Institut de Lingüística Aplicada


Second European IAFL  Conference on Forensic Linguistics / Language and the Law


Curses, Swearing, and Obscene Language in Police-Suspect Interactions: Why Lawyers and Judgers Should Care
Janet Ainsworth, Seattle University
Friday, 15. (Colloquium on Communication and Comprehensibility in Legal Contexts)
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Not infrequently, police officers will use curse - that is, use extremely vulgar or obscene language - in the course of their encounters with criminal suspects. This practice has been defended as not only unobjectionable but as positively necessary to law enforcement. In this paper, I will first analyze the purposes of the use of such language generally and then go on to address its specific use by police officers in field interactions with suspects. I will discuss both the illocutionary and perlocutionary aspects of such language in this context.

Swearing - particularly by those in authority is a powerful signal of role-transgression, and as such, signals the possibility of other forms of role-transgression as well, including the possible use of physical force against the suspect. Finally, I will argue that legal doctrine must be cognizant of the impact of police swearing in determining such legal issues as whether a suspect validly consented to a search or validly waived her right not to answer police questions. I will use US caselaw to suggest that legal doctrine gives inadequate attention to this problem.

Forensic Linguistics and the Language of the Administration
Enrique Alcaraz-Varó, Universitat d'Alacant
Saturday, 16. (Plenary Session)
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The society of knowledge is the label that has been given to the first years of the third millennium. This lecture claims that in this society, the language of the Spanish Civil Administration has changed in its connection with citizens. The first thing that citizens in this society of knowledge know is their rights, and they are prepared to defend them in court against the unfair or arbitrary decisions of the Administración. An analysis of the language, especially the terms used by the Spanish Civil Administration, is carried out in this paper in its relation with law and power. It also offers a comparison of the procedures followed in Spain and in the United States to take the Civil Administration to Court. The starting statement of the paper, which was "The king is not answerable to his subjects", has noticeably changed to La Administración sí debe dar cuentas de sus decisiones a los ciudadanos in the closing statement.

When Informants don't Want to Inform: How to Get Relevant Data in the Particular Context of Linguistic Analyses for the Determination of Origin (LADO)
Eric Baltisberger, Swiss federal office for migration
Friday, 15. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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The publication of the Guidelines for the Use of Language Analysis in Relation to Questions of National Origin in Refugee Cases by a group of international linguists in 2004 has given rise to a much needed discussion about the conditions under which linguistic analyses for the determination of origin (LADO) should be carried out. The standards set by the guidelines have contributed to a new awareness when it comes to the quality of such analyses. While the discussion so far has largely focussed on the analysis, the question of how to obtain the relevant data for such analyses has not yet received the attention it deserves. LINGUA, the scientific unit within the Swiss Federal Office for Migration, is not only in charge of carrying out linguistic and socio-cultural analyses for the determination of origin but is also responsible for the training of people who conduct the interviews upon which the analyses are based. Although there is a great practical experience, the lack of research and quality standards when it comes to gathering relevant data in such a specific domain as the asylum context is strongly felt. General findings on qualitative research methods and interview techniques are certainly helpful in this regard but their use is limited given the fundamental difference that exist between interviews carried out in the context of field studies and LADO-interviews. In a planned internal research project, LINGUA will try to combine its practical experience in the domain of LADO-interviews and the existing theories of interview technique. The aim is to develop a set of minimum standards similar to the Guidelines that will enable interviewers to obtain the data relevant for the ensuing linguistic analysis. During this conference, LINGUA will present the project, the different aspects involved and, if already available, the first findings of its research.

