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Thursday 16th March 2017

Research Lecture - Lawrence Solan (Brooklyn Law School)

Professor Lawrence Solan will be delivering a talk at Aston University entitled “Using Linguistic Corpora to Determine Ordinary Meaning in Legal Analysis”. This will take place on Thursday 16th March between 4 – 6pm in MB554.

The event is free, all are welcome but please email LSS Research Support lss_researchsupport@aston.ac.uk if you would like to attend.

\ Posted on 07 February 2017

Wednesday 8th February 2017

Research Lecture - Douglas Biber (Northern Arizona University)

Room: MB155, Main Building, Aston University. Time: 4.30-5.30 All welcome

When an uptight register lets its hair down: The historical development of grammatical complexity features in specialist academic writing

Click here for the abstract.

\ Posted on 07 February 2017

Friday May 19th 2017

The second annual Centre for Forensic Linguistics Symposium:

INVESTIGATIVE INTERVIEWING: APPLYTING THEORY TO PRACTICE

Confirmed Keynote Speakers are:

  • Dr Frances Rock (Cardiff University)

  • Marie Allen (South Yorkshire Police).

If your research interests are in the area of Investigative Interviewing and you would like to contribute a paper, please submit an abstract of 250-300 words to Dr Nicci MacLeod: n.macleod1@aston.ac.uk for consideration by Friday 17 February. Papers will be allocated 20 minutes each and up to 10 minutes for questions.

\ Posted on 29 November 2016

 

Public lecture by Professor Tim Grant, 50th Anniversary Chair in Forensic Linguistics

Tim Grant's inaugural lecture, Anonymous is dead. Exaggeration, capability and instrusion in forensic linguistic investigation will take place on Thursday 17th November 2016 at 18:30 in the Mike Wright Lecture Theatre, 6th floor, Main Building, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET (a short walk from Birmingham City centre).

This event is free and all are welcome. Click here to watch a recording of the video.

 \ Posted on 03 November 2016

CFL at CEPOL 2016

CFL’s Nicci MacLeod and CFL graduate Rui Sousa Silva took part in the CEPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training) conference in Budapest from 5th-7th October.

 \ Posted on 03 November 2016

CFL at the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis

CFL’s Krzysztof Kredens, Nicci MacLeod and Ria Perkins, and CFL graduate Isabel Picornell, all delivered sessions on the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis, held at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, from the 11th to the 14th of July 2016.

 \ Posted on 02 August 2016

CFL at the International Association of Forensic Linguists at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines

CFL’s Krzysztof Kredens was a plenary speaker, and CFL’s Nicci MacLeod, Ria Perkins, Vlad Mackevic and Hulya Kocagul all took part in the 2nd Asian Regional Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, from the 7th to the 9th of July 2016. CFL graduate Isabel Picornell was co-convenor of this conference, and also delivered a plenary talk. 

 \ Posted on 02 August 2016  

CFL at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) workshop, London

CFL’s Annie Heini and Isobelle Clarke attended the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) workshop in London on 29th of June 2016. The theme was: ‘Why is legal language so complicated? Legislative drafters and linguists compare notes’.

 \ Posted on 02 August 2016

CFL at ‘Rethinking Cybercrime’ at the University of Central Lancashire Cybercrime Research Unit

CFL’s Nicci MacLeod and Emily Carmody participated in ‘Rethinking Cybercrime’ at the University of Central Lancashire Cybercrime Research Unit which ran from Monday 27th to Tuesday 28th of June 2016. 

 \ Posted on 02 August 2016  

CFL at the 9th Annual Conference of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group, Latimer Place, Buckinghamshire.

CFL’s Krzysztof Kredens and Annie Heini attended the 9th Annual Conference of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group at Latimer Place in Buckinghamshire from the 22nd to the 24th June 2016. Congratulations to Annie for winning the poster competition!

 \ Posted on 02 August 2016

CFL at the “Forensic Sociolinguistics: Linguistic analysis in legal contexts” at the Sociolinguistics Symposium in Murcia, Spain

CFL’s Malcom Coulthard and Nicci MacLeod, and CFL graduate Rui Sousa Silva, took part in the panel “Forensic Sociolinguistics: Linguistic analysis in legal contexts” at the Sociolinguistics Symposium in Murcia, Spain, from June 15th to the 18th 2016. Nicci MacLeod also presented a solo paper reporting on her ongoing work with Tim Grant.

 \ Posted on 02 August 2016

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics discussed on the floor of the House of Commons

CFL received a very positive mention on the floor of the House of Commons on 20th April. One of the projects of the Centre has involved working with Roger Mullin (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (SNP) on a Ten Minute Rule Bill to try and raise the profile of and improve standards in forensic linguistics. Although it's unlikely to become law (as private member’s bills rarely do) Mr Mullin will now endeavor to interest the relevant minister in this area. Please follow the below links for further information.

Here’s the record in Hansard:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-04-20/debates/16042035000001/ForensicLinguistics(Standards)

And here’s the video clip:

 http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/28f50efa-dd60-496a-af22-10bb8e2e22d5?in=13:10:27

(The relevant section starts after approximately 3 minutes.)

 \ Posted on 26 April 2016

Friday 20th May 2016

The first annual Centre for Forensic Linguistics Symposium:

CYBERCRIME: LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY ONLINE

Confirmed Keynote Speakers are:

  • Professor Tim Grant and Dr Nicci MacLeod, Aston University

  • Dr Claire Hardaker, Lancaster University

This event is free of charge but is now full. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list please e-mail John Pollard at j.pollard2@aston.ac.uk

The full programme is available here.

 \ Posted on 09 November 2015

Wednesday 13 April 2016: CFL authorship group presentation. Attributing the Bixby Letter: A case of historical disputed authorship

The CFL Authorship Group: Jack Grieve, Emily Carmody, Isobelle Clarke, Mária Csemezová, Hannah Gideon, Cristina Greco, Annina Heini, Andrea Nini, Maria Tagtalidou, and Emily Waibel.

 In November 1864, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, sent a letter of consolation to Lydia Bixby, the mother of five sons who were believed to have died in the Civil War. Although Mrs Bixby was in fact a confederate sympathizer, who tore up the letter upon receipt, a copy was published the next day in the Boston Evening Transcript. The Bixby Letter went on to become one of America’s most renowned pieces of correspondence. Despite its fame, the authorship of the letter has long been in dispute, with some historians claiming, based primarily on external evidence, that Lincoln’s young personal assistant, John Hay, the future Secretary of State under McKinley and Roosevelt, was its likely author. In this talk, the CFL Authorship Group presents the preliminary results of our linguistic analyses of the Bixby Letter, with an aim of helping to finally resolve this famous case of disputed authorship.

This will take place in MB257 from 4.30 and is free. All are welcome to attend. 

 \ Posted on 05 April 2016

Wednesday 24th February 2016: Dr Frances Rock Research Lecture

Dr Frances Rock will be delivering a talk entitled 'I can't spell "tidying", suddenly': Displaying trajectories in police-witness interviews. Download the abstract here.

This will take place in MB257 from 4.30 and is free. All are welcome to attend. 

