interpreter. Interpreters are required to understand the source message fully & to convert it accurately into the other language with the same illocutionary force, portraying the speaker's original intentions. It was found that interpreters predominantly omitted or mistranslated these markers. Possible reasons for such a tendency & solutions are presented. 5 Tables, 24 References. Adapted from the source document

  10. Questioning in Interpreted Testimony

    Rigney, Azucena C

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 1, 83-108

    Courtroom talk does not represent a real exchange of information between an addresser & an addressee, but a display of information for a nonspeaking participant, the jury, that has to solve a dispute based on the facts as presented during testimony. The question/answer sequence &, more specifically, the linguistic manipulation of questions is a strategic instrument of domination in the legal context, where interrogation performs different communicative functions, eg, apologizing, complaining, challenging, signaling surprise & disbelief, & ascribing blame. When questioning is done through an interpreter, attorneys lose control over witness testimony, not only because the constant switch between languages slows down the interrogation process, but also because interpreters inadvertently alter the pragmatics of questions as tools of manipulation. Using examples from the Rosa Lopez testimony during the O.J. Simpson murder trial (Los Angeles, 1995), this paper addresses the dynamics of courtroom questioning through an interpreter. 32 References. Adapted from the source document

  11. The Role of the Interpreter in the Adversarial Courtroom

    Fenton, Sabine

    Chpt in THE CRITICAL LINK: INTERPRETERS IN THE COMMUNITY: PAPERS FROM THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTERPRETING IN LEGAL, HEALTH, AND SOCIAL SERVICE SETTINGS (GENEVA PARK, CANADA, JUNE 1-4, 1995), Carr, Silvana E., Roberts, Roda, Dufour, Aideen, & Steyn, Dini [Eds], Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1997, pp 29-34

    It is contended that the duty of the New Zealand court to do justice to the involved parties is made difficult when English is not the native language of some of the participants. The duty of the interpreter to help the court meets its goals in this scenario is discussed, noting that the fictional belief that the interpreter acts as a mere conduit is damaging, since it sees the interpreter as a threat to the power of language, lawyers, & ritual. It is asserted, however, that interpreters participate freely in the courtroom through the decisions they make, & their role is likened to that of an expert witness. Legal recognition of the interpreter's true role is urged. D. Weibel

  12. The Interpreter on Trial: Pragmatics in Court Interpreting

    Hale, Sandra

    Chpt in THE CRITICAL LINK: INTERPRETERS IN THE COMMUNITY: PAPERS FROM THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTERPRETING IN LEGAL, HEALTH, AND SOCIAL SERVICE SETTINGS (GENEVA PARK, CANADA, JUNE 1-4, 1995), Carr, Silvana E., Roberts, Roda, Dufour, Aideen, & Steyn, Dini [Eds], Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1997, pp 201-211

    The work of the translator demonstrates the importance of pragmatic accuracy over semantic accuracy, & it is argued that interpreters are not always aware of the distinction & may commit errors as a result. Speech act theory, which focuses on the impact of utterances on the speaker & hearer, is considered in light of the pragmatics-semantics distinction, looking specifically at pragmatic failure in the Australian courtroom. The work of a single court interpreter, translating between the language of the defendant (Spanish) & the language of the court (Australian English), was assessed for pragmatic accuracy in this study, & it was found that achieving equivalence at the pragmatic level was her most difficult task, & that pragmatic failure could severely harm a defendant's chances in court. D. Weibel

  13. Language, Law, and Power

    Jelinch, Michelle

    Carleton Papers in Applied Language Studies, 1997, 14, 41-51

    Features & power relations of courtroom discourse are compared to those of everyday equal & symmetrical conversation; excerpts from a Texas lawsuit appeal illustrate rules of court talk. In contrast to normal conversation, courtroom interaction has little or no reciprocity; eg, the judge & lawyers control turn-taking, & witnesses are restricted to answering only the questions asked. Foreign & archaic forms can obscure proceedings to the jury & public. Potential consequences of misunderstanding necessitate a high level of explicitness; an imbalance of power results from attorneys' use of questions to avoid assumptions that would be normal in ordinary conversation. 5 References. E. Taylor

  14. On the Horns of a Dilemma: Accuracy vs Brevity in the Use of Legal Terms by Court Interpreters

    Mikkelson, Holly

    The ATA Chronicle, 1996, 25, 9, Sept, 24,26-27,29

    Bridging cultural & linguistic gaps during courtroom interpretation is considered in the development of a Spanish /American English glossary for homicide. It is suggested that the court interpreter become acquainted with terms in both languages by researching how they are used in various legal texts. Although it is preferable to use the Spanish terms from the specific country of origin of the client, interpreters are advised to choose the most universal & neutral terms possible. Delineations for different degrees of homicide in both English & Spanish are discussed, & methods for determining which terms to use, or how to create new understandable equivalents when pressed for time in the courtroom, are presented. M. Gordon

  15. Language and the Law: Linguistics to the Rescue?

    Davis, Hayley; Love, Nigel

    Language and Communication, 1996, 16, 3, July, 301-313

    A review of three books: Language and the Law (Gibbons, J. [Ed], London: Longman, 1994); R. F. Barsky's Constructing a Productive Other: Discourse Theory and the Convention Refugee Hearing (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1994); & R. W. Shuy's Language Crimes: The Use and Abuse of Language Evidence in the Courtroom (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993). Each text addresses the common theme of the operation of language in relation to juridical processes that give grounds for complaint. Gibbons' compilation of essays dichotomizes legal-linguo issues into the difficulties experienced by the linguistic particularities of written legal texts & problems in oral communication in standard forensic procedures. Although Barsky offers a discursive-theoretical analysis in reference to the application process of Canadian refugees, his argument is criticized for his application of discourse theory against a socio-political context. Whereas Shuy's text discusses the effects of language experts in courtroom settings & describes various case histories that have been influenced by his testimony as a professional linguist, his argument is based on the paradox of the inefficacy of written texts in legal proceedings as accurate reflections of utterances & the employment of these inadequate transcriptions as a database for this discussion. 4 References. J. W. Parker