The Jamaican Creole Speaker in the UK Criminal Justice System
Celia Brown-Blake, University of the West Indies
Friday, 15. (Language minorities and the legal system)
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The issue of diminished intelligibility between English and the Jamaican vernacular (Jamaican Creole) has been advanced by the Prime Minister of Jamaica as a factor supporting the proposal for a regional court to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, a UK-based court, as Jamaica's final appellate court. Despite some shortsightedness in the Prime Minister's remarks, they do raise the matter of the extent to which Jamaican Creole (JC) speakers, who have little or no competence in English, are understood by functionaries in the criminal justice system in the UK and the extent to which these English-speaking functionaries are understood by JC monolingual or JC-dominant speakers. The paper explores the intelligibility between the two groups of speakers. It documents excerpts of actual interviews which have taken place in the UK between JC speakers, typically persons suspected or accused of offences, and officials in the UK criminal justice system, usually police and customs officers and lawyers. Some of the interviews examined are in written form, the product of transcription, by official shorthand writers in the UK, of interviews recorded on audio tapes. These raise issues of comprehension on the part of the transcribers employed of the speech of the recorded JC speakers. The paper highlights the nature of the miscommunications or lack of communication between the parties involved and the possible legal results.

Changing Linguistic Issues in U.S. Trademark Litigation
Ronald R. Butters, Duke University
Friday, 15. (Plenary Session)
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The presentation will attempt a brief overview of the peculiarities of American trademark litigation and the linguist's role therein and will then go on to engage three issues:

  1. The increased importance of Spanish in the United States and its subsequent influence on trademark litigation;
  2. The availability of internet search engines as research tools and the consequent fundamental alteration in the nature of expert reports;
  3. Attention to ethical issues in the light of cross-national differences in standards, the availability of the internet tools discussed in (2), and recognition that some linguistic subspecialties are more relevant than others to expert opining concerning trademark litigation.

A Major Difference between English Legal Language and Brazilian Portuguese Legal Language - translating binomial expressions in legal agreements: a corpus-based study
Luciana Carvalho, Universidade de São Paulo
Saturday, 16. (Legal languages)
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This paper aims at presenting the current status of our bilingual corpus-based research of binomial expressions in legal agreements.

Binomial expressions are formed by two words belonging to the same grammatical category and joined by a conjunction (Tagnin). Some examples are: terms and conditions, any and all, executed and delivered, due and payable, successors and assigns, representations and warranties.

Binomials are an integral part of English legal language (they are present in statutory provisions, opinions, boilerplate, contracts and agreements, etc.), and as such have deserved a considerable amount of study (Mellinkoff, Bhatia, Vystrcilova, Kwok, Rossini, among others). On the other hand, the same does not apply to Brazilian Portuguese legal language in which binomial expressions are much more rare. Therefore, when dealing with binomial expressions, studies show that Brazilian translators tend to translate all the elements of a binomial literary (Corrêa Pinto) and, consequently, in many cases fail to attain the 'intended legal effect' (Sarcevic´) of the communicative event.

For this reason, to study binomials in English legal language and determine their translation equivalents in Brazilian Portuguese, we are compiling and exploring a bilingual comparable corpus made up of authentic 'agreements' and 'contratos', totaling, approximately, 600 000 words. Exploring such a corpus greatly depended on the tools and methods of Corpus Linguistics. The software used was Scott's WordSmith Tools.

Finally, the choice of text type is due to the fact that 'agreements' and 'contratos' are among the most difficult documents to translate (Mayoral Asensio), they also seem to have an incredibly high concentration of binomial expressions (Corrêa Pinto), and are among the most translated documents in the Brazilian market. In addition, certain provisions in translated agreements have been the cause of long litigation in the Brazilian Legal System.

Guidelines for Bill Drafting in Spanish Legislation
M. Teresa Castiñeira, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Pablo Salvador, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Saturday, 16. (Legal discourse)
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The July 22, 2005 resolution of the Spanish Government Cabinet approved the new Guidelines for Bill Drafting, thus modifying those Guidelines passed in 1991. In this paper we analyse these new Guidelines, the majority of which attach great importance to good practice and use of legal language. The main aim of these new Guidelines is "to attain a closer relationship with the constitutional principle of the Rule of Law, by means of increasing the technical and linguistic quality of norms". The idea is to seek linguistic correctness and norm comprehensibility at the same time.

These Guidelines establish the criteria with which the organization and display of the normative texts will have to comply. The basic divisions of the legal norms are established and very precise instructions as to the content of each of those are included. Uniform criteria as to the spelling used in each case are also proposed.

