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ANTIEAU

A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF RESPONSES TO INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS IN THE COURTROOM

Lamont Antieau

In a previous study, I examined the use of indirect speech acts in the courtroom and found significant differences in their distribution with respect to such variables as the the type of examination and the sex of the attorney. The present paper studies the effect that indirectness has on witnesses by examining the testimony style elicited by indirect speech acts, then testing these linguistic differences against such social variables as the sex and courtroom status of witnesses. The corpus of the study comprises transcripts from the trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing.

Lamont Antieau
University of Georgia
Mailing Address: University of Georgia Park Hall Athens GA30602 United States of America
Email: Antieau@arches.uga.edu
Tel: + 1 706 613 2296
Fax: + 1 706 542 2897

BEAUDOIN

SYSTEMIC AND LINGUISTIC SPECIFICITIES OF LEGAL LANGUAGE(S)

Louis Beaudoin

In bilingual coun tries like Canada, bijuralism and official bilingualism represent considerable challenges for lawyers. How does one translate common-law concepts into French when they have evolved over the centuries in English? The Anglophone lawyer in Quebec, coping with a Code directly inspired by the Napoleonic Code confronts a similar issue. This raises the question of the specific nature of the legal vernacular. In other words, must the common law be expressed only in English, and the civil law only in French? Are legal systems inextricably linked to the language in which they were conceived? Law is not an exact science. It is entirely dependent on discourse and hence words. This paper explores some of the issues associated with the coexistence of different legal systems and different languages in the Canadian courts. More particularly, this paper examines some of the linguistic and legal constraints imposed on the formulation of the law. An area of study is that of coocurrents - or word combinations - in Legal French and English. The ambiguities created by the faulty usage of prepositions is also examined.

Louis Beaudoin
Jurilinguist and Legal Translator
Mailing Address: 95 Bellevue Street, suite 1012 Sherbrooke, Québec CANADA J1J 3Z2
E-mail: trans_clef@videotron.ca
Tel: + 1 819 820 0220
Fax: + 1 819 820 2332

BERK-SELIGSON

THE ELICITATION OF A CONFESSION: CONFESSION TO MURDER BUT NOT TO ATTEMPTED RAPE

Susan Berk-Seligson

The interrogation of an eighteen-year old Mexican man in a California police station, just hours after the discovery of a young woman's semi-nude body behind some bushes next to a subway station, ultimately led to the conviction of the suspect on two charges: first-degree murder and attempted rape. The police interrogators had ample forensic evidence linking the suspect to the murder victim: the close proximity of the suspect to the scene of the crime at the time of his arrest, and blood on his clothing matching that of the victim. Over the course of three interrogation sessions, the suspect confessed to having stabbed the victim. However, he denied that he had attempted to rape her. This paper analyzes the verbal tactics employed by the police to elicit both the murder confession and a confession to attempted rape. It demonstrates how the interrogators tried to implicate the suspect in both crimes, and how he acquiesced to the charge of murder, but steadfastly resisted any implication of sexual wrongdoing. The interrogation was considered to have been coercive: the murder conviction was reversed on appeal as a result of the failure of the interrogating officers to uphold the suspect's Miranda rights. The analysis is based upon the original audio-recordings of the interrogations, together with the corresponding transcripts produced by the trial court. Following the work of other scholars who have analyzed interrogations related to crimes involving sexual violence, this study shows (1) how a confession to guilt emerges gradually, over a succession of turns and (2) how resistance to implications of guilt also evolve over sequences of question/answer pairs.

Susan Berk-Seligson
University of Pittsburgh
Mailing Address: Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures and Department of Linguistics 1309 Cathedral of Learning University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15260 United States of America
Email: sberksel@pitt.edu
Tel: + 1 412 624 5245
Fax: + 1 412 682 7377

BLACKWELL

TAG QUESTIONS IN THE COURTROOM

Susan Blackwell

Walker (1999:49) claims that "because in effect they allow the questioner to do the testifying, tag questions of all forms are the weapon of choice in cross examination". However, the term "tag question" has never been satisfactorily defined, despite a considerable body of literature having been generated by Lakoff's claims about gendered usage of this form (Lakoff 1973) and subsequent attempts to refute her. This paper will attempt to provide a clear and exhaustive definition of tag questions in English. O'Barr and Atkins (1980), in particular, questioned Lakoff's claim that the features she identified in "Language and Woman's Place" were primarily gender-based, and suggested that the phenomenon which she described as "women's language" would be better termed "powerless language" since they found the features in male as well as female speech. This is of considerable interest to those researching in Language and Law, since their data came from the courtroom. Unfortunately, although O'Barr and Atkins analysed the usage of a range of linguistic features which Lakoff had identified as characteristically female, they specifically omitted any examination of tag questions, claiming that TQs, along with joking, were "features which the specific context of the courtroom rendered inappropriate" (O'Barr and Atkins 1980:96). This paper contends that they formed this opinion because they confined their study to the speech of witnesses and neglected the language of the lawyers. Moreover, it is argued that once one examines data from examination and cross-examination it becomes apparent that Walker is right: the epithet "weapon" is highly appropriate. Tag questions, far from being a feature of powerless language, are used by lawyers to enhance their already considerable power over witnesses - as Lakoff herself was well aware (Lakoff 1986). The implications of this will be discussed. References Lakoff, R., 1973, "Language and woman's place". In Language in Society vol. 2, pp. 45-80. (Reprinted in R. Lakoff, Language and Woman's place. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.) Lakoff, R., 1986, "My Life in Court", in Georgetown University Round Table, vol. 85, pp. 171-179. Shortly to be reprinted in In Her Own Words by Oxford University Press. O'Barr, W. and Atkins, B., 1980, "'Women's language' or 'Powerless Language'?", in McConnell-Ginet, S., Borker, R. and Furman, N. (ed.s), Women and Language in Literature and Society. Praeger. Walker, A.G., 1999, Handbook on questioning children: A Linguistic Perspective. 2nd edition. Washington DC: American Bar Association.