  16. Lawyers' Work in the Menendez Brothers' Murder Trial

    Burns, Stacy

    Issues in Applied Linguistics, 1996, 7, 1, June, 19-32

    The interrogation of witnesses by lawyers is considered a kind of orderliness endemic to the courtroom that resides in the locally organized material of real-time interrogation practices. Videotaped TV coverage of lawyer-witness interrogations at the 1993 Erik & Lyle Menendez trial were analyzed, focusing on the lawyer's techniques for undermining witness credibility during cross-examination. Two typical scenarios involving adverse witnesses are examined: where the witness (1) claims not to recall something, & (2) claims not to understand the question being asked. Ways in which the lawyer attempts to move past this resistance are discussed. 16 References. Adapted from the source document

  17. Can Linguists Help Judges Know What They Mean? Linguistic Semantics in the Court-Room

    Goddard, Cliff

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 2, 250-272

    Ways that semantics may assist judges in establishing the ordinary meaning of words are considered, drawing on a description of the major schools of contemporary semantics. It is shown that experts in the field disagree in their basic assumptions & methods. In an analysis of a recent American survey research study (Cunningham, C. D., et al, 1994), it is demonstrated that although attractive for its seemingly empirical basis, the survey method has many shortcomings. The reductive paraphrase approach developed by Anna Wierzbicka (1995, 1996) is favored as a valuable tool for conceptual analysis in legal contexts. However, it is argued that because the field of lexical semantics is fragmented & underdeveloped, judges would be ill-advised to consider linguists as experts on word meanings. 36 References. Adapted from the source document

  18. A Different Story: Narrative versus 'Question and Answer' in Aboriginal Evidence

    Cooke, Michael

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 2, 273-288

    Drawing on one case study, an analysis of police interview & courtroom testimony of Australian Aboriginal people demonstrates the communication difficulties this group experiences when interacting via the unfamiliar question/answer communicative form. Aspects of the question/answer form, eg, asking a question & then interrupting the answer or asking obvious questions, are stimulants to heightened tension & anxiety felt by Aboriginal individuals already fearful of being in the police or courtroom context. These problems are compounded when interviews are conducted in English without the assistance of an interpreter. It is found that Aboriginal people rarely respond to questions with more than a monosyllable answer. To ameliorate these problems, it is suggested that Aboriginal people be allowed to fully explicate their stories in the manner of narratives, a communicative form with which they are more familiar & comfortable. 6 References. Adapted from the source document

  19. Replies to Negative Questions in the Courtroom

    Charles, Joel

    American Speech, 1996, 71, 1, spring, 109-111

    Affirmative replies to negative questions in the courtroom context may be construed as denoting affirmation of the entire question, whether it is positive or negative, rather than its content. Lawyers use negative questions often during cross-examination to trap witnesses into statements that they cannot later contradict. Personal experiences as an expert witness illustrate how this question form is used. Though this question type is often passed over during the trial, its effect can be far reaching, depending on how it is analyzed later in legal transcript form. It is suggested that lawyers & judges are complicitous in allowing such questions to be asked, & that, until they recognize its possible consequences, the question type is likely to remain a feature of legal double-talk. D. M. Smith

  20. The Use of Translators and Interpreters in Cases Requiring Forensic Speaker Identification

    Storey, Kate

    Chpt in TRANSLATION AND THE LAW, Morris, Marshall [Ed], Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Co, 1995, pp 131-144

    The process of tape-recorded speaker identification by a trained linguist for use in court is described. As tape recordings are increasingly being used as trial evidence, procedures for courtroom interpreting in cases with evidence identifying speakers are suggested: (1) translate & transcribe the recordings to provide an accurate account of the content & assessment of culturally determined behaviors or responses; (2) review the document with the interpreter for information on figurative language, dialect, register, nonstandard forms use, voice quality, intonation, ambiguous or vague language, & other features that might be misinterpreted, which allows the linguist to inquire into possible deletions of fillers, repetitions, & obscenities that can be relevant; (3) armed with the original recording, a transcript written in the oral language, an English transliteration, where necessary, a morpheme by morpheme gloss, & an interpreted translation in Standard English, the linguist can proceed with the identification. It is suggested that more linguists & translators be trained in this field. 7 References. J. Woods

  21. Pragmatics and Power

    Harris, Sandra

    Journal of Pragmatics, 1995, 23, 2, Feb, 117-135

    Utilizing recordings of magistrate/defendant & police suspect discourse involving 26 courtroom cases in the UK, the nature of strategic discourse in settings where participants have conflicting goals is examined. Three specific propositions are tested: (1) the asymmetrical distribution of speech acts as a mode of strategic communication prevents validity claims being raised or challenged except by institutional representatives; (2) truth comes to be defined pragmatically as what is accepted explicitly as shared knowledge; & (3) there is a need to redefine the widely used concept of communicative competence so that any challenge to authority or the right to speak is not merely labeled as inappropriate &/or incompetent language behavior. The usefulness of the work of H. P. Grice & Jurgen Habermas in relationship to strategic discourse is discussed, & a possible model for future work proposed. 48 References. Adapted from the source document

  22. Interpreting in a Cross-Cultural Cross-Examination: An Aboriginal Case Study

    Cooke, Michael

    International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 1995, 113, 99-111

    Various issues involved in cross-cultural interpretation between Anglo-Australian lawyers & Northern Territory Australian Aboriginal witnesses are discussed as they pertain to a specific case of an Aborigine killed by Australian police. Cultural differences that cause miscommunications are outlined & examples given. It is believed that the presence of an interpreter in the courtroom is not desired by the lawyers because it diminishes their linguistic power to manipulate the witnesses' answers, but the interpreter is desired by Aboriginal witnesses as they often lack the level of English proficiency to detect nuances & effectively communicate their answers. Ways in which participation by an interpreter is inhibited are discussed. 7 References. K. Valdivia

  23. Criteria for Earwitness Lineups

    Hollien, Harry; Huntley, Ruth; Kunzel, Hermann; Hollien, Patricia A

    Forensic Linguistics, 1995, 2, 2, 143-153

    Earwitness testimony has become increasingly important in courtrooms. Speaker identification, however, has been criticized for being inadequate & inaccurate, as these procedures are generally carried out by individuals who are not specially trained. In response to these problems, the International Assoc of Forensic Phonetics has begun to identify the nature & extent of issues in voice identification & establish criteria for the proper construction & use of identification procedures. The literature is reviewed on voice lineup identification & aural perceptual speaker identification, & factors limiting or supporting successful voice identification are listed. It is concluded that despite the inherent unreliability in speaker identification, there are certain steps that can be taken to make it more reliable & despite the many hazards, earwitness lineups are too important to ignore. 82 References. Adapted from the source document