In particular, we will address section IV of these Guidelines, on "General linguistic criteria", which among other things recommends using a clear and precise language and respecting the word order of sentence elements, and appeals to linguistic correctness.

Presentation of SERP (Electronic System of Speakers Recognition)
Jordi Cicres, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Jaume Llopis, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Lluís de Yzaguirre, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Friday, 15. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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The aim of this communication is to present an on-line computer application that can assist the forensic phoneticians in several areas of their profession, which has been conceived together by ForensicLab and the Laboratory of Language Technologies, both from IULA. This application, called SERP (Electronic System of Speakers Recognition), presents several couples of samples of voice that can belong to a same speaker or to different speakers. The user, by means of a scale of opinion, has to identify the samples of voice. The application registers the result of the identifications and the time that the user has been late to complete the test. Moreover, the SERP allows to manipulate the speed of reproduction, the direction and the intensity of the voice, among other parameters that can influence on the perception.

The applications of this tool in the forensic phonetics field are, among other:

  • Evaluation of the ability of the users in the auditory identification of speakers.
  • Checking of the progression of the phoneticians regarding their ability in the auditory identification of speakers.
  • Construction of perception tests with naïve users to measure the level of confusion among determinate voices.
  • Evaluation of the effect of the level and type of background noise in the identification.
  • Evaluation of the effect of the speed of reproduction of the voices in their identification.
  • Calculation of the correlation between the time of decision and the degree of success in the identification.

The communication will include the presentation of the design of an experiment of validation made with an extensive sample of potential users.

Judicial Syntax: A U.S. History
Effie Cochran, John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY
Alice Deakins, William Paterson University
Saturday, 16. (Legal languages)
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Writing challenges abound for pre-law and law students at our U.S. Colleges and Universities. Among the many types of written expression, the legal register is fraught with obfuscation and dryness. How much of this is syntactic? This paper will raise two questions. First, is there continuity over time in good legal syntax? Is there syntactic similarity between good opinions and good briefs?

In this paper, Deakins and Cochran will explore the syntax of the opinions of three US Supreme Court Justices from each of three centuries-- the 19th, the 20th, and the 21st. What characterizes the syntax of those justices considered by contemporary lawyers to be skilled writers? Their syntax will then be compared to early and final drafts of three legal briefs, considered well-written in their final drafts, to answer the question of whether revisions of the briefs move toward the syntax of the opinions.

LEGAL PROCESS:The Relations between the "Principle of Justification and the Textual Construction of the Brazilian "Decision Making"
Virgínia Colares, Universidade Católica de Pernambuco_Brazil
Saturday, 16. (Legal discourse)
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The Brazilian legal community, as a result of its linguistic training and professional socialization, accepts as 'natural' and non-problematic texts which are marked by power asymmetries, like those presented in court during actual cases. This paper reports preliminary findings from an interdisciplinary research project investigating written 'decision making' in judicial judgments. The methodology is draw from Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), which investigates the production, distribution and consumption of real texts within actual social practices, rather than focusing on the hypothetical idealized products of textual stereotypes, derived from the principles of legal dogma. In the ten written texts of judicial decisions analyzed it was evident that the arguments didn't follow the abstract pattern of traditional syllogistic logic, which separates the juridical content from practical considerations on the principle of justification in Brazilian legislation. In fact, the textual construction of the judgment was located in the social dimension of praxis, taking into account a variety of arguments, rather than relying on a formal system.

In My Opinion
Malcolm Coulthard, Aston University
Thursday, 14. (Plenary Session)
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In July last year an internationally renowned British pediatrician was severely censured by his professional body and then struck off the medical register following damning criticism of expert evidence he had given in several cases of sudden infant death syndrome. He continued to assert the correctness of his opinions, but did concede that he may have been wrong to express them in terms of exaggerated and over-persuasive probabilities.

In this paper I will use examples from real court cases to illustrate the problems facing the forensic linguist when s/he is asked to rate the strength of the evidence s/he is giving. I will relate what I have to say to the two levels of proof in British Courts - 'on the balance of probabilities 'and 'beyond reasonable doubt'.