Susan Blackwell
The University of Birmingham
Mailing Address: Department of English The University of Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
Email: s.a.blackwell@bham.ac.uk
Tel: + 44 121 414 3219
Fax: + 44 121 414 5668

BUTTERS

GENERICNESS IN LEXICOGRAPHY, GENERAL LINGUISTICS, AND AMERICAN TRADEMARK LAW

Ronald R. Butters

This paper examines the intersecting ways in which linguists and the American legal system employ the term GENERIC. In concluding the putatively GENERIC status of a brand name, forensic linguists are wise to follow traditional lexicographical methodology, but they are cautioned to be mindful of the reliability of the data the they select and the necessity for contextual clarification. For example, one might find the term ALKA-SELTZER used frequently in internet chat-rooms to refer seemingly to any kind of effervescent antacid pain reliever (and not clearly specifically and exclusively to the products of the particular corporation that has proprietary rights to the term ALKA-SELTZER). Such data should not be taken as very strong evidence that typical speakers of American English view ALKA-SELTZER as GENERIC rather than as a brand name. Especially in casual usage, speakers often simply employ recognized brand names as short hand (i.e., synecdochally). In general, the more formal the data the more reliable it is for determining what speakers really believe about genericness. Moreover, more formal media generally furnish more extensive context by which the intent of speakers can be inductively determined by conventional methods of discourse analysis.

Ronald R. Butters
Duke University
Mailing Address: Duke University English Department 314, Allen Building, Durham NC 27708-0015 United States of America
Email: RonButters@aol.com
Tel: + 1 919 681 7610
Fax: + 1 919 684 4871

CHASKI

A VALIDATED METHODOLOGY FOR AUTHORSHIP ATTRIBUTION OF WRITTEN DOCUMENTS BASED ON LINGUISTIC FEATURES

Carole Chaski

Previous experimental research has demonstrated that many language-based techniques for determining authorship are not reliable in that they do not correctly assign documents to their actual authors (Chaski 1998; 2000; 2001). A few techniques grounded in linguistics, however, do show reliable results (Chaski 1998; 2000; 2001). These techniques are syntactic analysis and syntactically-classified punctuation analysis. In this talk, I explain the procedures for applying these techniques. First, the underlying principles from psycholinguistics, head-driven syntactic analysis and markedness theory are presented. Second, the stepwise procedures are presented and explained. The first step is the parsing of each document. ALIAS (Chaski 1998) is computer software that is useful to expediting this step. The second step is the sorting and counting of the head patterns in the parse. Again, ALIAS is helpful in expediting this step. The third step is statistical analysis of the frequency counts from the known documents in order to test for internal consistency. Internal consistency patterns are discussed because these can predict and/or explain the comparative patterns and also establish subcategories of known documents. The fourth step is statistical analysis of the frequency counts in order to compare the internally-consistent known documents and the questioned documents. Typical patterns of these statistical results are discussed to demonstrate the decision-making process which derives from the statistical results. If time allows, both experimental and casework examples will be given.

Carole E. Chaski
Institute for Linguistic Evidence, Inc.
Mailing Address: Institute for Linguistic Evidence, Inc. Route 3, Box 166-M Georgetown, DE 19947-9311 United States of America
Email: CChaski@aol.com; cchaski@outland.dtcc.edu
Tel: +1 302 856 9488
Fax: +1 302 856 0973

DAVID

THE FUNCTIONS OF CODE SWITCHING AND CODE SHIFTING IN MALAYSIAN COURTS

Maya Khemlani David

This paper will discuss the choice of languages, Malay and English in the Malaysian courtroom. Code switching -the use of more than one language in an utterance and code shifting i.e. moving from one code to another has many functional uses in a Malaysian courtroom. These functions will be discussed by analysing language choices and their functions in an important recent court trial - the Anwar (the ex-Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia ).

Maya Khemlani David
University of Malaya
Mailing Address: Faculty of Languages and Linguistics University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Email:
Tel: +
Fax:+

EADES

COURTROOM LANGUAGE AS A WEAPON IN THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS AND THE STATE

Diana Eades

Sociolegal scholars are providing increasing evidence that the legal process is failing to deliver justice. Conley and O'Barr (1998) call on sociolinguists to use microlinguistic analysis to shed light on just how this failure is happening. In responding to this call, this study analyzes the cross-examination of three young teenage Australian Aboriginal boys. The boys alleged that they had been abducted by six police officers, so they were prosecution witnesses in the case against the police officers. The analysis exposes details of how language is used in the courtroom as a successful weapon in a major situational, institutional and societal power struggle between the state and Aboriginal Australians. The study uses a critical interactional sociolinguistics approach to analyze the 'power in the discourse' (at the levels of lexicon, grammar, prosody, discourse structure and pragmatics) in the context of the 'power behind the discourse' (following Fairclough 1989), which involves an examination of the 200-year struggle between the Aboriginal community and the police force. Much of this struggle has centered around police control of the movement of Aboriginal people. Central to this control are: 1) the removal of Aboriginal kids from their families for over a century, until the 1970s, and 2) the current over-policing and resulting criminalization of Aboriginal kids, resulting in indigenous kids being 41 times more likely to be in juveline correctional institutions than non-indigenous kids, and 26 times more likely to be in police custody. The study examines the linguistic strategies used by the two cross-examining lawyers to manipulate the evidence of the three boys, resulting in the construction of these victim-witnesses as criminals with 'no regard for the community', and their ride with the police officers as 'a perfectly lawful thing' of 'allowing a person to give up his liberty'. This paper focuses on the lawyers' particularly effective exploitation of the Aboriginal tendency to use "gratuitous concurrence" - that is, freely saying 'yes' in answer to questions regardless of whether or not the speaker actually agrees with the proposition. Not only is courtroom cross-examination the ideal context for gratuitous concurrence, but it appeared to be particularly exploited in this case. A number of factors relating to the use of gratutious concurrence should have cautioned against a literal interpretation of the boys' answers of 'Yes' in cross-examination: but no such caution was exercised, and indeed their evidence was misinterpreted in order to promote the view that the boys gave their consent to the actions of the police in taking them for a ride. This consideration of the boys' apparent 'consent' leads to a discussion of the state's exercise of 'power by consent' (in Fairclough's terms). Central to this consent has been the farcical use of unreliable and problematic linguistic practices and assumptions, which enabled the state to confirm that it is OK for police to treat Aboriginal kids like this. Conley, John, and William O'Barr (1998). Just words: Law, language and power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Fairclough, Norman 1989 Language and Power London: Longman.