 \ Posted on 04 February 2016

Wednesday 18th November 2015: Dr Kate Haworth Research Lecture

Dr Kate Haworth will be delivering a talk entitled "Language and Communication Training for Police Interviewers: Applying linguistics to professional practice" in MB549 on 18h November, 4.30-5.30.

This is free and all are welcome to attend. 

 \ Posted on 06 November 2015

Tuesday 17th November 2015: Dr Tammy Gales Research Lecture

We're pleased to announce that Dr Tammy Gales from Hofstra University, New York will be delivering a talk at Aston University entitled “Threatening Stances: A corpus analysis of the forms and functions of grammatical markers of authorial stance.” This will take place on Tuesday 17th November 4 – 6pm, in MB404C which is found in the main building. Download the abstract here.

The event is free and all are welcome. 

 \ Posted on 06 November 2015

Tuesday 10th November 2015: Dr. Iman Laversuch Nick Research Lecture

Dr Nick will be delievering a research lecture entitled Forensic Onomastics: Crime,  Criminal Investigation,  Names, and Naming at 2pm in room MB227.

The event is free and all are welcome.

 \ Posted on 06 November 2015

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Report

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) briefing on forensic linguistics was published today.  As you’ll see it cites a number of our research papers and CFL gets a good mention throughout.The briefing can be found here. Many of the members of the Centre had a series of meetings with the parliamentary researcher who wrote the briefing which undoubtedly had a strong influence in the final briefing. Click on the image below to read the report in full.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Report

 \ Posted on 09 November 2015

CFL at the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)

CFL’s Professor Tim Grant headed a colloquium titled “New Directions in Forensic Linguistics: Breaking Theory” at the recent meeting of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) at Aston University, held from the 3rd-5th September 2015. He was joined on the panel by CFL’s Professor Malcolm Coulthard and Dr Nicci MacLeod, and Dr David Wright from Nottingham Trent University.

See http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/news/events/baal-annual-meeting/ for further information.

 \ Posted on 17 September 2015

The fifteenth edition of the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics hosted the fifteenth edition of the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis from Monday, 31st August to Friday 4 September and welcomed 25 participants from seven countries. The teaching staff consisted of Professor Tim Grant, Professor Malcolm Coulthard, Dr Krzysztof Kredens, Dr Nicci MacLeod, Dr Jack Grieve, Marie Allen (South Yorkshire Police) and professor Larry Solan (Brooklyn Law School, New York).

\ Posted on 17 September 2015

CFL at the twelfth biennial international conference of the IAFL, China

CFL’s Professor Tim Grant, Dr Krzysztof Kredens, Dr Kate Haworth, Dr Nicci MacLeod, Dr Andrea Nini, Dr Ria Perkins, Vlad Mackevic, Liubov Green and Hulya Kocagul participated in the twelfth biennial international conference of the IAFL held at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS) in Guangzhou, China from July 6 to July 9, 2015.

 \ Posted on 17 September 2015

Congratulations to Professor Tim Grant.

CFL’s Professor Tim Grant has succeeded to the role of President of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL). He took over the role from Professor Edward Finegan at the biennial meeting of the IAFL in Gunagzhou, China, on the 7th July.

 \ Posted on 17 September 2015

Dr Andrea Nini and the Sony hack case

On the 7th of May, Dr Andrea Nini has given a talk on the Sony hack case at the Conference of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cybersecurity at the University of Oxford. The title of the talk was: ‘A forensic linguistics analysis of the Sony hack texts’. The research carried out on the native language identification of the authors of the texts was performed by CFL members, including PhD students and Masters students of the MA in Forensic Linguistics.

 \ Posted on 22 May 2015

Forensic Linguists Use Spelling Mistakes To Help Convict Criminals

Dr Nicci MacLeod has been interviewed by vice.com to explain the role of forensic linguistics. See the full article here.

 \ Posted on 22 May 2015

Dr Kate Haworth publishes article in Applied Linguistics.

A new article by Dr Kate Haworth has been published in Applied Linguistics, entitled: ‘The discursive construction of evidence in police interviews: case study of a rape suspect.’ The full text can be accessed here:

 \ Posted on 1 May 2015

Dr Tatiana Tkacukova @ the Socio-Legal Studies Association annual conference.

Dr Tatiana Tkacukova made several presentations at the annual conference for Socio-Legal Studies Association that took place at the University of Warwick over Easter. The abstracts from the following talks can be found by clicking on each title.

The programme to the conference can be found here.

 \ Posted on 20 April 2015

Transcription project blogpost - http://www.keytranscriptionsystem.co.uk/

A group of students on the MA Forensic Linguistics programme have been working on a project that has gained interest from Greater Manchester Police.

As part of one of their course modules, ‘Practical Applications in Forensic Linguistics’, a group of students came together with the idea of creating a simple system of transcription with a view to it being incorporated into police transcriptions by ROTI typists. During the course of the research and design of the transcription system, (with thanks to Tim) the group had a short meeting with Steve Retford who is a Specialist Investigative Interview Advisor at Greater Manchester Police. He was very enthusiastic about the project the students were working on and suggested that they visited him in Manchester to meet with some of the ROTI typists to gather feedback and learn a bit more about the process of transcribing police interviews.

On Friday 27th March, the group travelled to the Bury division of GMP and met with Steve and the pool of typists. The group spoke with the typists about their job and the varying factors that can affect consistency and style. The group presented the typists with their designed product – a laminated leaflet detailing their transcription system – and discussions were had about its practical usability. The product has been left with the typists and further feedback will be received in due course. Steve then took the group on a tour of the cells and interview rooms and a group photo was had in each! Silliness aside, the afternoon was found to be very informative, interesting and the group have learned not only about ROTIs but also the interviewing system as a general practice. It was also very encouraging for the students to speak to members of the police force who are enthusiastic and understanding of the benefit of interdisciplinary research to help improve upon current practices.

The group are now in the final stages of their project with a written evaluation and a presentation pitch to other course members to be completed. A link to the group’s website can be found below where more information and description on the transcription system can be found:

                                        \ Posted on 9 April 2015

Sunday 23th March 2014: Meet The Expert @ the Thinktank, Birmingham

Dr Tatiana Tkacukova will be hosting an event at the Thinktank called “Meet the Expert” which will be an opportunity for members of the public to discover more about the way in which we speak and how this can say much more about you than the words that actually come out of your mouth.

The event is free and all are welcome. No booking is required but if you would like further information please contact j.pollard2@aston.ac.uk.

 

Wednesday 18th March 2015: The seventh CFL annual distinguished visitor lecture

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics is pleased to announce that Dr. Fleur van der Houwen from the department of Language and Communication, VU University Amsterdam will be visiting the Centre as a distinguished academic visitor on the week commencing Monday 16 March. As part of her visit she will be delivering a research lecture entitled “The right to silence in the Dutch Criminal Court”. This lecture is free and will take place at 4pm on Wednesday 18 March in MB 375.

The event is free and all are welcome. If you would like to attend please contact John Pollard at j.pollard2@aston.ac.uk.