  24. The Politeness of Judges: American and English Judicial Behaviour

    Kurzon, Dennis

    Journal of Pragmatics, 2001, 33, 1, Jan, 61-85

    This study takes a look at politeness phenomena in American & English judicial opinions. The initial position, based on previous research of written texts, points to an extensive use of politeness phenomena even where there is disagreement. However, the material investigated shows that American & English judicial verbal behavior differs considerably, especially among American appellate judges who do not often mitigate their criticism of colleagues on the same bench & judges in lower courts with whom they disagree. 2 Figures, 1 Appendix, 19 References. Adapted from the source document

  25. Semantic Changes in the Language of the Law

    Zevi, Tamar

    Hebrew Linguistics, 2001, 48, Jan, 55-62

    The paper describes & analyzes various cases of semantic change as used in legal language, in court verdicts & decisions, & in other academic & related papers. The instances discussed represent all types of semantic change: semantic differentiation, semantic narrowing & extension, & semantic shifts. These semantic changes are very common in the language of the law, & they play an important role in legal interpretation, which generally puts more emphasis on the purpose of the legislation than on the actual meaning of words & concepts. 10 References. Adapted from the source document

  26. Discursive Constructions of Child Sexual Abuse: Conduct, Credibility and Culpability in Trial Judgment

    MacMartin, Clare

    Dissertation Abstracts International, B: Sciences and Engineering, 2000, 61, 3, Sept, 1698-B

    A discourse-analytic approach to the adjudication of child sexual abuse cases is offered as an alternative to conventional social-science theories and methodologies. Previous research on legal decision-making has suffered from (1) its association with a realist epistemology of science, (2) the use of cognitivist deterministic explanations, (3) the use of the apparatus (language) of discrete variables, (4) its view of language as transparent and literal, (5) its failure to recognize the constructed and contested nature of legal discourse. I used discursive psychology, especially its focus on fact construction, to analyze 12 trial judgments in criminal cases involving child sexual abuse in Ontario from 1993 to 1997. Analyses identified the discursive resources used by judges to evaluate the credibility of sexual abuse allegations and of complainants and associated witnesses. Instantiation of the presumption of innocence was reflected partly in judges' orientation to the doubt-constructive properties of complainants' testimony: evidential problems were either discounted or affirmed as a warrant for doubt. Judicial evaluations demonstrated the pragmatic flexibility of discursive category use. For example, the uncertainty displayed by complainants regarding aspects of their allegations could be treated as a warrant for doubt or as an authentic reflection of victims' ignorance about sexual matters. When judges drew on stake and interest to uphold or undermine the credibility of witnesses' accounts, they typically used modalized formats that marked these constructions as conjectures. In contrast, unhedged assertions were used to affirm the reliability of the evidence upon which judges grounded their decisions. Mention of facts (treated as objective evidence) and of the law (treated as legal rules) provided dual warrants for adjudication. Judges' assessments attended not only to concerns about the facticity of evidence and accountability of witnesses, but also to judges' own accountability in constructing their decisions. I discuss the contributions of these findings (and analyses of judicial descriptions of allegations and verdict construction) to research on child sexual abuse and the law. I also address the limitations of this research and the possible ideological implications of methodological relativism and reflexive criticism associated with the study of fact construction.

  27. Unlocking the Jury Box: Structure, Leadership, and Storytelling in Jury Deliberations

    Sunwolf

    Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2000, 60, 12, June, 4249-A

  28. The Complexity of Legal English Translation and Its Meaning Incoherence in the Target Language

    Wagner, Anne

    Unesco ALSED-LSP Newsletter, 2000, 23, 1(49), June, 59-71

    The translator who attempts to render an English legal text in French must define norms & models adapted to the target language in light of two possible views of the English legal world: global & local. Inherent problems of legal translation arise from the dual nature of legal language as a repository of both juridical heritage & historical patrimony; the translator must have mastery of English & English law to grasp the concepts of the original text & mastery of French & French law to produce an acceptable French text that avoids mismatches with the original. Although some universals are transferable from language to language, legal English serves entirely different objectives from those of legal French & operates in different types of multilingual settings that are heir to a long tradition of English law. The principal aim of instruction in specialized translation is to develop translators' ability to comprehend English & French legal reasoning, the nature of the subject, & the terms used to treat it. 26 References. Adapted from the source document

  29. Intertextual Authority in Reported Speech: Production Media in the Kennedy Smith Rape Trial

    Matoesian, Greg

    Journal of Pragmatics, 2000, 32, 7, June, 879-914

    This study examines how intertextuality generates inconsistency through a special type of trial discourse. I analyze how defense attorney & witnesses co-contextualize audio-tapes of historical speech prior to inserting them in the current reporting context - a sequential & metapragmatic negotiation which frames not only the authority but the reception of reported speech during the performance of legal knowledge. My goal is to show how this communicative practice interacts with footing, affect, & linguistic ideology in the naturalization of discursive power & the production of intertextual transparency. 1 Appendix, 38 References. Adapted from the source document

  30. Increasing Lawyer Communication Competence: The Law as Practice

    Crigler, Robin Jones

    Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2000, 60, 11, May, 3842-A

    Decades of published research findings by law school faculty, communication researchers, the American Bar Association, and the Association of American law schools have focused on perceived shortcomings in the communication competence of lawyers. In this dissertation a model of discovery is used in which I describe the literature and its findings and suggest a model of learning in which communication concepts, theories, and principles are integrated into law school education. This dissertation argues that the competent practice of law, and competent communication behavior, are the same. I bring together the literature on legal education and communication competence to provide a rationale for the integration of communication theories and concepts into the existing law school classroom. Included in this dissertation is an ecological model of learning, recommended learning opportunities, a model curriculum, and recommendations for the incorporation of communication concepts, theories, and principles.