Diana Eades
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Mailing Address: Department of English as a Second Language University of Hawaii at Manoa 1890 East-West Road, Honolulu HI 96822 United States of America
Email: eades@hawaii.edu
Tel: + 1 808 956 3242

FITZGERALD

THE UNABOM INVESTIGATION - THE ROLE FORENSIC LINGUISTICS PLAYED IN THE ARREST AND PROSECUTION OF THEORDORE KACZYNSKI.

James R. Fitzgerald

The UNABOM (so called because the early targets were UNiversities and Airlines) investigation began in 1978 with the first of 16 bombings in which 3 ultimately people died, several suffered disfiguring injuries, and at least 200 were almost killed if a bomb aboard an airliner had detonated properly. After numerous bombings, the subject who came to be known as the UNABOMBER began mailing letters anonymously to the New York Times (NYT) and others in an attempt to explain who he was, why he was bombing, and in many ways to taunt law enforcement. His last mailing to the NYT was his now infamous 35,000 word "Manifesto," in which he railed about the evils of modern society, the industrial revolution, computers, psychologists/psychiatrists, etc. He insisted that it be published in full by the NYT, or he would continue his bombing campaign. I was asked to enter the case shortly after the receipt of the Manifesto in July of 1995. I began analyzing the content of the written documents (14 in all) which had been provided by this up-to-now elusive serial bomber. I found some very interesting behavioral characteristics which related to his writings, and I felt that I knew him very well. However, as of early 1996, the UNABOMBER was still unidentified, and it was possible that he would soon bomb again. Then, the first real break in the investigation occurred when a man named David Kaczynski called the FBI and stated that he felt that it was his brother who may be the UNABOMBER. At first, this call was treated as one of the other 2,500 suspect-related calls which were received by the UNABOMB Task Force (located in San Francisco, CA) . However, David provided a document which was written by his brother Ted Kaczynski in 1972. I was asked to read it, and upon conducting a detailed analysis of the writing style, theme, topic areas, and stylistics contained therin, I concluded that this document and the 14 UNABOMB documents were written by the same author. At that point the investigation kicked into high gear and the race was on to establish the probable cause to arrest Ted Kaczynski, who was living in a remote cabin on a hillside in Lincoln, Montana. His brother and mother both provided almost 200 other letters and documents known to be written by Ted. In San Francisco, I assembled a team of FBI Agents and Analysts, and the "Comparative Analysis Project" began. Eventually, it was my 50 page report, exihibiting the unique and idiosyncratic writing style of Ted Kaczynski and the UNABOMBER, which led the reader, and most importantly the Federal Judge, to conclude that the authors of both sets of documents were one and the same. Kaczynski was arrested in April of 1996 and pleaded guilty to the crimes two years later. As this is now a closed case, I have put together a two-hour, multi-media presentation which I have given dozens of times, both in the US and internationally. As a precursor to my (hopefully, later this year) published account of same in the J of FL, I would be honored to give this presentation in Malta to my fellow associates of the IAFL.

James Fitzgerald
FBI Academy
Mailing Address: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Behavioral Analysis Unit, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA United States of America
Email: jrfitzgerald@fbiacademy.edu
Tel: + 1 703 632 4327
Fax:+ 1 703 632 4336

FLEMING

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY THAT?": RAPE NARRATIVES IN COURTROOM DISCOURSE

Caroline Fleming

As William O'Barr (1982) indicates, witnesses' credibility on the stand is often affected by linguistic factors unrelated to the content of the testimony. O'Barr's distinction between narrative versus fragmented testimony, together with his reworking of Lakoff's (1975) distinction between powerful versus powerless speech, is manifest in the testimony of the victim in a 1995 rape trial. Analysis shows a mixture of powerful speech and fragmented narratives; powerful speech appears more credible than fragmented responses in jury perception. Socioideological dimensions of rape narratives (Matoesian 1993) are considered as well, as both State and defense attorneys treat (or fail to treat) the rape itself. Indeed, the way these lawyers examine the witness reveals a linguistic avoidance of the topic that reflects larger legal and social assumptions about the crime and, as indicated by O'Barr and Conley (1998), reinforces patterns of male "domination and control" (37) that are found both in the courtroom and out. References Lakoff, Robin. (1975). Language and Woman's Place. New York: Harper & Row. Matoesian, Gregory. (1993). Reproducing Rape: Domination through Talk in the Courtroom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. O'Barr, William. (1982). Linguistic Evidence: Language, Power, and Strategy in the Courtroom. New York: Academic Press. O'Barr, William, and John Conley. (1998). Just Words: Law, Language, and Power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Caroline Fleming
North Carolina State University
Mailing Address: North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Email: cbflemin@unity.ncsu.edu

GIBBONS

LEGAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN SPANISH.

John Gibbons

There is a small literature on the transformations that occur in transcripts in legal English (Eades, 1996; Walker, 1990), but little on what happens in languages other than English, which would allow us to judge the particularities and differences of legal English or other languages. This is particularly important in Roman/ Continental law systems, which rely in their decision making largely upon written transcripts of oral evidence. This study examines the linguistic consequences of the transcription process, based upon Spanish language tape recordings of oral submissions, and the written 'declaraciones' (statements) that emerge, made in criminal courts in Chile and Mexico. It is hoped that this analysis will reveal: - characteristics of legal Spanish - shifts from spoken to written, from informal to formal, from everyday to technical - any changes, misrepresentations, or omissions that emerge from these shifts. References Eades, D. (1996). Verbatim courtroom transcripts and discourse analysis. In H. Kniffka, S. Blackwell, & M. Coulthard (Eds.), Recent Developments in Forensic Linguistics (pp. 241-254). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Walker, A. G. (1990). Language at work in the law: The customs, conventions, and appellate consequences of court reporting. In J. Levi & A. G. Walker (Eds.), Language in the Judicial Process (pp. 203-244). New York: Plenum.

