FORENSIC LINGUISTICS: PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, 1979-present
(examples [not including current cases]):
- – Expert opinion on status of compound words (trademark infringement litigation).
- – Expert opinion on plagiarism of song lyrics (copyright litigation involving musical group The Who).
- – Authorship analysis of e-mails in Florida internal union dispute.
- – Expert opinion on plagiarism of online home-study course.
- – Preliminary analysis of authorship issues in malpractice litigation.
- – Expert opinion on authorship issues in business partnership dispute involving anonymous writings.
- – Authorship analysis of anonymous letters of complaint to a corporation’s Board of Directors.
- – Expert opinion on the semantics of trademark infringement in litigation by an apparel firm.
- – Authorship analysis of anonymous letters (possibly written by disgruntled employees) for major – Midwestern corporation.
- – Authorship analysis of emails to website of a “cult deprogrammer.”
- – Expert opinion on linguistic similarities between plaintiff’s and defendant’s trademarks.
- – Authorship analysis of defamatory emails written to an individual in a corporation.
- – Authorship advice on a possibly forged stock transfer document.
- – Authorship analysis of letters involved in the Son of Sam case.
- – Analysis to support allegations of plagiarism of online course material.
- – Interpretation of contract language regarding the disposition of acquired corporate entities.
- – Interpretation of equipment rental contract language.
- Reply to student: suggested authorship project - This rarest of all things — a legitimate letter from Nigeria (at least, I think — it didn’t ask for money) landed in my in-box: Hello Dr. Alan. I am N__________from Nigeria. I am a student of Stylistics at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. My professor requested for a term paper on ‘Forensic Stylistics’ and... Read more »
- PS: Language judgments and prejudices - A PS to the previous post: We judge people by the way they speak, by which I mean we apply to them the generalizations we have gleaned from past associations with people who speak that way. I caution against being too hasty with these snap judgments. There are very good reasons why a non-stupid person... Read more »
- No, I’m not peeved by people who can’t keep “their,” “they’re” and “there” straight - My sweet wife is peeved. She wrote a Facebook post and started a thread. Apparently others are peeved too. As a linguist, I don’t get peeved. Well, sometimes I do. But I try to observe and learn. [ I think there are some linguistic developments we can do without, but people have always thought that. ... Read more »
- Linguist looks at 2nd Amendment - One thing I understand about New Hampshire, after eight years here, is that the state’s bold and famous motto, “live free or die,” refers mainly to the second half of the 2nd Amendment. A few years ago, its (not my) Legislature was considering laws that will make concealed-carry easier and (this one really make me... Read more »
- Questions about the war on clickbait - “People tell us they don’t like stories that are misleading, sensational, or spammy. That includes clickbait headlines that are designed to get attention and lure visitors into clicking on a link.” Facebook blog So Facebook has declared war on clickbait. The post defines three categories. “Spammy” I can understand. But we already have protection built... Read more »
- What plagiarism is – and is not - I confidently predict that sometime in the next year, a public figure (or even someone you know) will be accused of plagiarism. When that happens, read this first: What plagiarism is — and is not A brief definition: plagiarism is knowingly appropriating another’s original words and/or ideas and presenting them as one’s own. As... Read more »
- “Arrival” movie — an earnest but muddled attempt to render alien communication - Finally! A movie that makes an honest attempt to portray the way alien life-forms communicate — and actually stars a LINGUISTICS PROFESSOR who is tasked with figuring it out. I was fascinated to see what they came up with. Previous efforts had the aliens either making unintelligible noises (as in “The Arrival,” a highly... Read more »
- Push-words, Part II: The power of Push - Part II — The Power of Push From long years of observation, I’ve concluded that most people are not aware of the persuasive power of push-words – or of how blithely and frequently we call upon them. Most people believe that that their (portrayals of the) facts are THE facts. But serious observers of the language... Read more »
- The most persuasive words in the language - How much would you pay for the most persuasive words in the language? And what do you think they would be? Are there really words that can get people to do anything you want? Reality check: there are no magic words, and we cannot always get people to do what we want with words alone... Read more »
- Alan Perlman reviews Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech” - I just finished “The Kingdom of Speech,” by Tom Wolfe (2016, Little, Brown), author of “The Right Stuff” (about the first astronauts), “Bonfire of the Vanities” (a shot at NY’s elites), “A Man in Full,” (about the vulgar wealth of the New South), and many others I enjoyed immensely. Apart from his stylistic peculiarities, Wolfe... Read more »