The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

65. Can You Use Languages to Solve Crimes?

The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

Natalie Schilling [+-]
Georgetown University
Natalie Schilling is a Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She has authored and co-authored books, articles and chapters on a wide range of topics connected to the study of language variation and change. Her publications include Sociolinguistic Fieldwork (2013, Cambridge University Press), American English: Dialects and Variation (with Walt Wolfram, 3rd edition, 2016, Wiley-Blackwell), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change (co-editor, with J.K. Chambers, 2nd edition, 2013, Wiley-Blackwell), and English in America: A Linguistic History, an audio-video course with The Great Courses. She has served as a forensic linguistic expert in cases involving authorship attribution, speaker profiling, and possible false confessions. She regularly teaches forensic linguistics, to audiences ranging from university students to FBI agents, to incarcerated individuals. Composite characters based on Dr. Schilling have in two TV series – once in the CBS series Criminal Minds (Alex Blake, FBI agent/Georgetown linguistics professor) and once in the Discovery Channel’s miniseries Manhunt: Unabomber (Natalie Rogers, a linguist at Stanford University).

Description

When there’s linguistic evidence at a crime scene, or when language itself constitutes the crime, linguists can use their expertise in the structure, meaning, and use of language to help investigators solve crimes. Forensic linguistics can involve author or speaker profiling, authorship attribution, and voice identification. While linguistic analysis of language evidence can be invaluable, forensic linguistics is not DNA analysis, and an individual’s distinctive linguistic patterns do not constitute a ‘linguistic fingerprint’. That being said, criminals still leave behind important language clues, and forensic linguistics can go a long way toward uncovering them.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Schilling, Natalie. 65. Can You Use Languages to Solve Crimes?. The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 327-330 Jul 2019. ISBN 9781781798553. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38187. Date accessed: 18 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38187. Jul 2019

Dublin Core Metadata