  31. The Right to Understand the Right of Silence: A Few Comments

    Kurzon, Dennis

    Forensic Linguistics, 2000, 7, 2, 244-248

    The need for a set of rights that includes the right of silence is seen in the historical context of British, American, continental, & Israeli law & in light of the needs of the police when conducting an investigation. Precedents are cited for a proposed change in the law that would ensure added checks & balances, particularly an opportunity to rethink a confession in consultation with a lawyer before signing it. Focus on linguistic analyses of the wording of official cautions, eg, the Miranda warning in the US, is suggested to be misplaced given the realities of interactions between police & suspects, as the risk of not understanding the caution remains & demands alternative methods of communication, including frequent reminders of the availability of a free lawyer. 5 References. J. Hitchcock

  32. Interpreting for the Police: Issues in Pre-Trial Phases of the Judicial Process

    Berk-Seligson, Susan

    Forensic Linguistics, 2000, 7, 2, 212-237

    During the investigative phase of the judicial process, interpreting for those who do not speak the language of the courts is often carried out either by bilingual police officers & other employees of the police department, or by relatives & friends of suspects or detainees. In any of these cases, the norms of professional court interpreting can easily be violated. A review of appellate cases coming from California, Florida, & New York reveals that when the police make use of unqualified interpreters during their investigative interviews or interrogations, frequently the Miranda rights of detainees are jeopardized. Issues of hearsay also arise in such cases. The use of ad hoc interpreters in police investigative work is questioned. 25 References. Adapted from the source document

  33. Are Laws [Still] Unreachable?

    Jermol, Ada Gruntar

    Linguistica, 2000, 40, 1, 131-150

    The high level of incomprehensibility of legal texts is demonstrated using German material, & an attempt is made to identify the root causes of their low readability. The situation type, textual function, topic development (textual cohesion & coherence), abstraction level, & grammatical & lexical properties of six types of legal writing within the legal text genre are compared, & their effect on comprehensibility is studied. It is concluded that the comprehension level of all legal texts is not so much affected by their language & style as by their abstract knowledge presentation. The incomprehensibility effect is produced not by recipients' inability to process the text's language but rather its content. The wording of the legal text presupposes too much implicit knowledge on the part of the reader, whereas the latter lacks whole chunks of the reference framework required for understanding the message. 24 References. Z. Dubiel

  34. From the Evaluation of Speaker Recognition Systems to the Questioning of Expertise in Forensic Speaker Identification

    Boe, Louis-Jean; Bimbot, Frederic; Bonastre, Jean-Francois; Dupont, Pierre

    Cahiers d'etudes et de recherches francophones: Langues, 1999, 2, 4, Dec, 270-288

    The use of voice analysis & automatic voice recognition systems in legal investigations in France is discussed. The conditions under which voice analyses are conducted during the course of a French legal investigation are described, & a statement made by the French speech community about voice identification in the case of forensic analysis is discussed. An attempt is made to define the limits & the difficulty (& impossibility) of producing a reliable statistical test for voice identification purposes, & finally, some issues are identified, which are in need of discussion by speech scientists in collaboration with policy magistrates to establish protocols in a scientific frame. 6 Figures, 2 Appendixes, 32 References. Adapted from the source document

  35. The Grammaticalization of Participant Roles in the Constitution of Expert Identity

    Matoesian, Gregory M

    Language in Society, 1999, 28, 4, Dec, 491-521

    Rather than reifying the concept of expert testimony & leaving it as an unproblematic legal argument, examined is how this institutional identity emerges in & through discursive & linguistic interaction between the prosecuting attorney & a physician (who is also the defendant) in trial cross-examination, drawing on transcripts of taped testimony. Using Erving Goffman's notion of footing, how both prosecutor & defendant mobilize direct & indirect quotes, repetitive parallelism, epistemic modality, counterfactuals, evidentiality, sequencing, & specialized tokens of the medical register to contextualize shifting into & departing from an expert identity is examined. 44 References. Adapted from the source document

  36. How Long Is Life-Long? Juridicial Definitional Semantics and Common Language Usage

    Luttermann, Karin

    Deutsche Sprache, 1999, 27, 3, 236-248

    Criticism of legal language is almost timeless. The cause of communication problems in this area appears to lie in the technical meanings of words. Law is lawyers' law: lawyers use an expression in a legal sense, but while lay people may know the literal meaning of the expression, they frequently do not know or are not sufficiently familiar with the legal meaning which is shaped by definition in laws, commentaries, & judgments. This article presents a linguistic discussion of how the expression lebenlange Freiheitsstrafe ('life sentence') is used in German criminal law & by lay people. Differences are pointed out & evaluated in an interdisciplinary framework, ie, the task for linguists & lawyers to work together toward a generally understandable legal terminology. 65 References. Adapted from the source document

  37. Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom Andrew Taslitz

    Matoesian, G

    FORENSIC LINGUISTICS; VOL 8; ISSU 1; pp. 138-142; 2001

  38. The Inference of Identity in Forensic Speaker Recognition

    Champod, Christophe; Meuwly, Didier

    Speech Communication, 2000, 31, 2-3, June, 193-203

    The aim of this paper is to investigate the ways of interpreting evidence within the field of speaker recognition. Several methods - speaker verification, speaker identification, & type I & type II errors statement - will be presented & evaluated in the light of judicial needs. It will be shown that these methods for interpreting evidence unfortunately force the scientist to adopt a role & to formulate answers that are outside his scientific province. A Bayesian interpretation framework (based on the likelihood ratio) will be proposed. It represents an adequate solution for the interpretation of the aforementioned evidence in the judicial process. It fills in the majority of the gaps of the other inference frameworks & allows likening the speaker recognition to the same logic than the other forensic identification evidences. 1 Table, 1 Figure, 54 References. Adapted from the source document

  39. Telephone Speaker Recognition amongst Members of a Close Social Network

    Foulkes, Paul; Barron, Anthony

    Forensic Linguistics, 2000, 7, 2, 180-198

    This article presents results from a speaker recognition task carried out by a close-knit network of speakers (university friends who have lived in shared accommodation with each other for two years). Ten male speakers recorded a scripted message onto an answer machine via a mobile telephone. Two foil speakers from outside the network were also recorded. Samples of between 8 & 10 seconds were extracted from all 12 recordings & used as stimuli for an open speaker recognition test performed by the network members. Listeners varied widely in their performance, & one listener failed to recognize his own voice. Some of the voices were easy to identify, but several speakers were consistently misidentified, & one speaker was particularly hard to identify. Both of the foil speakers were sometimes mistaken for network members. Auditory analysis of the voices shows, as expected, that speakers with the most distinctive regional accents & other idiosyncratic features were the most consistently identified. Acoustic analysis of F0 was also undertaken. It was found that the speakers who were most consistently identified were those with relatively high & low mean F0 values, as well as those with the widest & narrowest overall F0 range. Speakers with average pitch values & ranges in the middle of the overall group values proved harder to identify. The findings support the view that average pitch is a robust diagnostic of speaker identity, not only for forensic phoneticians, but also for naive listeners. They furthermore demonstrate that naive speaker recognition, even among members of a close-knit social network, is not a task which can be achieved infallibly. 5 Tables, 2 Figures, 27 References. Adapted from the source document

