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Please write to Alan at alanperlmanphd@language-expert.net and tell him how he can help you.


 

Recent Posts

  • Forensic linguistics featured in New Yorker piece - To introduce the next post, here’s my response to a New Yorker piece on forensic linguistics. The article is in the print version and at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/07/23/120723fa_fact_hitt . Dear Editor, As a practicing forensic linguist, I thoroughly enjoyed your article on the profession – but with mixed feelings. It was gratifying to see forensic linguistics, which is not... Read more »
  • The forensic linguist and the Artful Dodger: Can people deliberately fake their writing style? - Perhaps 25% of the cases I handle involve the authorship of anonymous, disputed, or forged documents.  The client wants to know who’s writing those nasty, threatening emails or letters.  I typically ask the client for writing samples from the suspected author.  Sometimes there’s more than one suspect, and I have to decide which of them... Read more »
  • “Google” goes generic - Some years ago, right around this time of year, a geek site, as an April Fools prank, launched a new product — unicorn meat – which it called “the new white meat,” and lawyers for the National Pork Board issue a cease-and-desist order, because they’ve gone to great lengths to copyright “the other white meat”... Read more »
  • Stylistic analysis/stylometrics – a concise statement - The following description is taken from an affidavit by Gerald R. McMenamin, one of the leading scholars in the field; the affidavit – from Case 1:10-cv-00569-RJA -LGF Document 50 Filed 06/02/11 As part of his expert witness statement, McMenamin describes the theoretical and practical foundation of the method by which he examined documents and determined... Read more »
  • When a lawyer needs a linguist - When does a lawyer need a linguist? As Roger Shuy, one of the most pre-eminent forensic linguists, has observed, the interpretation and application of the law are overwhelmingly about language.  Thus, there are many situations in which the expertise of a linguist – someone trained in the precise description and analysis of language (but not... Read more »
  • Basis forensic skills: How text-sensitive are you? - A forensic linguist must be exquisitely sensitive to nuances of text.  Where a synonym exists, the very choice of each word represents a decision on the part of the author.  Superimposed upon that is the way toward is spelled, abbreviated or capitalized. Truly, a text is a tangle of choices. The following are intended to... Read more »
  • I was wrong: p.c. can go even lower - Just when I thought the absurdity of political correctness/perceived insult exemplified by the contrived controversy over the “lighter is better” beer commercial could not be topped, along comes p.c.’s most ludicrous artifact yet: new pronouns. A couple of days ago, I watched in shock and awe as Tucker Carlson interviewed a woman who explained them:... Read more »
  • Trump, Trump, Trump: desperately seeking synonyms - Charles Dickens is famous for giving his characters whimsical names that often reflect their personalities.  “Scrooge” is probably the best-known, unmistakably conveying a grasping miserliness in almost tangible terms. If Dickens had written about a vulgar, aggressive billionaire intent on seeking power, crushing his enemies, and emblazoning his name around the world, he could hardly... Read more »
  • “Lighter is better”: Political correctness hits a new low - I have been bitching about political correctness for decades (e.g., “Why we love to hate p.c.,” Toastmaster magazine, June 1996; copies available on request) to no avail, and it keeps getting worse.  The list of offensive words has grown and grown.  New terms have appeared – “trigger words,” “hate speech,” “micro-aggressions” — as grievance groups... Read more »
  • For a quick — but accurate — summary of political rhetoric, read this - This is as good a summary of political rhetoric as I’ve seen: “Political speeches are rarely occasions for truth-telling. But the good ones combine a description of shared reality with the expression of a vision, or with words of celebration. The mediocre ones consist of platitudes—well-intentioned but lacking the force of inspiration or recognition. And... Read more »