LING225-20S1 (D) Semester One 2020 (Distance)

Forensic Linguistics

15 points
Details:
Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdraw Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty: Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 8 May 2020

Description

How can we use linguistics to solve crimes? In this course, students will learn how linguistic analysis is used in legal settings. We ask (1) What can a spoken or written text tell us about its author(s)? (2) What factors facilitate author attribution and what factors complicate it? (3) Is there really such a thing as a 'linguistic fingerprint', allowing us to categorically identify someone just from a recording of their voice or a piece of their writing? And (4) What is involved in 'being a forensic linguist'?

It is very common in TV police shows (e.g. in the CSI. . . series) to see a recording of a voice being loaded into a police computer, and then, after only a minute, seeing a photograph of a face with an exact - and always precisely accurate - identi cation of the speaker. This very fast and very efficient procedure is a work of fi ction. It is possible to identify some characteristics of a speaker from their voice (e.g. sex, age, regional origin, even their height), but this cannot be done automatically by a computer alone. It requires a forensic linguist - an analyst with thorough training in linguistics. In this course, students will learn how linguistic analysis is used in legal settings. We ask:

(1) What can a spoken or written text tell us about its author(s)?
(2) What factors facilitate author attribution and what factors complicate it?
(3) Is there really such a thing as a "linguistic fingerprint", allowing us to categorically identify a speaker just from a recording of their voice or a piece of their writing?
(4) What is involved in "being a forensic linguist"?
(5) How can linguistic analysis expose language-based power plays, inequalities and injustices in the legal process? and
(6) How can linguistic analysis help minority and minorized groups better access legal services?

Students will study how linguistic techniques are used to uncover issues of authorship/speakership (e.g. ransom demands, kidnappings, plagiarism), issues of speaker identi cation (e.g. nuisance callers, threats over the telephone) issues of language identi cation (e.g. speaker pro ling, including identi cation of a speaker's likely origin), content resolution in cases of disputed utterances (such as in the recent retrial of David Bain), and how sociolinguistic analysis exposes power relationships in the courtroom.

Learning Outcomes

Subject knowledge

By the end of the course, you will:
* have a clear understanding of the nature of forensic linguistics and forensic speech science as specialised fi elds of linguistics
* be able to demonstrate the falsehoods portrayed in popular representations of forensic linguistic work (e.g.in the media, on FaceBook, etc.);
I understand the types of data collected and utilised in forensic linguistics, including the issues of ethics and con dentiality of data;
* be able to demonstrate awareness of some of the main legal cases around the world (mainly in Aotearoa New Zealand, UK, and the USA) which have involved linguistic evidence and shaped the field;
* understand the role of the forensic linguist in legal cases.

Skills and personal attributes

By the end of the course, you will have developed your skills in:
* academic writing: you will be given the opportunity to present data, argumentation, ndings and references in a written form;
* analysis & interpretation: you will practice analysing and interpreting data and drawing appropriate conclusions.
* argumentation and evaluation: you will practice critically evaluating a particular hypothesis or argument in relation to a specific area of forensic linguistic investigation;
* personal organisation: you will undertake self-directed study and develop appropriate time-management skills;
* information technology: you will develop the ability to use basic IT skills to analyse data and present information.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Pre-requisites

Any 15 points at any level from any subject.

Course Coordinator

Viktoria Papp

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Coulthard, Malcolm. , Johnson, Alison; The Routledge handbook of forensic linguistics; Routledge, 2010.

Optional readings will be distributed on Learn.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $777.00

International fee $3,375.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 20 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All LING225 Occurrences

  • LING225-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020
  • LING225-20S1 (D) Semester One 2020 (Distance)