John Gibbons
University of Sidney
Mailing Address: Department of Linguistics University of Sydney NSU 2006 Australia
Email: john.gibbons@linguistics.usyd.edu.au
Tel: + 612 9351 7515
Fax:+ 612 9351 7572

GRANT

REVIEWING AND REVISING STYLOMETRIC AUTHORSHIP ATTRIBUTION FOR USE IN A FORENSIC CONTEXT

Timothy Grant

A critical review of stylometry developing from the work of Augustus de Morgan (1882) to recent complex statistical analyses of linguistic features (E.g. Forsyth & Holmes, 1996) suggests that its promise of usefulness in forensic authorship attribution may be premature. Methodologically, most stylometric studies are seen to combine simultaneously tests of hypothesised markers of authorship and statistical methods of analysis, with the examination of disputed texts. Systematic testing of stylometric methods on texts of known authorship is necessary to demonstrate the validity and reliability of methods, before their application to disputed material becomes acceptable. Such testing results in a proposed stylometric battery useful and safe for forensic use.

Timothy Grant
De Montfort University
Mailing Address: Department of Psychology, De Montfort University, Leicester, LE7 9SU United Kingdom
Email: TDGrant@dmu.ac.uk
Tel: + 44 116 255 1551
Fax:+ 44 116 257 7708

GREBLER

INNOCENT PEOPLE, INCRIMINATING TEXTS: PRODUCING AND RESISTING BLAME

Gillian Grebler

In this paper I look at a series of documents that make false claims and tell false stories, and upon the basis of which people were blamed and sometimes convicted for something they did not do: a doctor's history' of an anxious child, an allegation of child abuse, a confession to a crime. I look at the making of these texts and the people and circumstances surrounding their production. I ask how and why these stories got made, what happened when there was a struggle over their production, and the extent to which they were believed and why. In recent years we have learned a great deal about false allegations and false confessions. Our continuing challenge is to convey both to legal professionals and the lay public, the ease with which a false but incriminatory statement gets made, the ability of these disputed, uncorroborated, incriminatory narratives to make an innocent person seem guilty, and the need to analyse these texts with scepticism and care.

Gillian Grebler
Email: ggrebler@gte.net

HEYDON

ESTABLISHING THE STRUCTURE OF POLICE EVIDENTIARY INTERVIEWS WITH SUSPECTS.

Georgina Heydon

The negotiation of movement between the various parts of a police evidentiary interview by the participants provides a rich source of data for analysts concerned with linguistic behaviour and police interview practice. Such research will be greatly enhanced by a description of the structure of police interviews which aligns the institutionally defined (functional) parts of the interview with a linguistic description meaningful to the analysis of talk in interaction. This paper attempts to provide such a description for 'non-controversial' police interviews with suspects from rural Australia. It is found that, in particular, the shift from the formal introductory part of the interview to the information seeking part of the interview is marked by participants with an attempt to realign the participant roles (Goffman 1974) to a participation framework which will best facilitate the confessional narrative of the suspect. However this realignment is itself problematised by some police participants as, through their negotiation of the shift, they must routinely maintain their authoritative role. References: Goffman, E (1974) Frame analysis: an essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Georgina Heydon
Monash University
Mailing Address: Linguistics Department, Monash University, Australia.
Email: Georgina.Heydon@arts.monash.edu.au
Tel: + 613 9866 3006
Fax:+ 613 9905 2294

HILL

LINGUISTIC CONSTRAINTS ON THE CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NORMS

Claire A. Hill

Norms have recently become a popular topic among academics. Much attention is paid to how norms develop, whether 'efficient' norms are likely to develop, and how purposive norm-creation is carried out. The latter topic is increasingly studied using an analogy with business: those purposively creating norms are called 'norm entrepreneurs.' What the literature ignores, however, is what I will call a 'linguistic' constraint on new norms. Philosophy of language traditionally divides meaning into two parts: the 'intension', or sense, and the 'extension,' or referent. For instance, consider the word 'green.' Its intension is the idea of green, or the property of being green. Its extension is all green things. Norms can be seen as new 'extensions' of existing concepts. The concept might be 'socially acceptable behavior' or 'socially required behavior' or 'socially undesirable behavior.' Or some subset thereof - 'accepted behavior of a business partner;' 'accepted behavior of a corporate director or officer.' Or 'high status' or 'cool' or 'nerdy' or 'decadent.' The relevant community must perceive a new extension (that is, norm) to be encompassed by the same intension as the old extensions are - thus, the linguistic constraint. Part of the norm entrepreneur's task, then, may be to influence the community's perceptions. For some proposed norms, the task may be much easier than it is for others. Norms are not usually thought of in this way, but doing so seems correct and, I will argue, illuminating. An important role the government plays is as norm-entrepreneur. Its ability to carry out this role successfully is much enhanced by the fullest possible understanding of the endeavor, including any applicable constraints.

Claire A. Hill
Northwestern University School of Law
Mailing Address: Northwestern University School of Law 317 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago Illinois 60611 United States of America
Email: c-hill3@law.northwestern.edu
Tel: + 1 312 503 3227
Fax:+ 1 312 503 5950

JACOBS

IDEOLOGY IN THE LANGUAGE OF JUDGES

Beth Browning Jacobs

This paper analyses ways in which ideologies of judges are made manifest in the language of courtroom discourse and influence its outcomes. In theory, appellate courts make law while lower courts only enact law. This forms the justification, in many states, for electing higher court judges - because their political views will clearly be involved in law-making - but appointing lower court judges. Using discourse analysis, pragmatics, and in some cases syntactic analysis, I analyze discourse segments from a lower court and from the language of a supreme court decision. Comparing the two shows that both language samples are permeated by the ideologies of the judges, even though lower court judges, in particular, deny this. This raises the larger question: is an ideology-free language of law impossible?

