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IAFL launch new website (and draft Code of Practice)

IAFL launch new website (and draft Code of Practice) | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
The purpose of the IAFL is to improve the administration of the legal systems throughout the world by means of a better understanding of the interaction between language and the law.
Tim Grant's insight:

The Internationl Association of Forensic Linguists have today launched their new website - which looks slick and professional to me!

 

More importantant than the looks they are also launching a consultation on a Code of Practice.  See http://www.iafl.org/news.php

 

I've been on the drafting committee for this so it's good to see it out there and I'm interested in what responses we'll get.  Please don't send any response to me though; email Ron Butters (ronbutters@mac.com) using the Subject line "CODE OF PRACTICE FEEDBACK".

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Malicious Communications: from Moves to Genres

Malicious Communications: from Moves to Genres | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Tim Grant's insight:

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago our MA Forensic Linguistics students have been carrying out some practical projects in forensic linguistics as part of their course.  The previous group was looking at transcription conventions for police interview (which you can read about here: http://sco.lt/94FDG5 )

 

A second group has been examining the question of whether malicious communications fall into a number of identifiable sub-genre.  At CFL we’ve been developing a database of malicious communication, which currently contains about 200 threatening, and abusive letters.  Our database should be ready to go live online at the end of the summer  (watch this space!). 

 

The difficulty with the idea of a genre of malicious communication is that most theories of genre suggest that specific genres arise out of specific communities of practice, and it is of course tricky to identify a community approach in most malicious communications.   The students thus took a random set of about 40 of the letters and analyzed the letters to identify common ‘moves’ across the texts.  (For information on moves theory see e.g. Henry and Roseberry, 2001).  Then with a bit of help they carried out a statistical cluster analysis to discover that the letters fall into four groups that they call “Professional threat”, “Personal / unprofessional threat”,  “Abuse with clear justification”, and “Abuse without clear justification.” 

 

Thus far they’ve produced the accompanying poster presentation but we are looking to develop a more formal paper.

 

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CFL Masters students devise a linguistic transcription system for police investigative interviews.

CFL Masters students devise a linguistic transcription system for police investigative interviews. | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Forensic linguistics courses, research and expert evidence in cases of disputed authorship and contested meanings.
Tim Grant's insight:

A group of our students on the Aston MA Forensic Linguistics have been engaged in a project looking at the process of transcription for recorded police investigative interviews as carried out in the UK.

 

On the "Practical Applications in Forensic Linguistics" module  the graduate students have to produce a product which is useful to the justice system. We'll blog here about the outcomes of the other students' projects over the next few weeks. 

 

For this group, on the basis of their research around the processes by which Records of The Interviews are produced and on the basis their reading on transcription conventions from conversation analysis, the students have come up with their own system of transcription.  This is a simplified transcription convention from the linguistic perspective but is more sophisticated than current police practice. 

 

Just before Easter the group were invited to discuss their system with Greater Manchester Police .  They have blogged about their visit on our CFL site and they also have put their system on their own website here:

http://www.keytranscriptionsystem.co.uk/

 

Well done to Fiona, Lauren, Emily, Annie and Gaby!

 

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Lingua Digitalis's curator insight, April 14, 12:45 PM

Well done to my discourse analysis postgrads! 

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Forensic linguistics expert testimony in Russian 'hate speech' cases.

Forensic linguistics expert testimony in Russian 'hate speech' cases. | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Forensic
linguistics plays a significant role in Russia’s regulation of hate speech. The
subjective nature of such expert advice increasingly muddies its central
position within the Russian legal system.  
Tim Grant's insight:

This is a fascinating article about an area of forensic linguistics which is little discussed. 

 

The number of issues about method and ethics and subjectitivty clearly carry beyond the Russian context.

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Do your e-mails, texts and tweets reveal clues to your identity?