Computer-aided Text Processing in Forensic Linguistics: The KISTE System of the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA)
Sabine Ehrhardt, German Federal Criminal Police Office
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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KISTE as a German acronym stands for forensic database "texts". KISTE (in the latest version completed in 2003 but nevertheless in a ongoing process of improvement) is intended to contribute to linguistic work on incriminated texts. Incriminated texts are those that appear in criminal contexts or that constitute a criminal offence by themselves, e. g. letters of extortion or threat. It is the aim of text analysis supported by KISTE to find rela-tions between cases and to apply statistical methods to linguistic features.

This paper will present

  1. some aspects of forensic linguistics at the BKA and I will focus on what we call text analysis as well as on our text corpus of incriminated texts KISTE
  2. I will show some details of KISTE, essentially the grammatical processes of deflection and word determination on the one hand, as well as research strategies that help us to evaluate the statistical relevance of a certain language feature on the basis of the distribution of linguistic findings on the other hand. I will discuss authentic examples of in-criminated texts in order to demonstrate how these texts are processed with the help of KISTE and to show further functions of KISTE available to the linguist.

The Functions of Silence in Legal Context: Silence as Consent and the Right of Silence
Michal Ephratt, Univeristy of Haifa
Saturday, 16. (Law on language)
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We wish to provide a linguistic-pragmatic solution to the seeming contradiction between 'silence as consent' and 'the right of silence'. Our contribution sets out from the following:

  1. Roman Jakobson's model of the functions of language. In his paper of 1960 Jakobson shows that making salient one of the six components partaking in communication yields a unique language function. Thus, emphasizing the world - the referent - as the outstanding component of discourse results in the referential function, locating the addresser as the center fosters the emotive function and locating the addressee results in the connotative function (speech act s being the typical case thereof). The phatic function takes place when the contact the actual means of communication is at the center. When emphasizing the organization of the message the poetic function is at work. Finally, the metalanguage function is the one in which the discourse is concerned with the code itself.
  2. Clear differentiation between pause: an insignificant lack-of-speech, a pause in the flow of speech and silence: a meaningful means of communication along side speech.

Typically - bona fide - use of silence as consent assumes that the accused will make his at most to appear innocent. Thus, keeping silent is taken as a speech act of consent. Discoursewise, due to its parsimony: not repeating each and every fact or claim but acting as a pro to all that was said before, silence may act as the preferred expositive means for expressing such consent (connotative function). The right of silence as a metalinguistic function must be declared right before any interaction between the suspect and authorities since it is the only possible immunity to secure that the suspect's idiolect: style, accent, vocabulary, fluency etc will not directly or indirectly result in self-incrimination. This is why explicit statement of the Miranda warning but not "Qui tacet consentire videtor" is imposed in many judicial systems.

We shall support our interpretation of the two functions of silence with cases and rulings brought to court, including the matter of the eligibility to the right of silence regarding public representatives.

Prosodic Profiles of Suspects' Responses
Lorna Fadden, Simon Fraser University
Friday, 15. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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This paper reports the results of a study on the prosody of two groups of Western Canadian suspects' speech as it occurs during the course of investigative interviews with police. The suspects under examination are first-time offenders and repeat offenders. Based on interviews conducted by the Vancouver Police Department, I offer an examination of the prosodic characteristics of pitch range, average pitch, speech rate and pause durations across various categories of responses, comparing these two groups.

Walton (2003) characterizes the police interview as a "subspecies of information seeking dialogue" (p. 1775). Whereas other interview types, and indeed many other conversation genres, are information seeking and sharing exchanges, the police interview is non-collaborative. The investigator alone drives the turn-taking with questions and assertions (prompts) which elicit continuous suspect response. Their responses are categorized according to the type of information they contain, and include the following:

  • Confirm information - suspect confirms the information contained in the investigator's prompt (Hill 2003).
  • Reject information - suspect rejects the information contained in the investigator's prompt (Hill 2003).
  • Offer information - suspect offers information related to the investigator's prompt.
  • Irrelevant information - suspect offers information that is not relevant to the investigator's prompt.
  • Concession - suspect concedes to committing an act, although not the same act alleged by the investigator.
  • Confession - suspect confesses to a crime or crimes.