Beth Browning Jacobs
University of Illinois at Chicago
Mailing Address: University of Illinois at Chicago M/C 162, Department of English 601 S. Morgan Street University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL 60607 United States of America
E-mail: bjacob4@uic.edu
Tel: + 1 312 413 7625

KREDENS

INVESTIGATING IDIOLECTAL VARIATION: TOWARDS A METHODOLOGY OF FORENSIC AUTHORSHIP ATTRIBUTION

Krzysztof Kredens

The issue of a forensic linguistic methodology for cases of questioned authorship is a sensitive one. On the one hand, the status of linguistic evidence on authorship would doubtless be greatly enhanced, if there existed a universal set of procedures for establishing and demonstrating the fact that the speech habits of individuals are unique. On the other hand, the forensic linguist works ad casum, which means that a procedure they find appropriate in one case need not be so in another. Further, having been developed mostly for literary studies, auspicious methods of authorship attribution invariably assume large amounts of language data. Moreover, by their very nature, they are applicable to written rather than spoken language, whereas it is the latter that, being less subject to conscious control, seems to offer more when it comes to establishing authorship. This paper addresses the problem of speaker identification universals, i.e. idiolectal elements assumed to surface in the speech of an individual irrespective of the social and physical setting of an interaction as well as the biological and social characteristics of the interactants. It looks at the differentiating potential of a number of linguistic units at lexical, grammatical and syntactic level as these occur in two homogenous corpora of just over 3000 words each. The corpora have been compiled for a comparative study carried out with the intention of establishing the degree of idiolectal variation between two speakers of the same biological and social characteristics and performing in similar social settings. With the assumption being that the findings apply in a broader context, relevant implications are considered for the tenability of a universal methodological framework for forensic authorship attribution.

Krzysztof Kredens
The University of Lodz
Mailing Address: Department of English Language University of Lodz Al. Kosciuszki 65, 90-514 Lodz Poland
Email: kkred@krysia.uni.lodz.pl
Tel: + 48 42 650 91832
Fax:+ 48 42 636 6337

KURZON

PRAGMATIC PROBLEMS IN THE ANALYSIS OF DEFAMATION

Dennis Kurzon

The act of defamation may on the surface be considered an act of communication that is subject to linguistic analysis, since it is, in 99% of the cases, speech in se. However, because of legal constraints, a linguistic-pragmatic analysis of defamation faces problems in every direction. The paper looks at certain pragmatic features of acts of communication which normally contribute to the interpretation of a speech act, but in cases of defamation, do not function in the same way as in other discourses. Examples include the identity of the actual addressee of an alleged defamatory statement, who is not regarded as the addressee by the court, which sets up, instead, the concept of the notional reader; the lack of attention paid to the speaker's intention; and at times the elimination of any concern with the semantic content of an alleged defamatory statement.

Dennis Kurzon
Haifa University
Mailing Address: English Department, Haifa University Israel 31905
Email: kurzon@research.haifa.il
Tel: + 972 4 89 40532
Fax:+ 972 4 82 49711

MILLER

IF YOU CAN'T RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS, DON'T CRY TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

Katherine Jessica Miller

During the summer of 1995 two companies, Husqvarna and Fortune Dogs, Inc., engaged in a series of letters concerning alleged trademark infringement of the phrase, "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch." The primary points of dissention were: which company first used the phrase, which company (if either) created the phrase, and whether or not evidence exists of consumers confusing the two companies. This paper will explore these claims by examining colloquial uses of this phrase in newspapers and other sources, uses of this phrase as slang and as a proverb, and the legal concept of likelihood of confusion. The key issue in this disagreement, and the final focus of this paper, is identification of source: whether or not people identify this phrase with a particular company. Katherine

Jessica Miller
Duke University
Mailing Address: Duke University Box 98274 Durham NC 27708 USA
Email: kjm7@duke.edu

VAN NAERSSEN

NOT CAUGHT WITH THE GOODS, BUT INTENT TO COMMIT? Margaret van Naerssen "Did the defendant act knowingly and with intent to defraud?" Intentionality involves the defendant's state of mind. Ultimate facts may be established by circumstantial evidence, based on a person's outward manifestations, including words. Three non-native English speakers (one Arab and two Korean) were allegedly involved in telecommunications fraud. One was arrested , agreed to become a confidential informant (CI), wear a telephonic wire, record subsequent interactions, and persuade the others to engage in a new illegal activity: sell a machine that clones cell phone numbers onto other phones. One was caught delivering the goods. Both were arrested. The one who delivered the machine was released on bail and jumped bail, leaving the other one in jail. This study is about the one who was NOT caught with the goods. The defendant was all the government had left of the original operation. Was there enough evidence then to convict him of conspiracy to commit fraud? The evidence was complicated by several factors. The three had another on-going business activities: a legal beeper repair business. Two or three may also have been involved in the illegal business of cloning phone numbers. In addition, the defendant was the least proficient English speaker, and the transcripts supporting the taped evidence were substantially inaccurate or problematic in a number of ways. The key features of conversational analysis used were: conversation initiation, topic initiation, and the functions of the responses to the machine topics initiated by the CI. The results of the analyses confirmed that the CI was trying to get the other two to sell him a machine, rather than the two others trying to persuade the CI to buy a phone clone machine. Of the 17 taped conversations, 82% were initiated by the CI or were a response to the CI's request to call. Nine relevant and useable conversations were identified for further analyses, focusing on the CI and the defendant's interactions. Again, the results confirmed that the CI was trying to get them to sell a machine, not the reverse. Of the 57 topic initiations about the machine, 94.7% were initiated by the CI. The responses by the defendant were then analyzed according to function. Setting aside responses (32) with functions not directly relevant to the machine, 60 responses were examined. Of these, 90% represented resistance of some form to becoming involved in the sale of a machine. The three topic initiations and the six responses reflecting some form of cooperation by the defendant left the defendant vulnerable to conspiracy charges in spite of their occurrence in contexts of constant badgering (pressing). Furthermore, the court restrictions placed on the expert witness regarding classification of data, made it difficult to provide a context reflecting the probable resistance. The case is introduced using simple diagrams and excerpts from jury instructions regarding intention and conspiracy. Simple graphs and charts are used to summarize the findings. Several sample conversation sequences illustrate the pressing and the points of vulnerability.