                                        \ Posted on 18 March 2015

 

Friday 26th September 2014: One-day course on court interpreting

'Interpreting in the courtroom: challenges for interpreters' will take place at Aston University on Friday 26th September 2014 (European Day of Languages) in Room MB 753 from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. Registration will be from 9.30 to 10 am. For details please see this document.

 

Wednesday 26th February 2014: Sixth Annual Forensic Linguistics Distinguished Visitor Lecture

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics is pleased to announce that Professor Shlomo Engelson Argamon from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago will be visiting the Centre the week commencing Monday 24th February. As part of his visit he will be delivering a research lecture entitled “Computational Analysis of Cognitive Style” which will take place at 4pm on Wednesday 26th February in MB 554. The abstract is available here.

The event is free and all are welcome. If you would like to attend please contact John Pollard at j.pollard2@aston.ac.uk

 

Thursday 19th December 2013: Interviewing with an Interpreter

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University is pleased to announce another in the series of one day courses for investigators and legal practitioners. These courses will be delivered by members of the Centre, all of whom have specialist expertise in language in legal contexts. These practical sessions will be based on the latest research, yet have been designed specifically for practitioners rather than academics. The course will focus on the following areas:

• We will demonstrate how language analysis can improve investigative interviewing technique and give a greater understanding of how different interviews work.
• We will focus on the role of interpreters in the interviewing process and examine some of the problems and myths associated with interpreted interviews.
• We will provide practical suggestions for the better management of interpreted interviews and explore the ethical issues this can present to police officers.
• We will give police officers the opportunity to observe and participate in role-plays with two experienced interpreters. The role-plays are specifically designed to highlight problems and issues in interpreter-mediated interviews.

 

Current Trends in Forensic Linguistics

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics is proud to be hosting a one-day conference on Current Trends in Forensic Linguistics as a part the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2013. This year the Centre marks its fifth anniversary and the conference will exhibit its achievements since its inception, showcase the latest developments in the field and further develop open dialogue between the stakeholders and academics. Topics discussed will include authorship analysis, linguistics of police interview, communication needs of litigants in person, interpreting in court, forensic linguistic analysis of abusive and threatening communications, trademark infringement, the role of an investigative interviewer from leading practitioners, consultants and academics.

Click here to see the programme.

Confirmed Speakers to include:

  • Lord Justice Goldring Senior Judge, Coroner to the inquest investigating the deaths of victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Det. Supt. Andy Griffiths Head of Intelligence and Organised Crime, Sussex police

  • Professor Malcolm Coulthard Emeritus Professor of Forensic Linguistics, Aston University

\ Posted on 8th November 2013

CFL Fifth Anniversary Event

We are hosting a one-day conference on Current Trends in Forensic Linguistics on 8th November at Aston University, as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2013, to celebrate our fifth anniversary. Please contact John Pollard at j.pollard2@aston.ac.uk or use the 'Contact' link in the menu on the left for more information.

\ Posted on 10 October 2013

Tatiana Tkacukova joins CFL

We are very pleased to welcome Dr Tatiana Tkacukova, a Marie Curie Research Fellow, to the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. Tatiana conducts research on communication difficulties in a court room setting.

\ Posted on 1 October 2013

Tuesday,16th April, 2013. 4.00pm - 5.30pm. Research Talk.

Professor Janet Ainsworth, Seattle University School of Law
"Anatomy of a False Confession: the Linguistic and Psychological Characteristics of False Confessions and Reforms to Prevent Conviction of the Innocent."

This Talk is free.

\ Posted on 16th April, 2013.

Tuesday 19th March 2013: Forensic Authorship Analysis

Linguistic evidence of who wrote a text has been increasingly accepted in the UK Courts and recent criminal cases have included cases of murder, stalking, extortion and blackmail. The subject of these analyses can vary from long fraud documents or terrorist conspiracy texts, through shorter letters, blog posts or emails, to very short texts such as SMS text messages, twitter streams or Facebook status updates.

In this focussed one-day course we will examine the methods used by linguists in carrying out comparative authorship analyses and demonstrate how the work can be done sufficiently rigorously to meet investigate and evidential standards. The day will involve some teaching and some workshop sessions and will include an explanation of the UK legal context in which we work. The course will be suitable for police and other investigators as well as academics and students with an interest in forensic linguistics.

The cost of the course is GBP100

\ Posted on 20th March, 2013.

Wednesday, 13th March, 2013. 4.00pm - 5.30pm. Research Talk.

David Wright, The University of Leeds
"Corpus-based Genre-focused Approach to Identifying Idiolect: Implications for Forensic Authorship Analysis."

This talk is free. 

 

Conference in Brazil

The next regional IAFL conference will take place at The Federal University of Santa Catarina from 11th to 13th December 2013. It is co-organised by CFL's Malcolm Coulthard.

\ Posted on 10 March 2013

Doctoral vivas

We are happy to announce Rui Sousa-Silva and Ria Perkins have both passed their Doctoral vivas in the last two weeks. Rui's dissertation is on plagiarism detection and Ria's on native language identification.

\ Posted on 13 March 2013

Wednesday,16th January, 2013. 4.00pm - 5.30pm. Research Talk.

Dr Fiona English, Institute of Education, London
“Cos you speak perfect English, don’t you!”: Language Assessment of Non-Native Detainees.”

This talk is free.

 

Friday 14th December 2012: Interviewing with an Interpreter

This one-day course will focus on the role of interpreters in the interviewing process and examine some of the problems and myths associated with interpreted interviews. Practical suggestions for the better management of interpreted interviews will be provided and the ethical issues this can present to police officers will be explored in detail.

The cost of the course is GBP100  

 

Police interviewing project

CFL's Dr Kate Haworth and Dr Nicci MacLeod have received funding from the British Association for Applied Linguistics for their project "Language and Communication for Police Interviewers: Training, Evaluation and Development". This activity develops networks with the police specifically to create training packages which apply linguistic research to police interviewer training. After very successful visits to South Yorkshire Police and Sussex Police, their final training day of the series will take place at Greater Manchester Police early next year.

\ Posted on 5 December 2012

Wednesday,14th November 2012, 2012 4.00pm – 5.30pm. Research Talk.

Professor Robert Leonard, Hofstra University, New York.
"Linguistics Analysis of a Covert Recording: WAS a Defendant in the Room when Judicial Bribery was Discussed?"

This talk is free.

 

Regional IAFL conference

Last week CFL's Rui Sousa-Silva organised a very successful conference for the International Association of Forensic Linguists at his home university of Porto. Among the 70 papers presented were those by Rui himself, fellow doctoral student Andrea Nini, plus four CFL staff: Dr Jack Grieve, Dr Krzysztof Kredens, Dr Nicci Macleod and Emeritus Prof. Malcolm Coulthard.

\ Posted on 2 November 2012

Spreading the word...

We have recently been very busy running a number of events both here at Aston and outside.

12 May
Tim Grant delivered the opening plenary address to the Language in the Real World'conference, hosted at Portsmouth University. The theme of the conference was 'from theory to practice' and Tim discussed the importance of theories of idiolect and semantics to forensic case work.

2 May
Krzysztof Kredens held a day course entitled 'Linguistic Expert Evidence in the Courtroom' for 25 undergraduate and postgraduate students from Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands.

