Category: author identification

Examples from the Forensic (Linguistic) Files

Forensic linguistics – what’s that?

accmpanies post with case examples

Is a contract provision binding if its meaning is indeterminate or ambiguous?

At various places on this site, you’ll find somewhat abstract descriptions of the services I offer.  But what kinds of cases do I actually get involved in?  Examples follow (current cases excluded).

In three of my specialties, I’m about equally divided between Plaintiff and Defendant.  In cases of alleged academic plagiarism, I represent the Defendant, who typically has not committed plagiarism, even by the university’s own rules.  In cases of literary plagiarism, I represent Plaintiffs who believe that their work has been copied.

The forensic linguist and the Artful Dodger: Can people deliberately fake their writing style?

Can people disguise the way they write?

 

 

Can people deliberately fake their writing style?

By way of background…

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 may be the author of the anonymous document(s).

What is forensic stylistics?

Each writer has a distinctive pattern of linguistic features.

 

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 that they were not written by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24gray.html, :

These are the principles I apply to my authorship analyses

Principles of stylistic analysis