Margaret van Naerssen
University of Pennsylvania
Mailing Address: English Language Programs & Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania 21, Bennett Hall, 34th & Walnut Streets, Philadephia PA 19104 United States of America
Email: mvnaerss@sas.upenn.edu
Tel: + 1 215 898 5126
Fax: +1 215 898 2684

NTSHANGASE

LANGUAGE POLICY IN SOUTH AFRICAN COURTS

Dumisani Ntshangase

South Africa has eleven official languages. One of the key challenges posed by this policy is its implementation and interpretation. The eleven languages include languages whose status if uneven and hence the power associated with the various languages reflects the attitudes and status of these languages. Nowhere is this policy problematic than in the courts. Through a series of questions this paper will explore the meaning and practicability of this policy within the criminal courts. It is the intention of this paper to contribute towards a study of language rights generally. Two main questions will be explored, viz. Can {Should} South African courts function in languages other than English? What are the roles of an investigator, presiding officer and interpreter in a constitutional multilingual courtroom? There are several challenges as a result of this policy and this paper will shed light on current developments in South Africa as well as implications of the current developments both in criminal investigation as well as in prosecution.

Dumisani Ntshangase
University of the Witwatersrand

OKAWARA

A SCHEMA MODEL OF JUDGES IN TRADEMARK DISPUTES

Mami Hiraike Okawara

In trademark disputes Japanese courts have considered the recent trend towards diversification in large business as the main factor in their decisions. As a result, the use of a well-known trademark is considered an act of unfair competition due to a possible linkage to the well-known group. However, there are 'odd' rulings in which general consumers would not see any associations between two drastically different businesses in such cases as Snack Bar Chanel, Love Hotel Chanel, Disney Sex Shop, but courts have acknowledged a likelihood of confusion between these businesses. In this presentation I will analyze trademark disputes from a prototype view and will propose a schema model of judges regarding their rulings. Japanese courts have based their rulings on all the possible associations to the diversified management policy step by step. In 'normal' trademark disputes both general consumers and courts agree on the likelihood of confusion, while in 'odd' cases only courts are confused by their use of the step by step association. The purpose of the paper is to indicate that judges have an independent schema model based on association affected by their porfessional environment and that the categorization produced by the schema model ('odd' rulings) is situated on the outside of basic-level categorization ('normal' rulings)of trademark disputes.

Mami Hiraike Okawara
Takasaki City University of Economics
Mailing Address: Takasaki City University of Economics, 1300 Kaminamie, Takasaki, Gunma 370-0801 Japan Email: mamihoka@tcue.ac.jp
Tel: +81 27 344 7510
Fax:+81 27 343 4830

QUARESMA et al.

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE BASES WITH LINGUISTIC RESOURCES FROM LEGAL TEXT DATABASES

Paulo Quaresma, Irene Pimenta Rodrigues, Teresa Almeida, Elsa Garcia

We present some aspects of an intelligent interface for a web law information retrieval system that is able to cooperatively interact in natural language with the users helping them in their searches. The function of our intelligent interface is to help a user defining his goal. In order to accomplish this purpose our system uses: the user interventions, they provide information on user intentions; and knowledge extracted from text database, this knowledge is obtained from different ways using the same sources (documents) and domain rules in a knowledge base. The text database is composed by the set of documents produced by the Portuguese Attorney General since 1940. The domain rules includes knowledge about specific laws and a taxonomy of legal concepts constructed by our partner the Portuguese Attorney General Office, which has more than 6000 concepts.

Paulo Quaresma and Irene Pimenta Rodrigues
Universidade de Evora Mailing address: Departamento de Informatica, Universidade de Evora, Portugal
Email: pq@di.uevora.pt ipr@di.uevora.pt
Teresa Almeida, Elsa Garcia
Procuradoria General da Republica, Lisboa, Portugal
Email: talmeida@pgr.pt egarcia@pgr.pt

ROCK

'THEIR OWN WORDS WHERE POSSIBLE': LANGUAGE AND THE EVOLUTION OF STATEMENT-TAKING PROCEDURES

Frances Rock

Witnesses are crucial to many crime investigations because they may offer elusive and exclusive insights into who did what to whom, when, where and with what intent. However, Anglo-Welsh witness statements are usually recorded only in writing, by interviewers who may adapt, adopt or exclude the witness' words. In view of recent criticism, British police forces are scrutinising methods of statement-taking and this paper examines one response, the use of audio- and video-recording. The paper begins by overviewing potential shortcomings of the current system of statement-taking. It then considers the future of linguistic examinations of statements using data drawn from four witness' accounts of a murder and the resulting statements which were taken using new methods.

Frances Rock
The University of Birmingham
Mailing Address: Department of English The University of Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
Email: f.e.rock@bham.ac.uk
Tel: + 44 121 456 3129

RODMAN

LINGUISTICS AND THE LAW (HOW KNOWLEDGE OF, OR IGNORANCE OF, ELEMENTARY LINGUISTICS MAY AFFECT THE DISPENSING OF JUSTICE)

Robert D. Rodman

It is axiomatic among forensic linguists that law professionals should be aware of the role language plays in judicial matters. In my presentation I offer examples of the role that *linguistics* - the science of language - plays in judicial proceedings. An actual case history is presented to emphasize the points. I will offer a concrete example of where technical knowledge (or lack of same) of the following linguistic concepts was instrumental in the dispensing of justice: Dialects, foreign "accents," critical age hypothesis, linguist versus polyglot, language translation, language interpretation, sound change (as part of historical linguistics), code-switching, styles or registers. The paper is drawn from my experience as a witness in the trial of a Haitian male convicted of dealing cocaine. The verdict was based in part on a recording of the drug deal. Although the drug dealer on the tape spoke a dialect of American Black English, and the defendant speaks English with a Creole accent, the State persuaded the jury that the Haitian disguised his voice by purposefully dropping his accent!! His ability to perform this feat was attributed to the fact that he had been an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Haiti. The jury was further convinced that being an interpreter implied being a linguist; that being a linguist implied an understanding of sound change (yes, historical sound change!); and that knowing sound change implied that one could disguise one's voice, in particular, by dropping one's foreign accent.