30 April
Kate Haworth gave a presentation on forensic linguistics to members of the Schools of Law and Psychology at the University of Surrey. She has already been invited back to give further talks.

23 April
Krzysztof Kredens ran an invited seminar on discourse analysis for PhD students at Cranfield School of Management.

16-19 April
Kate Haworth, Nicci MacLeod and Tim Grant, in collaboration with Jessica Woodhams from the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology (University of Birmingham), ran a four day course entitled 'Linguistic and Psychological Techniques for Sexual Crime Investigation'. The course was attended by 20 police officers and academics from the UK, Holland, Canada, Czech Republic, and Germany were among the speakers.

\ Posted on 22 May 2012

Wednesday,18th April, 2012 4.00pm – 5.30pm. Research Talk.

Professor Ed Finegan, University of Southern California.
"Google, Teflon and App Store: Prescriptivism and Ownership of the English Language."

This talk is free. 

\ Posted on 20 April 2012

Case update

Tim Grant's evidence contributed to this conviction at Shrewsbury Crown Court. His role was to clarify some slang terms which were used in the interviews with the child.

\ Posted on 9 April 2012

Conference Proceedings

The IAFL 10 Conference Proceedings are now available here.

\ Posted on 27 March 2012

Las Palmas visit

Kate Haworth is running a three-day course on Forensic Linguistics for undergraduate students at Las Palmas University. The event has been organised by CFL's long-time collaborator Dr Victor M. Gonzalez Ruiz.

\ Posted on 26 March 2012

 

Wednesday, 21st March, 2012 4.00pm – 5.30pm. Research Talk.

 Ria Perkins, Aston University."Identifying L1 Persian Authors Of Online Blogs."


Andrea Nini, Aston University."Codal Variation Analysis as a Forensic Tool."

This event is free.

 

New course

In collaboration with the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, University of Birmingham, we are organising a four-day workshop on 'Linguistic and Psychological Techniques for Sexual Crime Investigation'.

\ Posted on 15 March 2012

Wednesday, 13th February, 2012 2.00pm. Research Talk.

Professor Robert Leonard, Hofstra University, New York. "Forensic Linguistics analysis in the Coleman murder case."

This talk is free.

 

December 2011 Forensic Linguistics for Investigative Interviewers

This one-day course will provide a general introduction to what linguistic analysis can offer to the practice of investigative interviewing, before moving on to focus on the role of interpreters in the interviewing process. We will examine some of the common linguistic problems associated with interpreted interviews, and propose solutions informed by linguistic theory.

The cost of this course is 90 GBP

 

Sweden visit

Tim Grant and Kate Haworth visited Linnaeus University at Vaxjo in Sweden on 25 November 2011. The day seminar was entitled 'Language in the Police and Judicial Discourse' and was part of a series hosted by Prof. Gunilla Byrman, who is working to establish a forensic linguistic network. Kate spoke on Audience Design and Police Interviews and Tim's plenary focussed on his work with online undercover police and the assumption of online identities.

\ Posted on 29 November 2011

Seminar on Friday

Dr Helen Fraser is visiting CFL this week. On Friday 18 November she will give a talk titled 'Interpretation of a Crisis Call: Why evaluation of forensic transcripts should not be left to the jury'.

\ Posted on 14 November 2011

US visit

Last month Tim Grant visited the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on a trip to the US which also included talks at Georgetown University, Hofstra University and Brooklyn Law School. As part of his trip Tim was examining systems and databases used to analyse threatening and malicious communications both at the FBI and at Academy Group Inc. In the photo are Natalie Schilling of Georgetown University and Ron Tunkel of the BAU.
(Click on the picture for a bigger version.)

\ Posted on 04 November 2011

Autumn School in Portugal

Last week Krzysztof Kredens and Nicci MacLeod spent three days at the University of Porto as guest lecturers at the CLUP 2011 Autumn School. Between them they contributed eight sessions on, inter alia, the discourse of police interviews, legal translation and interpreting, disputed meanings in legal contexts, and forensic phonetics.

\ Posted on 14 September 2011

11th - 14th July 2011:International Association of Forensic Linguists' 10th Biennial Conference.

Speakers to include:

Professor Malcolm Coulthard, Professor Roger Shuy, Dr Tim Grant, Professor  Peter M. Tiersma,  Dr Kate Haworth, Professor Lawrence Solan, Professor Bethany Dumas, Professor Ronald R Butters, Dr. Diana Eades Professor Susan Berk-Seligson.  

Click here to access the conference brochure.

Costs range from £160 - £350.  

 

Conference update

The IAFL10 conference brochure can be downloaded here. It contains useful information for delegates attending the event. Please note that because of a few late arrivals and last-minute withdrawals the programme should not be treated as final. The final version will be published here on Sunday 10 July.

\ Posted on 2 July 2011

One more IRC case

Evidence from Prof. Malcolm Coulthard and Dr Tim Grant contributed to a guilty verdict last week in a case of a college teacher accused of making and possessing abuse images of children. The defendant had engaged in Internet Relay Chat of a sexual nature with an underage girl and the defence were arguing that he, stylistically, couldn't have written the chat. Malcolm and Tim wrote a report refuting the defence claims and asserted that the chat was indeed consistent with other undisputed bits writings from his computer.

\ Posted on 30 June 2011

Talk in York

On 14 June Dr Tim Grant delivered an invited talk at the University of York for the Bayesian Biometrics for Forensics Research Network. The talk on 'Quantifying evidence in forensic text analysis' was part of a programme focusing on methods in forensic science (in particular forensic speech science) but also face recognition and other areas of biometric identification.

\ Posted on 15 June 2011

Summer School update

Registration for both levels of the Summer School is now closed. This year we will be hosting participants from Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Holland, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the USA. Please contact us if you would like to be placed on the waiting list.

\ Posted on 21 April 2011

IAFL Conference and Summer School update

The advanced-level Summer School programme is now available as well.

\ Posted on 25 March 2011

Summer School update

Registration for the eleventh edition of our Summer School is now open. The registration form and preliminary programme can be accessed from the Summer School website.

\ Posted on 28 February 2011

14 February: St Valentine's Day Forensic Linguistics Day

The Centre for Forensic Linguistics typically receives a casework enquiry, from private individuals, solicitors or police looking for a language expert every few weeks. It was untypical therefore that before lunch on 14 February we had received three separate enquiries; one email, one hand-written letter and one very abusive Valentine Card. In each case the recipient had a good idea who had sent these nasty Valentines and wanted it proved. We don't welcome this kind of work - if you can't fall in love, be happy and write nice things to each other, its probably better to write nothing at all!

\ Posted on 15 February 2011

IAFL10 update

The IAFL10 Scientific Committee has accepted over 100 papers for presentation at the conference. Abstracts will soon be posted on this website.

\ Posted on 13 February 2011

IAFL10 deadline extension

The Conference Organising Committee has decided to extend the deadline for submitting abstracts for the tenth IAFL Conference until Monday January 31st. All those abstracts that were submitted by January 3rd are now under review and we will write to the authors as soon as we have decisions from the referees. We will review all abstracts that come in from now on in weekly batches.