Do your e-mails, texts and tweets reveal clues to your identity? | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
We leave a trail of linguistic fingerprints, but as potential evidence to a crime, is it reliable?
Tim Grant's insight:

I've just posted this comment on the jiscmail.ac.uk forensic-linguistics mailing list and thought it deserved a re-posting here:

 

The article seems to focus on author *identification*.  I personally am very sceptical about claims for author identification and much prefer the term 'authorship analysis'.  When I appear as 'expert' in a jury trial I believe strongly that it is not my job to tell a jury that an individual has written a particular text or not.  In many case circumstances this would be to usurp the job of the jury and decide guilt or innocence.  Rather, given a case where there is a sufficiently comparable set of known texts, and then an anonymous or queried text, I believe a linguist can assist the Court by placing before a jury an analysis that demonstrates points of consistency and inconsistency between the known and the queried.  Where there are points of consistency, the next step should be to help the jury weigh the importance of this evidence by describing how distinctive such features are either against other potential authors in the case, or against a relevant population corpus.  Linguistic insight and understanding is required in explaining the degrees of consistency and distinctiveness in terms of other variables such as genre, accommodation etc..   There is a striking line in the article by a Law Professor in the piece who says "it's just a matter of time "until they get the wrong person and are proved wrong by DNA." "  If your authorship analysis is diligent and you are accurate in your observations, there is no sense in which you can 'get the wrong person'. This is because 'identifying persons' wasn't what you were trying to do.   You are describing language and comparing and contrasting texts for features of consistency and distinctiveness.  If a different individual wrote the piece, the evidence of degrees of consistency and distinctiveness can still stand.  The explanation of them is different. Incidentally, this approach has also stood appeal in the UK Courts in a case where Malcolm Coulthard assisted in a conviction concerning the analysis of text messages.  The Criminal Court of Appeal commented on  Malcolm's evidence that  the disputed txt messages were consistent with the defendant's writing (and elsewhere inconsistent with the victim's).  The Appeal Judgement is detailed, and worth study by anyone in the field, but one line reads that  "The judge reminded the jury in terms that the expert was not saying that in his opinion the applicant had written the texts, merely that he could have done, as could a number of other people. [Hodgson, D. v [2009] EWCA Crim (31 March 2009) - para 62]"  It is (partly) because Malcolm's method led to his appropriately cautious opinion that the case stood.  An attempt at authorship identification may have fallen at appeal.

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Event: Computer-mediated communication and discourse research. 13th March, Aston University

Event: Computer-mediated communication and discourse research. 13th March, Aston University | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
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All welcome!

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MPs talk twaddle about 'internet asbos'

MPs talk twaddle about 'internet asbos' | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
People who post racial hatred on social media should be treated like sex offenders and served with “internet asbos” banning them social networking sites and preventing them from hiding behind fake identities, a group of MPs alarmed by rising anti-semitism have proposed.
Tim Grant's insight:

Online abuse, racial hatred, anti-semitism or pretty much anything else can be declared antisocial behaviour and be subject to an ASBO - no change in the law necessary.

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Talk: Assuming identities online – tracking and tracing the multiple linguistic identities of online paedophiles | The FORGE

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A talk I'm giving 17th February at Lancaster University...

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Presumed guilty? An 'easy read' guide to justice finds presumption of innocence hard to express.

Presumed guilty? An 'easy read' guide to justice finds presumption of innocence hard to express. | Language, society and law | Scoop.it

Ancient principle of justice seems to have been forgotten in guide for people facing criminal cases

Tim Grant's insight:

It's never easy to write an 'easy read' anything but this does seem to be a spectacular failure. The cynical might read more into this - perhaps the Ministry of Justice have lost sight of the presumption of innocence?

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Communication in Investigative and Legal Contexts - available for preorder now!

Communication in Forensic Contexts provides in–depth coverage of the complex area of communication in forensic situations. Drawing on expertise from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement worldwide, the text bridges the gap between these fields in a definitive guide to best practice.