Robert D. Rodman
North Carolina State University
Mailing Address: Department of Computer Science Box 8206 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-8206 United States of America
Email: rodman@csc.ncsu.edu
Tel: + 1 919 515 7480
Fax:+ 1 919 783 8674

RUSSELL

A NON-PERSON'S PERSONA: TWO SOURCES OF INTERPRETER INTERFERENCE IN POLICE INTERVIEWS WITH SUSPECTS

Sonia Russell

This paper takes current research on the "interpreter-effect" away from the trial and back upstream to its source, the interview with suspect. Through audio-taped data from interpreted interviews, it uses conversation analytic techniques to focus on two subtle, but pervasive, causes of interpreters' divergence from the source 'text'. First, the effect of perceived social imposition is discussed, where the interpreter perceives utterances as aberrant to the interview genre or as socially or culturally impermissible and departs from the 'original' accordingly. Second, the paper examines some instances where the interpreter's contextual knowledge (both internal and external to the interview), results in alteration either of the pragmatic force of utterances or, which is more serious, of material facts in the interview.

Sonia Russell
Aston University
Mailing Address: 8, Harold Street Dover Kent CT16 1SF, United Kingdom
Email: sonia.russell@ruselk.fsnet.co.uk
Tel: +44 1304 207693
Fax: +44 1304 205089

SAGGION AND PASTRA

THE LANGUAGE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME

Horacio Saggion and Ekaterini Pastra

The Scene of the Crime has long been investigated in the literature (Buckwalter, 1984; Fisher, 1992; White, 1998; FBI, 1999; Baldwin, 2000); nevertheless, the language used by scene of crime officers to describe crime scenes has not been thoroughly examined. In this paper, we will present on-going work on the analysis of this special language in terms of both its morphosyntactic and semantic features. In order to do that, a collection of formal reports produced by scene of crime officers has been studied. The reports provide, among other things, information on the offence, the scene of the crime, the physical evidence and the photographs / sketches taken to document the scene. This information is revealed through descriptive, concise and mostly unambiguous expressions; it is the accuracy and objectivity obtained this way, that is vital for the whole criminal investigation process. The long term objective of our research is to develop an information extraction system that will automatically identify key information in the scene of crime reports and it will form the basis for more advanced tasks, such as automatic report generation. This system will form part of SOCIS, a joint research project involving the University of Sheffield and the University of Surrey.

Horacio Saggion and Ekaterini Pastra
Un
iversity of Sheffield
Mailing Address: Department of Computer Science University of Sheffield 211, Portobello Street, Sheffield S1 4DP United Kingdom
Email: h.saggion@dcs.shef.ac.uk e.pastra@dcs.shef.ac.uk
Tel: +44 114 222 1945
Fax: +44 114 222 1810

SOLAN

THE LINGUIST AS LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANT

Lawrence M. Solan

In this paper I will discuss ways in which advances lexical semantics and the psychology of conceptualization can lead to more thoughtful decisions about how to make laws. Most battles over the interpretation of statutes are about the scopes and meanings of words: For example, should a clergyman's work count as "labor?" In arguing about word meaning, legal thinkers typically think in terms of definitions. If we can determine the underlying elements of "labor," we can substitute the definition for the word itself, and determine whether the defendant has met the definitional criteria. The problem with this approach to legal thinking is that the issue is often not a matter of definition. Rather, the issue is a matter of whether the events in the case have strayed too far from the prototypical use of the word to make it unfair to apply the statute. I will argue in this paper that we can often enough predict in advance what kinds of interpretive problems will arise, and write legislation that gives reasoned guidance to interpreters. I will distinguish among rules, standards, prototypes and enriched mental models as legislative styles. I will illustrate this approach with examples from mental health law.

Lawrence M. Solan
Brooklyn Law School
Mailing Address: Brooklyn Law School 250 Joralemon Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
Email: lsolan@pcm.brooklaw.edu
Tel: + 1 718 780 0357
Fax:+ 1 718 780 0394

STERN

INTERPRETING AT THE INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA IN THE LIGHT OF OTHER INTERNATIONAL LEGAL/COURT INTERPRETING PRACTICES

Ludmila Stern

When the Australian War Crimes Prosecutions had to resort to a large number of overseas witnesses in the late 1980s-early 1990s, the Australian legal system was confronted with a number of unexpected linguistic and cross-cultural problems which became particularly damaging during the court hearings. These problems occurred despite Australia's long-term experience at court interpreting and revealed the inability of Australian courts to deal effectively with non-English speaking witnesses. Now that the International Tribunal (The Hague) has been investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and conducting trials, it has been confronted with similar issues, for example, dealing with witnesses who originate from a social, legal, cultural and linguistic environment strikingly different from that of the lawyers and judges dealing with the trials. The current paper shall examine some of the linguistic and cross-cultural practices adopted by the Hague International Tribunal and discuss ways in which potential problems have been successfully dealt with. This paper shall argue that the interpreting practices in the Hague International Tribunal can be applied in part or in whole to improve the existing legal/court interpreting system throughout the world.

Ludmila Stern
The University of New South Wales,
Mailing Address: School of Modern Language Studies, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052 Australia Email: l.stern@unsw.edu.au
Tel: +612 9385 2382
Fax:+612 9385 1190

THOMPSON

"POWERFUL/LESS" LANGUAGE IN COURT IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM - STILL WORTH CONSIDERING?

Joanna Kerr Thompson

William O'Barr's work "Linguistic Evidence" (1982) is still widely cited as evidencing, most notably, that "powerless" language used by witnesses in court adversely influences juror evaluations of their credibility (Tiersma 1999, Gibbons 1994, Levi 1990).This paper will critically re-appraise O'Barr's methodological design and query his claims regarding the impact of certain modes of witness verbal behaviour. The paper will further suggest that in order to create a more established future role for forensic linguists as "advisers" to justice system professionals and participants, the "duty of care" owed by linguists to their "clients" must be more rigorously defined.