\ Posted on 10 January 2011

Japan trip

Malcolm Coulthard is in Japan, where he will give two lectures on forensic linguistics at Momoyama Gakuin University on 3 December. On 4 December at Kansai University he will address the annual conference of the Pragmatics Society of Japan with a plenary talk entitled 'The Official Version: on the relation between what was said to the police and what was officially recorded and reported'.

\ Posted on 1 December 2010

CEPOL talk

On Wednesday 27th October Tim Grant gave a talk to the CEPOL conference. CEPOL is an EU-funded organisation for senior police officers across Europe with the aim to encourage cross-border cooperation. Tim illustrated the nature of forensic linguistics with a number of case studies and discussed how and where it was used across the European Union.

\ Posted on 5 November 2010

Jornadas de Linguistica Forense

Malcolm Coulthard and Krzysztof Kredens are participating in the Jornadas de Linguistica Forense event in Madrid. On Thursday 21 October they presented their research to academics, lawyers and police officers, and today they have addressed 120 students at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

\ Posted on 25 October 2010

DISA Conference

CFL Director Prof. Malcolm Coulthard gave the closing plenary address to 200 participants at the 47th annual Defence Security Industries Association conference in Oxford last week.

\ Posted on 11 October 2010

IAFL10 Call for Papers

IAFL10 Call for Papers is now available here. More information about the conference will soon be posted on this website.

\ Posted on 3 October 2010

CFL at the British Science Festival

On Thursday 16 September the CFL team will present a two-hour talk on the role of language experts in forensic contexts at the British Science Festival. For details follow this link. To mark the occasion, Tim Grant provides an introduction to forensic linguistics in this short video.

\ Posted on 14 September 2010

CFL at Critical Link

CFL's Yvonne Fowler and Krzysztof Kredens are attending the Aston-hosted Critical Link conference. Yesterday they gave a paper on interpreter competence in ethical emergencies and on Thursday Yvonne will present on "Court observation for court interpreters". The conference has attracted over 300 participants from more than 30 countries.

\ Posted on 28 July 2010

IAFL 2011 update

The Organising Committee of the tenth biennial IAFL conference met last week here at Aston. We will be posting an official Call for Papers on 15 September and the deadline for the submission of papers is going to be 19 December.

\ Posted on 20 July 2010

Summer School

The tenth edition of the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis finished on Saturday 3 July. We hosted 21 participants and three guest tutors from 8 countries. Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback, we are planning to run TWO events next year - a six-day introductory course in FL and a more advanced five-day event meant for participants from the previous years.

\ Posted on 17 July 2010

Tweets from L&L conferences

Doctoral students from the Centre for Forensic Linguistics have been tweeting from Caserta in Italy, where they are attending 'Language of Law: pulling together different strands and disciplines'. Next week, CFL's staff members will follow suit, reporting from the third annual conference of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group, to be held in Stavern, Norway. See twitter.com/cfl_aston for updates.

\ Posted on 17 June 2010

Poster competition winner

CFL's Seemaab Naseem has won the university-wide postgraduate researchers poster competition with a presentation on 'Language, Power and Technology: Lawyer vs. Expert Witness'. She will be the first ever student in the School of Languages and Social Sciences representing Aston University at the regional poster competition. Seemaab's poster will also be displayed at the British Science Festival in September.

\ Posted on 15 June 2010

Translation seminar talk

Krzysztof Kredens has been invited to speak at City University's Centre for Translation Studies seminar series; he will talk about translated records of interpreted police interviews with suspects on Wednesday, 16 June.

\ Posted on 24 May 2010

Lectures...

Last week Kate Haworth made her first overseas trip on behalf of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. On 20th May she gave a guest lecture entitled 'The Case for Forensic Linguistics' to staff and students at the Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Paderborn University. At the same time Malcolm Coulthard was giving a guest lecture at Portsmouth University to some 60 staff and postgraduate students from the Centre for European and International Studies and the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies.

\ Posted on 23 May 2010

12 May 2010. Research Talk.

Dr Caroline Tagg, University of Birmingham
'"I've just cooked a rather nice salmon a la you" ... extending our understanding of creativity in text messaging'

This talk is free.

Ron Butters's visit

An exciting few days here at CFL as Prof. Ron Butters, President of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, is visiting Aston University. On Wednesday he gave a paper, "I am a needy petite woman": Judging the Real Age of Participants in IM Sex Talk Enticement Conversations', at the School of Languages and Social Sciences seminar, and on Thursday met our MA in Applied Linguistics students to tell them about his work in cases involving trademark disputes. Today Prof. Butters talked about expert linguists in the US legal system to CFL's Seemab Naseem, who will shortly be posting a record of the conversation in the Interviews section of this website.

\ Posted on 7 May 2010

CFL Reading Group

After a long Easter break involving volcanoes, the Aston FL Reading Group will be meeting again next week, on 13th May at the usual time of 12:45 in room MB 747. Nicci MacLeod will be presenting the following article:
- Stokoe, E. and Edwards, D. (2008) "`Did you have permission to smash your neighbour's door?' Silly questions and their answers in police suspect interrogations". In Discourse Studies, 10(1), London: Sage.
If you would like to join us, please get in touch.

\ Posted on 7 May 2010

Research seminar

Daniel Greenberg, a senior legal drafter from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, visited CFL yesterday. He gave an enlightening and engaging talk on 'The Illusion of Plain English in Legal Contexts' (click here for abstract) to a packed room of academics and Master's and PhD students. An interview with Daniel will soon be posted on this website. Meanwhile, click on the link below to read his paper.

All Trains Stop at Crewe: The Rise and Rise of Contextual Drafting (available through UK Federation/Aston e-library login)

\ Posted on 29 April 2010

Expert report

Isabel Picornell, a Doctoral student at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics, provided an expert report in a high-profile case involving a tape recording of a telephone call, in which the head of the Imedia TV station in Georgia discusses a hoax news item about a Russian invasion with the station's head of political programming.

\ Posted on 28 April 2010
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Cafe Scientifique talk

Last night Tim Grant talked about forensic linguistics as part of Birmingham Science Museum's Cafe Scientifique discussion forum. The event attracted a predominantly non-academic audience, who asked many interesting questions.

\ Posted on 7 April 2010
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Aston Interpreter Network meeting

The Aston Interpreter Network met on Thursday 18th March. The theme of the meeting was 'Court interpreting vs. conference interpreting". Yvonne Fowler presented a paper by Mirta Vidal, a US court interpreter, which compared the two interpreting contexts. Vidal claimed that court interpreting was more stressful from almost every point of view. There were several AIN Interpreters attending the meeting who were both practising court and conference interpreters and there was a broad measure of agreement with Vidal's assertion.

\ Posted on 20 March 2010
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CFL Reading Group meeting

The CFL Reading Group met again last week. We discussed an article by T. P. Chritensen on "Judges' deviations from norm-based direct speech in court", published in the journal Interpreting (10(1), 2008). Get in touch if you would like to be notified of future meetings of the Group.

\ Posted on 19 March 2010
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Book launch

Malcolm Coulthard and Alison Johnson's Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics was published last week. The official launch took place at the annual conference of the American Association of Applied Linguistics.