  40. Effects of Voice Disguise on Speaking Fundamental Frequency

    Kunzel, Hermann J

    Forensic Linguistics, 2000, 7, 2, 149-179

    Patterns of voice disguise in forensic cases involving speaker identification or speaker profiling may contain clues to features of the undisguised voice of a speaker. In a longitudinal & synchronous study, 100 subjects were asked to read a text on five occasions during a period of 6 months, first using their normal voices, & subsequently with two out of three modes of voice disguise: (1) raising fundamental frequency, (2) lowering fundamental frequency, & (3) denasalization by firmly pinching their nose. The focus of this investigation is on fundamental frequency (F0). Results show that most subjects were in fact able consistently to change their F0 according to the mode of disguise they had selected. However, there were differences between both sexes with regard to their preference of disguise modes as well as to the individual articulatory "strategies" which they employed to implement them. Results corroborate experience with forensic casework, ie, they show that there is a constant relation between the F0 of a speaker's natural speech behavior & the kind of disguise he or she will use in an incriminating phone call. Speakers with higher-than-average F0 tend to increase their F0 levels. This process may or may not involve register changes from modal voice to falsetto. Speakers with lower-than-average F0 prefer to disguise their voices by lowering F0 even more & often end up with permanently creaky voice. The latter trend can be observed much more clearly in males. Females are generally more reluctant to make drastic changes to their fundamental frequency patterns. 7 Tables, 14 Figures, 38 References. Adapted from the source document

  41. Fixed Linguistic Units in Ransom Notes. Empirical Analyses and Considerations on their Relevance for Forensic Text Analysis

    Stein, Stephan; Baldauf, Christa

    Zeitschrift fur Germanistische Linguistik, 2000, 28, 3, 377-403

    The notion of forensic linguistics is considered, recognizing that linguists can contribute to solving criminal cases. This applicational potential is examined in a text analysis of German ransom notes, whose phraseology & language usage patterns are studied for idiolectal properties that facilitate the profiling of the writer-perpetrator. Special attention is devoted to regularly & irregularly used phraseologisms - their variants, modifications, & errors - & letter-typical formulas & stereotypical expressions associated with the criminal world's language. The question of whether a set of fixed linguistic usages can be identified in ransom notes is addressed, distinguishing between structural, psycholinguistic, & pragmatic types of fixed linguistic units. The analysis yields ambiguous results, as some phrases & expressions are found to occur with certain regularity & predictability, but no specific language usage patterns & phraseology can be associated with the text type "ransom note." The errors, variants, & modifications in phraseologisms are interpretable as author-specific features in only very limited application to individual cases. 53 References. Z. Dubiel

  42. Long- and Short-Term within-Speaker Differences in the Formants of Australian hello

    Rose, Phil

    Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 1999, 29, 1, June, 1-31

    This paper reports the results of a forensic phonetic experiment which investigates the nature of long- & short-term within-speaker differences in the F-pattern of the word hello said by similar-sounding male speakers of Australian English (N = 6). Short-term differences are obtained from recordings separated by about 1 minute, long-term differences from recordings separated by at least a year. Within-speaker variation in the center frequencies of the first four formants at well-defined points in the word is quantified by ANOVA, Scheffe's F & Euclidean distances. Very few significant differences occur in either the long- or short-term, & they appear largely random. Both long- & short-term mean within-speaker differences are shown to be less than the corresponding mean between-speaker differences. 8 Tables, 2 Figures, 33 References. Adapted from the source document

  43. Some Observations on the Use of Probability Scales in Forensic Identification

    Broeders, A P A

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 2, 228-241

    The increasing prominence of DNA technology as an evidential tool, coupled with the growing interest in the application of Bayesian statistics that has followed in its wake, is making itself increasingly felt in many fields of forensic expertise. It has given fresh impetus to the ongoing discussion about the expression of conclusions in those areas where interpretation of the findings plays an important role, as in handwriting analysis & speaker identification. Recent casework is used to illustrate the inadequacy of some of the present scales & for areas such as writer & speaker identification a modified probability scale is advocated to replace them. The implications of the continued use of "logically incorrect" conclusions - those which address the probability of a hypothesis given the evidence rather than the probability of the evidence given a hypothesis - are examined with particular reference to handwriting & speaker identification. 23 References. Adapted from the source document

  44. On Decision Making in Forensic Casework

    Koolwaaij, Johan; Boves, Lou

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 2, 242-264

    In forensic applications of speaker recognition, it is necessary to be able to specify a confidence level for a decision that two sets of recordings have been produced by the same speaker (or by different speakers). Forensic phoneticians are sometimes criticized because they find it impossible to provide "hard" estimates of the confidence level of their expert opinions. This paper investigates to what extent the problem can be solved by deploying automatic speaker verification algorithms, to work alone or to support the work of forensic phoneticians. It is shown that, although heavily dependent on operating conditions, one of the advantages of automatic systems is that their performance is in fact measurable. A confidence measure is constructed which takes into account the past performance of the automatic system, the operating conditions, & the probative value of the speech evidence, as well as the nonspeech evidence. It is very important to note that such a confidence measure will never lead to a fully automatic procedure, since it still requires human input to weigh the nonspeech evidence as well as human explanation of the procedure followed, &, finally, human interpretation. However, when all conditions are met, this procedure is able to (1) provide an interpretative measure in the individual forensic case & (2) join together the strengths of the human interpretation of the nonspeech evidence & the automatic interpretation of the speech evidence, so that finally the joint performance of human & machine is better than the performance of one of them in isolation. 4 Tables, 7 Figures, 18 References. Adapted from the source document

  45. The Interpretation of Conventional and 'Bayesian' Verbal Scales for Expressing Expert Opinion: A Small Experiment among Jurists

