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Forensic Linguistics-Challenges and Opportunities

NCJ Number
.SIAK-Journal International Edition Volume: 4 Dated: 2014 Pages: 62-73
Eilika Fobbe
Date Published
12 pages
This article identifies and discusses the challenges and opportunities of forensic linguistics in identifying the authors of incriminating writings, such as blackmail letters, threatening letters, defamatory letters, ransom notes, and claims of responsibility for a crime.
The examination of handwritten and typewritten communications has become obsolete. Currently, most people use word processing software or e-mail services for written communications. This means that the identification of authors must be determined by the linguistic analysis of the structure of the text, including syntax, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and needed to confirm that a certain text has been authored by a specific person; however, assuming that a linguist receives item A, which is known for certain to have been written by a particular person, the linguist will probably be able to determine whether item B. an anonymous incriminating text, has been authored by the same person. When analyzing text by an anonymous author, this article explains how a forensic linguist can determine the author's educational level, writing skills, competence as a native speaker, specialized knowledge, occupation, and region of origin. In acquiring such information about the author, the procedural steps are error analysis, stylistic analysis, and structural analysis. Proceeding in the linguistic analysis as recommended by this article constitutes a scientific analysis of written verbal communication that should be substantiated and recognized as evidence by a court of law. 24 references