\ Posted on 9 March 2010
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CFL to host IAFL2011!

We are pleased to announce that the Executive Committe of the International Association of Forensic Linguists voted unanimously for the Centre for Forensic Linguistics to host the Association's tenth Biennial Conference. It will be held in July 2011. Details will be posted on this website soon.

Previous IAFL conferences:

IAFL 1993: Bonn, Germany
IAFL 1995: University of New England, Armidale, Australia
IAFL 1997: Duke University, North Carolina, USA
IAFL 1999: University of Birmingham, UK
IAFL 2001: The University of Malta
IAFL 2003: The University of Sydney, Australia
IAFL 2005: Cardiff University, Wales
IAFL 2007: University of Washington, Seattle, USA
IAFL 2009: Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands

\ Posted on 10 February 2010
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Article in The Independent

There's an interesting article on an aspect of our work in today's The Independent. It treats of CFL's contribution to the Ogundele case (see the 29 October entry below). Follow this link.

\ Posted on 28 January 2010
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Radio Four interview

Tim Grant was interviewed by Michael Rosen in an episode of the BBC Radio Four programme Word of Mouth. Until Tuesday 1st December the programme can be heard again here. Tim discusses his involvement in the Ogundele conspiracy-to-murder case (reported below). The programme was about coded language generally and also included a segment by Prof. Ruth Wodak of Lancaster University.

\ Posted on 3 November 2009
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Guilty plea

On the first day of what was scheduled to have been a four-week trial, Christopher Birks pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife Amanda and the endangerment of his children and of fire-fighters called to his house. Birks killed his wife Amanda on the morning of 17 January 2009 and placed her body in an upstairs room before setting fire to their home late that night. Using her mobile telephone Birks sent messages indicating that she was alive during the day of the 17th and also used these messages to try to convince his young children that the fire was an accident caused by their mother. Tim Grant's evidence was that these messages were inconsistent with Amanda Birk's previous texting style and consistent with the known texts of Christopher Birks.

Further details can be found here.

\ Posted on 3 November 2009
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CFL Reading Group

The Forensic Linguistics Reading Group will meet again on Thursday, 5 November, at 12.45pm in room MB747. Krzysztof Kredens will introduce Alexander George's 1990 paper, Whose Language is it Anyway? Some Notes on Idiolects (The Philosophical Quarterly, 40, 274-298). If you would like to join us, please get in touch.

\ Posted on 2 November 2009
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Guilty verdict

Last Tuesday at the Old Bailey, a jury returned a guilty verdict on Kingsley Ogundele in a conspiracy to murder case. Ogundele, a grime music MC also known as Snoopy Montana had conspired with Brandon Jolie, a music producer known as Maniac. The conspiracy was carried out in East London street argot using Internet Relay Chat and Tim Grant provided a gloss for the Court into a more standard variety of English. In addition, Tim provided evidence of meaning for a phone call (transcribed by JP French Associates) and some other internet materials.

\ Posted on 29 October 2009
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Crimewatch update - Result!

Arrests have been made in the racist letters case as a direct result of the Crimewatch appeal. A 70-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man from the Fareham area on the South Coast of England were arrested on 13th October as reported in the Portsmouth local press and in a number of national newspapers. Tim Grant's profile of the writer published as part of the Crimewatch appeal was that the writer of the letters was likely to be an older woman from the South of England. As a result of the appeal there was some national reporting and also a couple of articles on forensic linguistics.

PM hate mail plea gets 86 calls
Language experts study hate mail

\ Posted on 18 October 2009
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Nordic Network for Psychology and Law Conference

On 9 October Tim Grant was the opening plenary speaker at the annual conference of the Nordic Network for Psychology and Law in the beautiful city of Tallinn in Estonia. Delegates included police officers, academics and research students from Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia.

\ Posted on 15 October 2009
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Forensic Linguistics Reading Group launched

Today saw the launch of CFL's Reading Group. We discussed Peter Tiersma's The Nature of Legal Language, a chapter in Dimensions of Forensic Linguistics, edited by John Gibbons and M. Teresa Turell (John Benjamins 2008). Co-ordinated by Rui Sousa-Silva, the Group will meet every first Thursday of the month. The next meeting is due on 5 November. If you would like to join us, please get in touch.

\ Posted on 8 October 2009
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CFL on Crimewatch

Tim Grant, Deputy Director of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics, will appear tonight on BBC One's Crimewatch. He'll be talking about his work on a case involving racially and sexually abusive letters sent anonymously between January 2007 and July 2009 to people accross the UK, including the Prime Minister.

More information on the case.

\ Posted on 29 September 2009
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Interpreters' meeting kicks off new academic year

The new academic year at the Centre was yesterday inaugurated by an Aston Interpreter Network meeting. Presided over by Yvonne Fowler, it was devoted to strategies used by interpreters for dealing with ethical problems.

\ Posted on 25 September 2009
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Douglas Hurd visits CFL

Lord Douglas Hurd, former British Foreign Secretary, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at last week's graduation ceremony and as part of his visit to the University received a presentation on forensic linguistics from CFL's Tim Grant and Yvonne Fowler. He was accompanied by Dr Pamela Moores, Dean of Aston University's School of Languages and Social Sciences. We discussed our casework and research and Lord Hurd showed particular interest in Yvonne's work on interpreting in legal contexts, particularly via prison video links.

\ Posted on 21 July 2009
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IAFL 9 Conference

The ninth biennial conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists opened today with a plenary address by Malcolm Coulthard, Director of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. CFL staff and students attending the conference have been sending live feeds on twitter - see www.twitter.com/cfl_aston.

\ Posted on 6 July 2009
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Summer School 2009 over

The ninth edition of our Summer School is now history. We have had a very intensive but enjoyable week and would like to thank the students and tutors for their hard work and great company. Planning for next year's edition is already well under way! We are off to Amsterdam now...

\ Posted on 4 July 2009
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Summer School 2009

The ninth edition of our Summer School starts tomorrow. We are expecting 20 students from 11 countries and have planned 18 sessions and two special presentations. Among our guest tutors this year are Prof. Lawrence M. Solan of Brooklyn Law School, Prof. Peter Tiersma of Loyola Law School, and James F. Fitzgerald, formerly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The programme is available here.

\ Posted on 28 June 2009
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CFL at IAFL9

It is now just over three weeks until the ninth biennial conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, to be held in Amsterdam from 6 to 9 July 2009. CFL will be represented by ten papers. There will also be a CFL poster session devoted to our recent casework and research.

\ Posted on 11 June 2009
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Summer School update

Registration for the ninth edition of the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis is now closed. Given the nature of the course and our desire to foster optimal standards of classroom interaction we can only accept 20 participants each year. Please contact us if you would like to be placed on the reserve list or find out about next year's edition.

\ Posted on 18 May 2009
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CFL at the iIIRG Conference

At the annual conference of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group at Teesside University, held from 14 to 16 April with some 150 participants, Malcolm Coulthard provided a keynote address and Kate Haworth, Nicci MacLeod and Yvonne Fowler presented papers. Immediately following the conference Malcolm, Tim Grant and Krzysztof Kredens gave a one-and-a-half-day Forensic Linguistics Masterclass to a group consisting mainly of police officers, which covered aspects of forensic lingusitic analysis and included sessions on 'working with an interpreter'.