    Sjerps, Marjan; Biesheuvel, Dirk B

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 2, 214-227

    The Bayesian framework is a useful logical concept which potentially applies to a large number of areas in forensic science, including speaker identification. According to this line of reasoning, the forensic expert is not in a position to draw conclusions about the probability of a hypothesis, eg, the probability that the unknown speaker on a tape recording is the suspect, unless the expert is absolutely sure. If there is any doubt, the expert can only say how likely it is for the similarities & differences between the voice on the tape & the suspect's voice to occur if the suspect is indeed the speaker on the tape & if she or he is not. The Bayesian approach also implies that conventional verbal scales for expressing probability conclusions are logically incorrect. The Netherlands Forensic Institute is therefore considering introducing an alternative scale. A small-scale experiment among jurists on the interpretation of such scales is reported. 5 Tables, 5 Figures, 10 References. Adapted from the source document

  46. Variable Robustness of Nonstandard /r/ in English: Evidence from Accent Disguise

    Lindsey, Geoff; Hirson, Allen

    Forensic Linguistics, 1999, 6, 2, 278-288

    In forensic phonetics it is valuable to identify speech features which are robust, ie, show little variability for a given speaker. This study was prompted by a case in which threatening telephone calls with apparent accent disguise exhibited standard English /r /, while the interviewed suspect exhibited /r/ pronunciations of a type traditionally described as "defective." An experiment was conducted in which subjects with standard & nonstandard /r/ read sentences in their native accent & then in imitation of a different accent exhibiting standard /r/. Acoustic analysis & auditory assessment suggest that /r/ is nonstandard if its F3 is above about 2000 Hz for men & above about 2350 Hz for women. Of 5 subjects whose native /r/ was judged nonstandard, 3 were able to produce standard /r/ in the assumed accent. The results are discussed, including the possibility that degree of native nonstandardness in /r/ may be a predictor of ability to modify it. 1 Table, 3 Figures, 12 References. Adapted from the source document

  47. Some Observations on Answers to Courtroom Questions

    Moeketsi, Rosemary H

    South African Journal of African Languages, 1999, 19, 4, 237-244

    This article is the third in a sequence of papers that investigate African Languages in forensic linguistics. The primary concern here is the linguistic involvement of the courtroom discourse participant who should provide almost all the answers in a criminal trial. This person is usually male, less eloquent, less legally equipped, less powerful, & thus less confident in his participation in the trial. Most of the time, this participant is black, uneducated, & poor, & can thus neither conduct his legal defense satisfactorily, nor can he afford a lawyer to defend him. He is normally overwhelmed by the intimidating judicial setting. This article describes how these factors affect the answers he provides to the court & then ends by assessing the content of the ultimate evidence as produced by this participant. 23 References. Adapted from the source document

  48. Differences and Distinguishability in the Acoustic Characteristics of Hello in Voices of Similar-Sounding Speakers: A Forensic Phonetic Investigation

    Rose, Phil

    Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 1999, 22, 1, 1-42

    Forensic phonetics is an important application of linguistics that has emerged as a discipline over the last decade. This paper describes a forensic phonetic experiment which investigates the nature of within- & between-speaker variation in the acoustic characteristics of the word hello in demonstrably similar-sounding voices. The nature of within-segment variation is determined in repetition of the same word said under different prosodic conditions in order to exclude as much of the linguistically determined variation as is consistent with the realities of the forensic situation, thus providing a good estimate of variation associated with speakers. Intonationally varying tokens of the naturally produced single word utterance hello from 6 adult Australian males are compared with respect to fundamental frequency & to center frequencies & bandwidths of the F-pattern below 5 kHz. This comprises the first five formants & extra resonances, including a possible singer's formant & tracheal resonance. Results show that between-speaker acoustic differences are pervasive, though not ubiquitous. Magnitudes of between-speaker differences are presented for all parameters, & their forensic significance evaluated. ANOVA & chi-square tests show that even similar-sounding voices differ significantly in their acoustics, especially center frequencies of F2-F4, formant bandwidth, & incidence of extra resonances. Simulated forensic conditions show that some of these differences are not realistically demonstrable. Nevertheless, there remain sufficient significant differences to distinguish 13 out of 15 pairs: a value of 13% for the denominator of the associated Bayesian likelihood ratio for the prosecution hypothesis. 23 Tables, 5 Figures, 35 References. Adapted from the source document

  49. Language and the Law

    Gibbons, John

    Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 1999, 19, 156-173

    A review of recent research on language & the law focuses on four areas: legal language, problems of legal communication, language legislation, & forensic linguistics. Legal language is seen as a function of the shift from oral to written language, the development of specialization, & the use of power. Technicality & coercive discourse strategies are described; relevant research trends in discourse interaction, critical discourse analysis, & speech act analysis are noted. Effects of lexico-grammatical improvements in intelligibility on lawyer-nonlawyer communication are assessed, & problems of legal interpreting are addressed. Questions of language rights & language crimes are explored, & work on the provision of linguistic evidence is summarized in the areas of phonetics, the identification of handwriting & type, word meaning, morphology & syntactic complexity, & sociolinguistic factors in voice identification. An annotated bibliography provides commentary on eight books. 86 References. J. Hitchcock

  50. The Linguistic Rights of Non-English Speaking Suspects, Witnesses, Victims and Defendants

    Storey, Kate

    Chpt in LANGUAGE LEGISLATION AND LINGUISTIC RIGHTS: SELECTED PROCEEDINGS OF THE LANGUAGE LEGISLATION AND LINGUISTIC RIGHTS CONFERENCE, THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, MARCH, 1996, Kibbee, Douglas A. [Ed], Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1998, pp 24-31

    The recognition of linguistic rights of parties involved in legal cases is discussed, based on personal experience as a forensic linguist in Australia. In the Australian context, the recognition of these rights has become pressing in several contexts: the investigation of foreign-language evidence, the interviewing of non-English-speaking suspects, witnesses & victims, & the prosecution of non-English-speaking defendants in court. Governments have been polarized in their reaction to these issues, either implementing policies to protect & preserve the national language or protecting minority language communities in fragmented ways. Australia has tended to pass incoherent policies that, while producing a burgeoning translating & interpreting industry, has also not always protected the rights of nonnative-English speakers. Laws are often written in such a way that it is possible to follow the law & still succeed in violating the rights of suspects & defendants. At other times, issues central to the protection of language rights have been ignored. The rights of police & officers of the court to carry out their duties, & the rights of translaters & interpreters, have also been ignored. D. M. Ryfe