Joanna Kerr Thompson
Free University Berlin/University of Edinburgh
Mailing Address: Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin. Germany
Email: joanna.thompson@mail.sprachlabor.fu-berlin.de
Tel :+49 30 2472 4572

TIERSMA

WHAT IS A LEGAL TEXT?

Peter Tiersma

Much of the work of lawyers consists of the production or interpretation of various sorts of legal texts. Although there is a large variety of such texts, I will oncentrate here on those that the legal profession considers authoritative or operative, in the sense that they create or modify a legal relation, institution, or state of affairs. In linguistic terms we might consider such texts to be performative. Examples include contracts, wills, deeds, orders, pleadings, and statutes. In Anglo-Saxon England most legal acts were performed orally. Wills were made in oral declarations before witnesses, for example, and land could be transferred in an oral ceremony accompanied by the symbolic transfer of a clod of dirt. Over time, however, scribes began to maintain written records of such acts. At this early stage it was still the oral act that was considered authoritative, not the written text. Only later, through the operation of the Statute of Wills and the Statute of Frauds, did the creation of a written text become the operative act. The "writtenness" of legal texts varies somewhat depending on the genre. Many contracts are enforceable even though they are entirely oral. Wills and statutes, on the other hand, must be entirely in writing. Not surprisingly, there are relatively elaborate rules relating to the creation and modification of quintessentially written texts like wills. Moreover, through the operation of the parol evidence rule, only properly executed text is part of the will; anything that is said by the testator or that is written by him but not properly executed is outside the text. Nonetheless, the notion of "text" may be relatively abstract. A will, for instance, consists not only the document traditionally labeled "last will and testament," but also written text that is "integrated" into the will or incorporated by reference. Moreover, although the law of wills requires the creation of a written text, it does not require the text to be extant in order to carry out its provisions. The written nature of authoritative legal texts accounts, at least in part, for the fact that they contain much higher levels of "legalese" than other types of legal language. The language of lawyers is often described as being full of relatively formal, difficult, and sometimes archaic terminology, long and complex sentences, and a relatively high level of nominal and passive constructions. All of these features are generally associated with written, as opposed to oral, language. The distinct attributes of oral and written language are hardly absolute, of course. But it is noteworthy that the varieties of legal language that contain the most legalese are authoritative written texts, while other legal language is much more like standard English. Because often only properly executed text "counts" from a legal perspective, legal documents tend to be drafted and interpreted differently than ordinary speech. Lawyers who draft authoritative legal text are at least intuitively aware that the document may be read by someone far in the future. The reader may have little idea of the circumstances surrounding the drafting or the goal of the writer. Consequently, the drafter will attempt to create a relatively autonomous document by placing all communicative intentions into the text itself. This is, of course, quite different from face-to-face oral interaction, where a hearer can use many nonverbal cues to determine the speaker's intent. The reader of an autonomous text will generally assume that the drafter was relatively successful in placing all her intentions into the text, and will therefore interpret the text as containing all the drafter's intentions. This at least partially explains the development of the plain meaning rule, which requires that unless there is a clear ambiguity, judges must determine the meaning of a statute or contract based on the "plain meaning" of the words contained in the document. It is interesting to note that during the past century, written language has become more like speech. Moreover, technology is rapidly changing our conception of text. Not surprisingly, these changes in the nature of written text have been accompanied by attacks on legalese, the plain meaning rule, and the formalities required for the creation of authoritative texts. Although the legal profession is likely to resist, it seems highly likely that the notion of legal text will change dramatically in the coming decades.

Peter Tiersma
Loyola Law School
Mailing Address: Loyola Law School 919 S. Albany Street Los Angeles, CA 90015 United States of America Email: Peter.Tiersma@lls.edu
Tel: + 1 805 968 6644
Fax:+ 1 805 968 2205

VARNEY

THE INTERPRETATION OF BODY LANGUAGE IN A FORENSIC CONTEXT.

The recent case of Regina v Juliet Peters, involving telephone stalking, death threats, etc., featured an apparent motive that the victim, the chart-topping pop star, Billie Piper, had given the defendant "a sly, dirty look ". This paper will examine the possibility of body language being cited by both prosecution and defence in criminal and civil cases, the types of expertise needed by a forensic linguist called upon to give expert testimony and the complications caused by cross-cultural variations in the meaning and interpretations of different acts of body language. Some audience-participation may be requested.

Maurice H.Varney
Emeritus Professor of English
Mailing Address "Foxhollow" 15, Crumpsbrook, Cleobury Mortimer, Kidderminster, DY 14 OHP United Kingdom
Email: Mhv890@aol.com
Tel: + 44 1584 890 463
Fax: +44 1584 890 463

WU et al.

LANGUAGE AND LAW IN CHINA: FOCUSES, RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT


Dechun Wang, Jianyun Jiang, Jie Wang, Mei-zhen Liao, Jingyi Peng, and Weiping Wu

In spite of the breadth and depth in studies related to language and the law by scholars in the People's Republic of China, we failed to find presentations and discussions in all the IAFL conferences so far. This symposia brings together some of the key players in this field from China to give us a glimpse of what's going on within this vast country with an ideology that differs from most parts of the world. Among the topics covered are retrospect and prospect (Wang and Jiang) in the study of language and law within China, with special reference to language in the legislation and the judiciary process; an in-depth analysis of the Chinese mediation system (Wang and Liao), including its unique role in civil disputes, the language used by mediators and the cultural factors behind the mediation; as well as a discussion on the current focuses and problems particular to the Chinese context (Peng and Wu), such as the difficulties involved in research in criminal law cases.

Dechun Wang and Jianyun Jiang
Shanghai University Law School
Mailing Address: Shanghai University Law School Qing Song Highway Bridge #11 Qingpu Shanghai China
Email: sacipl@online.sh.cn
Fax: +86 021 89207886
Jie Wang and Mei-zhen Liao Jingyi Peng and Weiping Wu
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Mailing Address: Chinese Language Center The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
Email: wpp@cuhk.edu.hk
Tel: + 852 260 96726
Fax:+ 852 260 35004

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORENSIC LINGUISTS

Fifth Biennial Conference
"Forensic Linguistics Ten Years On - what future?"

30 June - 2 July 2001
Malta

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