\ Posted on 17 April 2009
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22 April 2009. Research Talk.

Professor Peter Patrick, University of Essex
'Language testing of asylum applicants'

This talk is free.

 

Aston Interpreter Network launched

Last week the first meeting of the Aston Interpreter Network was attended by 12 interpreters representing some 20 languages. Created by CFL's Yvonne Fowler and Krzysztof Kredens, the network is meant to foster a community of public service interpreters, particularly those working in legal contexts, and provide a forum for exchange of ideas and best practice between academics and practitioners. If you are a practising interpreter and would like to join us, please contact us.

\ Posted on 25 March 2009
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Police training day in Wales

As part of CFL's professional training programme, Tim Grant and Krzysztof Kredens delivered an intensive day-course in forensic linguistics to trainee Interview Advisors at the Gwent Police Training Centre near Newport in Wales. The course covered elements of forensic text analysis, interviewing with an interpreter and a discussion on choosing and working with expert witnesses.

\ Posted on 12 March
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18 March 2009. Research Talk.

Dr Luna Filipovic, University of Cambridge
'Lost or added in translation: Witness interviews in English and Spanish'

This talk is free.

 

New member of staff

We are delighted to announce that Kate Haworth will be joining us from Monday, March 9th. Her training and experience as a barrister will add an extra dimension to our work and we hope that some of the findings presented in her recently completed PhD on police investigative interviews will provide the basis for an application for research funding. Kate is not entirely new to the Centre, having taught on the two most recent editions of our Summer School.

\ Posted on 7 March 2009
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4 March 2009. Research Talk.

Gea de Jong, University of Cambridge and Forensic Research Associates
'Language change and speaker identification'

This talk is free. 

 

CSI:SFX

As part of CFL's ongoing commitment to community engagement, Krzysztof Kredens provided an introduction to forensic linguistics to 80 students at St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College in London on Friday, 13 February. His presentation was delivered at a conference on English language organised annually by Dan Clayton, an English teacher at the college. The theme this year was CSI:SFX...

\ Posted on 17 February 2009
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February 2009: The Linguistic Courtroom 

This one-day course will examine all aspects of courtroom interaction from a linguistic perspective. With students we will look at the nature of different question types in examination and cross-examination and the role barristers in building witness narratives through questioning. We will also examine witness responses from different types of witnesses, special measures used to protect vulnerable witnesses and possible techniques used by witnesses to avoid answering questions. Finally we will examine judge jury interactions and how judges instructions and summing up are understood by jurors. The course will be interactive examining real courtroom interactions and will provide students the opportunity to reflect on their own practice where this is relevant.

 

CFL Interviews update

Two new interviews have just been posted in the CFL Interviews section of our website. Nicci MacLeod spoke to two recent visitors to Aston, Gavin Oxburgh about his interest in investigative interviewing, and Maria Teresa Turell about forensic linguistcs in Spain and an ambitious authorship analysis project she is in charge of at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. More interviews with forensic linguists will be added soon.

\ Posted on 15 January 2009
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A recent case

Marcus Alder was sentenced this week to 14 years' imprisonment for firearms, fraud and extortion offences. Tim Grant provided evidence in the October trial held in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Amongst his activities Alder had pretended to be the lover of a wealthy recluse, Philip Tyssen-Gee. Tim's evidence was that Alder wrote with a consistent and distinctive style and that features of this writing style could be found in a suicide note that was found in Tyssen-Gee's home. Alder also pretended to work for UK security services and had produced an MI5 identity card complete with spelling mistakes. The case has been reported on the BBC news website.

\ Posted on 18 December 2008
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Upcoming talks at CFL

We are pleased to announce two upcoming talks by visitors to the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. On 26 November, Samuel Tomblin of Lancaster University will report on his research into lay judgements of authorship. Two weeks later, on 10 December, Gavin Oxburgh will talk about investigative interviewing. Both are open events; if you would like to attend either of them please contact us.

\ Posted on 19 November 2008
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IIIRG Annual Conference

Details of the annual International Investigative Interviewing Research Group conference are now available from the Group's website. The conference, whose 2009 theme will be 'Putting Theory into Practice: The Dilemmas of Law and Psychology', will be immediately followed by a Forensic Linguistics Masterclass in Investigative Interviewing, co-run by the IIIRG and CFL.

\ Posted on 22 October 2008
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Forensic Text Analysis Day Course

It is now possible to register for this one-day event, to be held on 12 December 2008 at Aston University. The course will examine the techniques and findings of authorship analysis and introduce students to the potential and limitations of the approaches used. For more details, follow this link.

\ Posted on 18 October 2008
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Summer School 2008

Last week, the eighth edition of the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis was held at Aston University. The Centre for Forensic Linguistics hosted 20 participants, who travelled from Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Lithuania, Nigeria, Oman, Portugal, Spain, the USA and within the UK. The teaching team included CFL's Malcolm Coulthard, Tim Grant and Krzysztof Kredens, as well as four guest tutors. Eighteen 1.5-hour teaching sessions (including lab-based practical ones) were provided; the participants were also treated to a guided tour of the Birmingham Crown Court in Newton Street, where they had the chance to sit in on proceedings.

\ Posted on 26 September 2008
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The day after...

Following his BA Festival of Science lecture, Tim Grant's research into text messaging has attracted widespread attention from the British media. The links below will take you to some of the more interesting articles based on the many interviews Tim gave last week. It's interesting to see how what is essentially the same issue has received a different treatment in the different news stories. Critical Discourse Analysis, anyone?

BBC News
The Daily Telegraph
The Independent
The Financial Times
The Scotsman
The Daily Mail

\ Posted on 8 September 2008
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A play about a forensic linguist on BBC Radio 4

Today's Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4 told the story of a Matthew Coleman, who 'has a sideline developing the art and science of linguistic forensics' and helps solve a murder case.

\ Posted on 5 September 2008
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A forensic linguistics title nominated for the BAAL Book Prize

Malcolm Coulthard and Alison Johnson's An introduction to forensic linguistics - Language as Evidence has been shortlisted for the British Association for Applied Linguistics annual prize for the outstanding book in the field published in English in the world in 2007. The prize will be awarded at the next BAAL conference, to be held from 11 to 13 September 2008 at Swansea University.

\ Posted on 25 July 2008
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CFL enters into collaboration with iIIRG

CFL has entered into an official collaboration with the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group. The iIIRG brings together academics and practitioners who carry out research in investigative interviewing of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime. The group's focus on strong interaction between academia and practitioners is a major benefit as it helps to shape research to focus more directly on practitioner issues. The iIIRG currently has strong links with the University of Teesside and the Norwegian Police University College. The Memorandum of Agreement signed between CFL and iIIRG on 15th July 2008, allows both organisations to build on and formalise a collaboration which already involves joint research initiatives and data sharing, teaching exchanges and the running of practitioner conferences and workshops. The second iIIRG annual conference, to be held at the University of Teesside from 14th to 16th April 2009, will be followed by a 1.5-day Masterclass in Linguistics and Investigative Interviewing run by CFL.