  51. Is Forensic Speaker Identification Unethical-Or Can It Be Unethical Not to Do It?

    Braun, Anglika; Kunzel, Hermann J

    Forensic Linguistics, 1998, 5, 1, 10-21

    A case is made for forensic speaker-identification, but only if the practitioner is properly trained & carries out the task conscientiously. It could be argued (& has been argued) that it is unethical to engage in forensic speaker-identification until there is a well-established & fully automatic (ie, machine-based) approach available: phoneticians should not practice in this field at all until the subjective element of their task has been removed. Focus here is on forensic speaker-profiling & identification. The specifics of the forensic task as opposed to the commercial speaker-identification task are summarized, followed by a brief outline of the methods currently employed by forensic phoneticians. The applicability of automatic speaker-identification procedures will then be examined. Only in a small proportion of forensic cases does the material which is available from either the plaintiff or the investigating agency lend itself to the application of automatic methods. Therefore, it might seem unethical to apply these methods uncritically. However, in the vast majority of cases, other nonautomatic methods have to be pursued. It is contended that the forensic phonetician has a moral obligation to aid the course of justice within the limitations which are imposed by the quantity & quality of the speech samples in question. 24 References. Adapted from the source document

  52. The Correlation between Auditory Speech Sensitivity and Speaker Recognition Ability

    Koster, Olaf; Hess, Markus M; Schiller, Niels O; Kunzel, Hermann J

    Forensic Linguistics, 1998, 5, 1, 22-32

    In various applications of forensic phonetics the question arises as to how far aural-perceptual speaker recognition performance is reliable. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the relationship between speaker recognition results & human perception/production abilities, eg, musicality or speech sensitivity. Performance in a speaker recognition experiment & a speech sensitivity test are correlated (N = 30). The results show a moderately significant positive correlation between the two tasks. Generally, performance in the speaker recognition task was better than in the speech sensitivity test. Professionals in speech & singing yielded a more homogeneous correlation than nonexperts. Training in speech & choir-singing seems to have a positive effect on performance in speaker recognition. It may be concluded, firstly, that in cases where the reliability of voice line-up results or the credibility of a testimony have to be considered, the speech sensitivity test could be a useful indicator. Secondly, the speech sensitivity test might be integrated into the canon of possible procedures for the accreditation of forensic phoneticians. Both tests may also be used in combination. 5 Figures, 10 References. Adapted from the source document

  53. Making Texts Speak: The Work of the Forensic Linguist

    Coulthard, Malcolm

    Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 1998, 33, 117-130

    The value of linguistics expertise in forensic questions is elaborated. Forensic linguists' task is to establish what a text (often a spoken one) says, what certain text segments mean, & who the author is. Principles for determining authorship are noted & illustrated via analysis of three texts. Although forensic linguistics has yet to solidify its methodology, some text features have been accepted as useful in authorship investigations, eg, lexical density & novelty, collocation, & stylistic structures. 1 Figure, 29 References. E. Taylor

  54. Linguistics and the Law

    Hiltunen, Risto

    Anglicana Turkuensia, 1998, 16, 127-142

    Given that the social system of the law operates primarily through language, the relationships between language, law, & society are examined from a functional & theoretical perspective, & existing research on the subject is surveyed. A distinction is made between the language of the legal code (ie, the laws themselves) & that of the legal process (ie, practical application of the legal code). Lexical (eg, jargon & use of archaic terms), syntactic (eg, sentence structure & adverb placement), & discourse-related (eg, position of qualifying clauses & use of speech act phenomena) characteristics of the legal code are described; features of the language in legal proceedings (eg, embeddedness in a strictly institutional context & power issues) are discussed. Relationships with the field of forensic linguistics are indicated, & the efforts of the "plain language movement," which encourages use of simpler legal language that can be understood by laypersons, are described & placed in a historical perspective. It is concluded that the study of legal language can be conducted from many interesting perspectives. 31 References. S. Paul

  55. Language as Sole Incriminating Evidence: The Augustynek Case

    Kredens, Krzysztof; Goralewska-Lach, Grazyna

    Forensic Linguistics, 1998, 5, 2, 193-202

    This paper addresses the issue of evidence based upon speech analysis as used in criminal courts. By way of illustration, a case heard in a Polish court is described, in which the accused was found guilty of extortion effectively on the basis of linguistic evidence. References are made in the report to forensic phonetic casework & points raised regarding the methodology of forensic speaker identification. 11 References. Adapted from the source document

  56. Forensic Linguistics

    Varney, Maurice H

    English Today, 1997, 13, 4(52), Oct, 42-47

    The subdiscipline of forensic linguistics is introduced, & its techniques & applications are described. Three branches are distinguished: handwriting, phonetics & phonology, & discourse analysis. Handwriting experts are occupied with the examination of handwritten documents that may serve as evidence in criminal or civil law cases; focus is usually on determining the author or whether a document has been forged or tampered with. Phonetics & phonology experts are primarily concerned with the study & interpretation of human sounds, usually resulting in a "voiceprint" that can serve as evidence similarly to the fingerprint. Discourse analysis, the newest & most controversial area, focuses on establishing the origin of oral, written, or printed documents through stylistic, morphological, & syntactic analysis, & on establishing meanings & implications of such documents though semantic analysis. Examples of use in British jurisdiction are provided, & worldwide specialists & associations are listed. 3 Figures, 6 References. S. Paul

  57. Identifying Criminals by Their Voice: The Emerging Applied Discipline of Forensic Phonetics

    Rose, Phil

    Australian Language Matters, 1997, 5, 2, Apr-June, 6-7

    The emerging discipline of forensic phonetics is described, focusing on currently available auditory & acoustic analyses, needed developments, & the current state of Australian forensic phonetics. Auditory analysis is most successful in making voice identifications in the presence of speech defects or unusual articulation. However, such data are open to varied interpretation & are best used to make initial identifications in preparation for a more detailed analysis. Acoustic analysis using digital signal processing to quantify acoustic parameters from recorded speech is more reliable, but - unlike fingerprints - voiceprints vary considerably for a given speaker, & currently may not distinguish two different speakers. In addition, there is a lack of statistical information on the distribution of acoustic parameters in relevant populations. Needs in the field include developing parameters, indicating (1) relatively large between-speaker & (2) small within-speaker variations & providing two probabilities to develop a likelihood ratio. Currently, the Australian Forensic Speaker Identification Standards Committee is considering proposals for accreditation, blind testing, & other aspects of code of practice. B. Gadalla