Offers best practice for understanding and improving communication in forensic contexts, including interviewing of victims, witnesses and suspects, discourse in courtrooms, and discourse via interpretersBridges the knowledge gaps between forensic psychology, forensic linguistics and law enforcement, with chapters written by teams bringing together expertise from each fieldPublished in collaboration with the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group, dedicated to furthering evidence–based practice and practice–based research amongst researchers and practitionersInternational, cross–disciplinary team includes contributors from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and from psychology, linguistics and forensic practice

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Available this summer and already discounted on Amazon! - (also available through your independent bookshop!!)

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Taia Global Linguists Establish Nationality of Sony Hackers as Russian, not Korean | Taia Global, Inc.

Taia Global Linguists Establish Nationality of Sony Hackers as Russian, not Korean | Taia Global, Inc. | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Identifying at-risk digital assets by mining the world's R&D
Tim Grant's insight:

Break's over and perhaps the big story over Christmas was Shlomo Argamon identifying a Russian language influence in the communiques from the Sony Hackers. 

 

Shlomo is a good friend of CFL and further analyses may be on there way - so watch this space!

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Slang in Court - Your honour, this is bare hard to understand.

Slang in Court - Your honour, this is bare hard to understand. | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
The four youths appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court after being accused of driving around their neighbourhood in Dagenham, east London, firing at people's houses with an air rifle.
Tim Grant's insight:

Krzysztof Kredens just sent this one to me.

 

As regular readers will know I occasionally go to Court to provide slang translations.  From the media article I can't spot any errors but I wonder if it was the police or the lawyer or someone else who provided the 'translations'...

 

 

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IAFL12 Conference Guangzhou, China from 6 to 9 July 2015 - deadline extension.

International Association of Forensic Linguists

12th BIENNIAL CONFERENCE

 

SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS - EXTENSION

 

Deadline for abstract submission extended to 31 December 2014

 

The International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) and the Organizing Committee of IAFL12 warmly invite submissions for the 12th biennial conference, 

to be hosted by Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), Guangzhou, China from 6 to 9 July 2015. At the request of members, the deadline 

for abstract submission has been extended to 31 December 2014. 

 

Conference website: http://www.iafl12.org

Contact email: iafl12@gdufs.edu.cn

 

Travel Awards for Postgraduate Students: IAFL offers three travel awards for postgraduate students. Each award provides up to $1000 in 

support of travel and the waiving of registration fees. Information about the awards and the application process can be found under “Scholarships” at

the conference website.

 

The conference offers a forum for presentations on all aspects of forensic linguistics and language and law, including but not limited to the following:

 

Language and the Legal Process

    * Interviews with vulnerable witnesses in the legal system

    * Communicative challenges of vulnerable witnesses

    * Investigative interviewing

    * Language testing of asylum seekers

    * Police interviews and police language

    * Pragmatics of police interrogations

    * Bilingual courtrooms and second language issues within the legal system

    * Courtroom interpreting and translating

    * Courtroom interaction

    * Language addressed to judge and jury in common law courtrooms

 

Language as Evidence

    * Authorship analysis, attribution and plagiarism

    * Forensic phonetics

    * Forensic speaker identification and voice comparison

    * Deception and fraud

    * Forensic stylistics

    * Prison language

 

    * Forensic transcription

    * Trademark disputes

    * Consumer product warnings

 

Language, Crime and Law

    * The language of legislation

    * Comprehensibility, analysis, and interpretation of legal texts

    * Language and disadvantage before the law

    * Language minorities and the legal system

    * Language rights

    * Legal discourse and legal genres

    * Multilingual matters in legal contexts

    * Discourse analysis of legal resources

    * History of legal languages

 

Research and Teaching

    * Research into the practice, improvement, and ethics of expert testimony 

    * Presentation of linguistic evidence; the linguist as expert witness 

    * Legal interpreting and translation

    * The teaching/testing of forensic linguistics/language and law

    * Language education for law professionals

 

Computational Applications of Forensic Linguistics

    * Computer corpora of statements, confessions, suicide notes, police

    * Computational author identification or profiling

    * Multimodal approaches to forensic linguistics

 