\ Posted on 22 July 2008
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Text messaging study - can you help?

Tim Grant's Joseph Lister Award lecture at the Festival of Science of the British Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at the University of Liverpool between 12 and 1pm on Monday 8th September. His talk on 'Txt crimes, sex crimes and murder - the science of Forensic Linguistics' will be based on authentic data, which Tim has been collecting on this website.

\ Posted on 16 July 2008
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Expert Linguists in US Supreme Court

On June 26th 2008, the US Supreme Court overturned by a majority of 5-4 the Washington D.C. ban on handguns as unconstitutional. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia referred to the linguistic analyses supporting the D.C. law as 'unknown this side of the looking glass (except, apparently, in some courses on Linguistics)'. This case is an interesting example of how two sides (majority and minority opinion) can look at the same piece of text and arrive at opposite conclusions. The Opinion and Dissent documents are available from the FindLaw website.

\ Posted on 07 July 2008
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PhD opportunities at Aston University

Aston University is inviting applications for fees-only bursaries for study at the School of Languages and Social Sciences.

\ Posted on 20 June 2008
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25 June 2008. Research Talk.

Dr Georgina Heydon, Monash University, Australia
'The risk to testimonial integrity of moral judgements in police interviews'

This talk is free.

16th June 2008: Working with an Interpreter

A natural consequence of the recent wave of immigration into Britain is a significant increase in the number of non-English-speaking witnesses and suspects interviewed by police forces throughout the country. Responding to this trend, the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University will hold a one-day workshop on 'Working with an interpreter', an event meant to sensitise police officers to the complex issues involved in public service interpreting and offer advice on how to manage interpreter-mediated interaction. On the one hand then, the workshop will aim at raising awareness of the role of public service interpreters and the nature of their work, thus enabling the participants to define their expectations for situations where non-English-speaking parties are involved. On the other hand, it will provide relevant practical training, making use of role-playing activities and real-life case studies. Please contact us for more details or to book a place.

\ Posted on 26 May 2008
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Forensic linguistics in the news (again!)

A feature on the work of forensic linguistic experts has appeared on the BBC News website today. Tim Grant was interviewed by Kathryn Edwards and spoke about his evidence in a case involving a terrorist suspect, as well as the activities at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. Tim made it clear the idea of a linguistic fingerprint should be treated with caution. Explaining the possible weight of forensic linguistic evidence he said, "It's like giving a description of someone who has red hair and blue eyes. That's something quite unusual and can help you build a picture of the suspect, but it's not enough to convict someone on." The story is available from the BBC News website.

\ Posted on 21 May 2008
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21 May 2008. Research Talk.

Dr Jessica Woodhams, University of Gloucestershire, with Tim Grant, Aston University
'Rape as communicative interaction - an application of investigative linguistics'
Click here to read an interview with the speaker.

This talk is free.

 

 

Forensic Linguistics Summer School update

The eighth edition of the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis will take place between 15 and 19 September 2008 at Aston University.

\ Posted on 21 May 2008
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CFL officially launched

The CFL launch event on Tuesday attracted over 70 participants, an eclectic mix of linguists (including expert forensic linguists), forensic consultants, police officers and lawyers. We'd like to thank everybody for the interesting questions, inspiring comments and stimulating coffee-break discussions. We will soon be posting pictures from the day on this website.

\ Posted on 15 May 2008
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14 May 2008. Research Talk.

Professor Larry Solan, Brooklyn Law School, USA
'False Consensus Bias in Contract Interpretation'
Talk organised under Aston University's Distinguished Visitor Scheme.

This talk is free.

13 May 2008. Research Talk.

Professor Malcolm Coulthard, Aston University
Inaugural Lecture: 'The Linguist as Detective and Expert Witness'

This talk is free.

 

7 May 2008. Research Talk.

Professor Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
'Stance, Style, and the Linguistic Individual'
Talk organised under Aston University's Distinguished Visitor Scheme.

This talk is free.

Forensic linguistics on BBC Radio 4

An interview with Tim Grant for 'Word of Mouth', a programme exploring the way in which English is used nowadays in a variety of contexts, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 today. When interviewed by Michael Rosen last week, Tim covered many areas of forensic linguistics but the final edit concentrated on investigative techniques and discussed the Jenny Nicholl murder trial, sociolinguistic profiling of authors from written texts and the UNABOMBER case.

\ Posted on 06 May 2008
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CFL Launch Symposium update

We are pleased to announce that prof. M. Teresa Turell of Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona has accepted our invitation to give a talk at the launch symposium. The final programme for the event on 13 May 2008 is now ready and available in the events section of this website.

\ Posted on 25 April 2008
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A lecture on forensic linguistics in Brazil

On April 4th Malcolm Coulthard gave a lecture on forensic linguistics at the Catholic University of Pelotas in the south of Brazil. Despite the event being billed for 6.30-8.00 on a Friday evening, some 300 academic staff and students turned up, some of whom had travelled by coach from a university over an hour away. A week later Malcolm received an email from a student saying Brazil now has its own Malcolm, a local professor who has developed his own plagiarism detection software.

\ Posted on 18 April 2008
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IIIRG Conference

Dr Tim Grant appeared as an invited speaker giving a keynote address to the first International Investigative Interviewing Research Group conference held at the University of Derby on 26 and 27 March 2008. The talk "Linguistic insights into the Investigative Interview" was delivered to an audience of about ninety police officers, practitioners and academics. Research presentations were delivered by delegates from across the world including representatives from China, Australia and across Europe. The other plenary speakers were Dr. Rebecca Milne of University of Portsmouth, speaking on "Investigative Interviewing: Harmonising research and practice", Professor Mark Kebbell of Griffith University, Australia, speaking on "How can suspected sex offenders be interviewed effectively and ethically?", and Gary Shaw, National Interview Advisor from the UK National Police Improvement Agency speaking on "The revised ACPO interviewing strategy".

\ Posted on 3 April 2008
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CFL Launch Event

The new Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University will be launched on 13 May 2008. The Centre, the first of its type in the world, combines leading-edge research, postgraduate and professional instruction and investigative forensic practice. The one-day launch conference with invited delegates from local and national police forces, the legal profession and academia will demonstrate the range and depth of the Centre's activities.

From the Centre, Malcolm Coulthard, Professor of Forensic Linguistics, will talk on 'The Work of the Forensic Linguist', Dr Krzysztof Kredens about the role of the interpreter in legal contexts and Dr Tim Grant about 'Investigative Linguistics as a Forensic Science'. In addition, Larry Solan, Don Forchelli Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and former President of the International Association of Forensic Linguists, will give a lecture entitled 'The Lawyer as Insincere Actor'. In the evening, following the Official Opening of the Centre by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Coulthard will deliver his inaugural lecture, 'The Linguist as Detective and Expert Witness'.

\ Posted on 18 March 2008
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31 October 2007. Research Talk.

Dr Alison Johnson, Leeds University
'Small is beautiful. Researching small corpora in forensic (con)texts: some lessons from recent research'

This talk is free.

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