  58. Ten Unanswered Language Questions about Miranda

    Shuy, Roger W

    Forensic Linguistics, 1997, 4, 2, 175-196

    Areas of needed forensic linguistic research into the use of the warnings that the police are required to give suspects about their rights as they are being arrested are suggested, using the American Miranda warnings as an example. Familiar linguistic issues arise in such warnings, including discourse sequencing, coerciveness of questions, volition, comprehension, functional equivalence, the cooperative principle, agreement, topic recycling, & intentionality. 4 References. Adapted from the source document

  59. Some General Phonetic and Forensic Aspects of Speaking Tempo

    Kunzel, Hermann J

    Forensic Linguistics, 1997, 4, 1, 48-83

    The influence of several temporal variables identified with speaking tempo (eg, syllable rate or amount of pausing, articulation rate, & % & duration of pauses) are examined in three speaking conditions regarded as typical of forensic settings: (1) semi-spontaneous interviews, (2) recordings of spontaneous conversations, & (3) readings of neutral texts used in voice line-ups. A characteristic aspect in most speaker identification cases, that of telephone recording situations, was additionally investigated. Subjects (N = 10) for experiment 1 produced speech samples for each of three conditions (spontaneous, semi-spontaneous, & readings of texts) produced under conditions of direct & telephone recording; these samples were then coded for various parameter variables. In experiment 2, a second group (N = 15) listened to the samples generated by the speakers in experiment 1 & rated them for tempo on a 5-point scale. Results indicated that the speaking condition affects speaking tempo for both production & perception. 11 Tables, 15 Figures, 39 References. Adapted from the source document

  60. The Problem of F0 and Real-Life Speaker Identification: A Case Study

    Boss, Dagmar

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 1, 155-159

    Guidelines for using voice fundamental frequency (F0) in forensic speaker identification are explored. A gas station holdup case study illustrates applications & difficulties in using F0 evidence. The monitoring camera at the crime scene produced a tape of the perpetrator's voice having a mean F0 of 228 hertz, much higher than subsequent interrogation tapes with a mean F0 of 140 hertz - although there was little doubt the suspect was the criminal. The pitch difference is attributed to stress during the robbery. Implications for using F0 evidence emphasize carefully considering factors that might influence F0 & attempting to obtain reference material under similar conditions as original recordings. 15 References. Adapted from the source document

  61. Earwitness Identification: Common Ground, Disputed Territory and Uncharted Areas

    Broeders, A P A

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 1, 3-13

    Challenges to effective speaker identification by victims & witnesses are explored. A call by the International Assoc for Forensic Phonetics to develop guidelines has prompted increased research in the area of voice lineup procedure. Use of relevant visual lineup principles & cooperation between psychologists & phoneticians is recommended. A need to examine assumptions about auditory memory is emphasized. Several practices are critically evaluated: repeated trials, blank trials, familiar vs unfamiliar voices, the use of actors, verbatim text or transcripts, & the notions of propitious heterogeneity & ecphoric similiarty. Extensive study & attention to research design are called for; the dearth of estimator-variable investigations is noted. Caution in use of earwitness evidence is stressed. 23 References. Adapted from the source document

  62. A Report on the Acoustic Effects of One Type of Disguise

    Figueiredo, Ricardo Molina de; Britto, Helena de Souza

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 1, 168-175

    The acoustic effects of speaking while grasping a pencil in the teeth, parallel to the lips, were studied. This kind of speech disguise is common in Brazilian kidnapping cases when criminals think they may be recorded. Brazilian Portuguese speakers (N = 3) with advanced phonetics training read a 150-word text both with & without a pencil held in a prescribed way between their teeth; Ss were instructed to avoid articulatory compensation. Effects on the first three formants of seven oral vowels were analyzed. The proportional alterations of the formants are detailed; all Ss showed the same tendencies in direction & magnitude. Perceptually, the most evident effect was the lowering of the high vowels. The superimposition of settings of lips, jaw, & tongue affected speech segments to differing degrees, depending on the phoneme's susceptibility. The acoustic alteration caused by this type of disguise can be misleading for forensic phoneticians, particularly when it masks clues to the speaker's dialect. 1 Figure, 7 References. Adapted from the source document

  63. Consideration of Guidelines for Earwitness Lineups

    Hollien, Harry

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 1, 14-23

    Preliminary guidelines for conducting forensic voice parades are proposed. Controversy is noted in the areas of the validity, importance, underlying assumptions, & processes of earwitness lineups. Guidelines discussed by a committee of the International Assoc for Forensic Phonetics address several topics: parity of procedure for witness(es) & suspect(s), training & supervision of personnel, record keeping, witness competence, instructions, mock tests, samples, foil talkers, recordings, presentation, feedback, & impartiality. Other issues to be resolved with little or extensive debate are noted; a particularly disputed question is whether to use single or multiple trials in a voice parade. 61 References. Adapted from the source document

  64. Integrated Approach to Speaker Recognition in Forensic Applications

    Majewski, Wojciech; Basztura, Czeslaw

    Forensic Linguistics, 1996, 3, 1, 50-64

    The use of three parallel approaches to forensic speaker identification is proposed. Two methods are subjective: aural-perceptual comparison of speech samples & visual comparison of pattern sets including spectrograms & other signal analysis procedures. The third method, automatic speaker recognition, can compare utterances using many parameters, eg, spectra, cepstrum, linear predictive coding, fundamental frequency, formant frequencies, zero crossing rates, & temporal features. An extortion case is outlined, where researchers from the Technical U of Wroclaw, Poland, applied multistage techniques to evidence provided by the police. Data consisted of recordings of six telephone calls (of which three were not very useful because of poor quality) & reference material recorded by four suspects & a control speaker. The various analyses were performed on selected key utterances; the automatic processing focused on the vowels /a/ & /o/. Despite the facts that two suspects disguised their voices & three were members of one family, the conclusions matched those of the police, who used other evidence. 5 Tables, 6 Figures, 16 References. Adapted from the source document