It will be shown that the various response types pattern consistently with respect to prosodic behavior within groups, and that the two groups show significant differences. On the basis of my findings, profiles composed of prosodic characteristics can be created for each response type, for each of the two groups. It will also be shown how these prosodic profiles align with previous research on the prosody-emotion interface.

  • Hill, Martin. (2003). Identifying the source of critic details in confessions. Forensic
    Linguistics 10 (1), 23-61.
  • Walton, Douglas. (2003). The interrogation as a type of dialogue. Journal of Pragmatics
    35, 1771-1802.

Jargon Classification: Rhetorical and Persuasion in Speech of the Court of Jury in Brazil
Valda Fagundes, Litterae Assessoria e Produções Culturais
Friday, 15. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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Epigraph "While many groups of people define their identity by using the jargon, another group, the critical group, defines theirs by rejecting the other's jargons." We have been searching about the comprehension of the legal texts since 1985, studying mainly the speeches written in the Court of Popular Jury, in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Studies done about the comprehension of the accused, the juror and the legal texts didn't seem to have a similar linguistic ability of any other speaker to confront/face this kind of text, and it is right there where the scientists put their voices to the jury in the confronted position (Atkinson and Drew, 1979). Undoubtedly, the legal language is shown most of the time as a hermetic language and also an unintelligible language. In the studied speeches, this is one of its own characteristics, but we don't consider the legal jargon a special language as to its own rules, but it is strategic linguistic (using lexical items, expressions or proverbs in Latin and archaisms), they produce specific and efficient effects. From the argumentative point of view, we can affirm that its introduction in the practical way, builds to each specific speech a base which is former. Besides showing technical expressions (which is proper for the legal practice), the legal jargon also uses expressions in Latin. We'll show the differentiations between the techniques of the Latin expressions, how they argumentatively work and some reasons why to introduce this to the legal practice. We'll work on some examples that will show that it's not strange that the language of the courts uses a jargon that comes from old times, and takes trough the years, a precious content. Its use, the jurists say, would show some advantages like: use of Latin expressions (known in the Portuguese literature as Brocardos Latinos), it would avoid, according to the jurists, the risks of polissemia.

Dialect Imitations in Speaker Recognition
Mireia Farrús, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Erik Eriksson, Umeå University
Kirk P. H. Sullivan, Umeå University
Friday, 15. (Legal discourse)
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Voice imitation and disguise are possible threats to the performance of a speaker recognition system and to the accuracy of earwitness descriptions. One common disguise is the modification of the own dialect or accent. In this paper, this kind of disguising is explored, using recordings from a well-known actor with considerable experience of dialect and accent imitation.

In order to see how successful his dialect imitations are and how the process of speaker discrimination is influenced by accent disguise, two sets human perception tests were constructed. One set focused on American and British English dialects, and one set on American and London English accents and Spanish-accented English. Each set consisted of three parts: a same-different speaker test, a same-different accent test, and a select the accent from a closed-set of options test. The results show that Johnny Depp is successful without his visual props and demonstrate a high correlation between the quality of the accent imitations and the failure of the human listeners to recognize that the voices come from the same speaker. The third parts of the experimental sets suggest the importance of familiarity with the accent that feeds into parts one and two. Spanish listeners, for example, are less accepting of the Spanish-accented English than non-Spanish speakers. Furthermore, the results afford a detailed understanding of voice behaviour in this specific kind of imitation, locating the importance of prosody and dialectal phonetic features to a non-initially expected level.

Finally, the same speech segments used in the perception test were used in an automatic speaker recognition experiment in order to compare the results and to check the robustness of the system in front of the voice changes. The results showed, once again, a low correlation between human and automatic speaker recognition.