INDIVIDUAL PAPERS are invited for presentations of 20 minutes, with a further 10 minutes allowed for questions and answers. POSTERS are invited for 

presentation during the poster session. Posters should be of A0 size (841mm x 1189mm) in portrait orientation. To submit an abstract for an individual paper or poster, 

please visit “Online Submission” at the conference website. COLLOQUIA, scheduled for 2-hour blocks, with a maximum of two linked sessions. Colloquium organisers should allocate time for presentations, discussion and audience response. Organisers serve as the liaison between participants and conference organisers. Proposals should be 300-350 words long, with an indication of participants and a brief description of their contribution. 

 

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Rate of speech evidence in Plebgate libel trial

Click here to edit the title

Tim Grant's insight:

Prof Peter French - of University of York has been in touch.  He  and Mark Liberman of Language Log  fame  both testified at the Plebgate trial.  Mark's account is here (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=16003 ) and contains plenty of background to the case.

 

My Scoopit link above goes to the judgement (paras 98-124 consider the phonetic evidence).

 

The point at issue was whether there was enough time for Andrew Mitchell to utter the phrase...

 

"Best you learn your fucking place – you don’t run this fucking government – you’re fucking plebs" 

 

... to a Police Officer at the gates of Downing Street.

 

Based on their analysis the judge concluded - 'Yes'

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Jim Fitzgerald talks forensic linguistics on US TV show Crimetime

Staging suicides is far from perfect to get away with murder, as we discuss fake suicides that were successfully debunked to convict the murderers responsibl...
Tim Grant's insight:

Jim continues to raise the media profile of forensic linguistics with his second appearence on this show.

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Forensic Linguistics on US radio's The Diane Rehm Show

Forensic Linguistics on US radio's The Diane Rehm Show | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Emails, texts and tweets may be changing how we solve crimes: Word choice, spelling and punctuation can all serve as virtual fingerprints. A look at how technology is changing criminal linguistic evidence in court.
Tim Grant's insight:

US Radio show featuring Natalie Schilling, Jim Fitzgerald and Larry Solan discussing forensic linguistics

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Mihaela Patrascu's curator insight, April 3, 11:36 AM

Linguistics as virtual fingerprints

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Language Log » SCOTUS: A fish is not a "tangible object"

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A fantastic legal definition case from Language log...

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Baal Annual Meeting at Aston second call for papers now out...

Baal Annual Meeting at Aston second call for papers now out... | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Baal Annual Meeting at Aston University
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BAAL Aston - second call for papers now out...

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Valentine’s Day message from a forensic linguist: Falling out of love needn’t mean falling into hate

Valentine’s Day message from a forensic linguist: Falling out of love needn’t mean falling into hate | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Tim Grant's insight:

Valentine’s day and the weeks following can be a boom-time for a jobbing forensic linguist.  Last year in the week following Valentine’s I received four case enquiries from individuals who had received abuse, threatening and even hate-filled cards and messages.  Each of these cases (which I generally don’t take!) resolved to an ex-partner.

 

Some of these messages are truly threatening and very upsetting and require action.  Others are mildly amusing.  One of my favourite Valentines* abused the recipient as being a “Fat bearded twat!”  - I’m still trying to encourage one of my students to write a paper on the use of “bearded” as a term of abuse or an intensifier of abuse. 

 

But here’s the point. Unless He had grown the beard in response to the breakup, or in a futile attempt at anonymity, She, had until fairly recently, loved that beard.  I’m allowing my romantic imagination to run away with me here but She had presumably fancied the beard from across a crowded room, plucked up courage to engage the beard in conversation, had a first kiss with that beard, and finally grown familiar and fallen in love with all its hirsute greatness.  Now the beardedness has made it to the top three of the most hated aspects of the ex-love. 

 

So here’s my message to all you ex-lovers  and Valentine haters out there: You loved each  other once.  You don’t now.  It hurts so cry a little, drink too much, eat too much chocolate and then, whatever they did to you, leave it alone.  The opposite of falling in love needn’t be falling into hate.  Other options include never seeing the person again (and never bothering them again) or even friendship and a different sort of relationship.

 

Writing an abusive Valentine’s message isn’t going to make you feel better and may get you into trouble.   

 

I’m busy and don’t need the work.

 

Love is all you need.

 

------

 

*not from my wife!

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Twitter boss admits trolling failure

Twitter boss admits trolling failure | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
In a memo to staff, leaked to the Verge, Twitter boss Dick Costolo takes personal responsibility for dealing with trolling.
Tim Grant's insight:

Yup!

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Targets missed in Translation: Who's really to blame? -

Targets missed in Translation: Who's really to blame? - | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
The Courts Minister calls it a significant improvement whilst the Law Society deems it to be shocking. These are two polar opposite views about the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that show the outsourcing of courtroom interpreting to a single supplier has consistently fallen short of hitting its 98% performance target but Read More
Tim Grant's insight:

This from the Today Translations' blog reflecting on the missed targets by Capita in their MoJ contract to provide interpreting srvices to the Courts.

 

I've been posting on the failures of this system for several years now and where we've got to, as illustrated by Todays' post was entirely predictable. 

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Jim Fitzgerald analyses a murder case letter on the US TV show Crimetime

The Jodi Arias trial and letters and email she sent to Travis Alexander and his family are analyzed with Forensic Linguistics Expert and Former FBI Profiler ...
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Jim doing his stuff getting airtime on Crimetime.

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Anything you write can and will be used against you. Talk: 21st Jan - Skeptics in the Pub, Coventry

Anything you write can and will be used against you. Talk: 21st Jan - Skeptics in the Pub, Coventry | Language, society and law | Scoop.it

Tim Grant will discuss the potential and limits of forensic linguistics to provide evidence to the Courts. He will look at how one forensic linguist identified the wrong woman as sex-blogger Belle de Jour and how another correctly identified JK Rowling as the author of "The Casual Vacancy." He will also explain why both analyses would provide bad evidence for the Courts. Using some case examples he will also discuss what sort of linguistic evidence could and should be admitted in Court and whether forensic linguistics is in any sense a forensic science.

Tim Grant's insight:

Here's a talk I'm giving on the 21st January, in a Pub in Coventry - if you're local do come along....  

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Dominic Watt's curator insight, January 9, 8:05 AM

This would be well worth attending if you're within striking distance of the West Midlands...

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LSS Research Seminar - Tim Grant Assuming identities online – tracking and tracing the multiple linguistic identities of online paedophiles

LSS Research Seminar - Tim Grant Assuming identities online – tracking and tracing the multiple linguistic identities of online paedophiles | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
10 Dec Prof Tim Grant
Tim Grant's insight:

If you're fairly local to Aston and available this week - this is a public seminar series and all are welcome.

 

The seminar is Weds (10th December) Room: MB257, Time: 4.30-5.30.


 

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Canadian forensic voice comparison controversy

National Newswatch is Canada's Balanced News Aggregator
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I've not too much time to consider this just now but it is possible of course that Morrison's criticisms are valid and that  Primeau came up with the correct answer...

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Amazon tradmark case - "Kindle" vs "Kindle entertainment"

Amazon tradmark case - "Kindle" vs "Kindle entertainment" | Language, society and law | Scoop.it
Tim Grant's insight:

Report of a trademark fight with Kindle entertainment - a UK TV company who's brand was registered two years before Amazon's ebook reader appeared on the UK market.  And there was of course no clash before Amazon wanted to deliver film and TV  content, rather than books, by applying the Kindle brand to its tablet computers.

 

As commented here before though - the law requires  trademarks to be aggressively defended otherwise a trademark can suffer trademark death through neglect.  By defending their mark in taking cases like these Amazon are ensuring it as value (however unfair this is on the recipient of the lawsuit).

 

HT Malcolm Coulthard

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