The Function of the Sworn Translation in Spain in the Cases of Translation of Spanish Legal Documents into English
Elena Ferran, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Saturday, 16. (Language minorities and the legal system)
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Sworn translators are subject to legal and sociological factors that condition their function. Such factors determine a specific way of intervention and translation. We further deal with them to show the scope of the translator's function in our legal system and the influence and tension between the two legal cultures. Once again, legal translation appears as a cultural translation where one culture prevails over the other one or else a new hybrid culture is created as a bargaining game between the two. We address in particular to cultural untranslatable items in the text, since the function and method used by the translator are disclosed clearly by observing how the translator deals with those items, in this case in the context of the translation of Civil-Law documents (in Catalan, Spanish, French, etc.) into English, the legal language of the Common-Law. The issuer of the original document in Spanish (notary, judge, lawyer, etc), for example, sometimes refers to the presence and function of the sworn translator and, of course, the translator himself refers to his own function in the target text, the translation, particularly at the end of the document, where he usually stamps his "certify", signature and seal and also throughout the document, in his explanatory footnotes, where he leaves a trace of the method of translation he has used. We have mainly focused on notarial and procedural documents (a will granted before a Spanish notary/testamento notarial, a document of acknowledgment issued by a notary/acta notarial, notarial deeds/escrituras notariales, the statement of claim for the judicial enforcement in Spain of a foreign judgement/demanda de exequatur). In such cases, it is the notary or lawyer himself who mentions and sometimes defines the function of the sworn translator. Furthermore, this type of document, as it is a solemn document and it constantly refers to the different sources of law (laws and case-law) can be very useful when it comes to observing how solemnities are cultural and thus untranslatable and how the different types of document (genres) and sources of law referred to in the document also have a clear cultural nature.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Communicated Threat Assessment Database: Its History, Design, and Implementation
James Fitzgerald, FBI
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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A public corpora is defined as a body of data which can serve as the basis for linguistic analysis and description and which is available to linguists in general either as an identifiable whole or from easily accessible materials.

Databases/corpora in law enforcement are not new and several have been in existence for a decade or more. For example, the FBI's "Anonymous Letter File" is located at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, (U.S.). Its corpus contains bank robbery demand notes, high profile kidnapping and extortion notes/letters. In this database, only keywords are entered, and any subsequent searches will result in only those enteres lexical feature being recognized.

Other corpora include the British National Corpus and the American National Corpus.

The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit-1's responsibilities include behaviorally oriented investigative assistance in all matters relating to counterterrorrism and threat assessment and the analysis of textual material. In conjuction with the BAU-1's responsibility in these areas, the Unit designed and recently implemented of the Communicated Threat Assessment Database (CTAD). The CTAD is a computerized query-oriented database/software program designed to be the primary repository for all communicated threats and other criminally oriented communications within the FBI. Its purpose is to assist the BAU-1 Agents and analysts in the categorizing, analyzing and assessing of the various communications. Text from the entire document, to include transmittal envelopes (if applicable) are entered, not just keywords.

The CTAD is presently the only database in the United States which catelogues all varieties of threatening communications, searches them for commonalities, and provides numerous analytical and research tools.

It was designed from a forensic linguistic and behavioral perspective, and includes numerous components related to each. The submitted threatening communications are placed into 22 separate categories, and issues relating to sex, age, race, nativeness, register shifting, etc., are captured both in the "Linguistic Profile" section, and "Case Data Confirmed" section. There are presently 1,500+ threatening communications contained within the CTAD. It is expected to double in size in the next year.

Automatic Authorship Identification
Katerina T. Frantzi, University of the Aegean
Sophia Ananiadou, National Centre for Text Mining. School of Informatics. University of Manchester
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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The scope of this paper is to facilitate authorship identification by applying corpus based techniques on electronic textual resources. Our domain of application is proclamations by terrorist groups in Greek. The use of computational techniques can provide efficient, systematic and precise information which is not possible by human judgment alone. Our application study is the testimonies of the "17th November" ("17N") Greek terrorist group. In the summer of 2002, members of this group were arrested and the case is currently in court. We focus on the textual processing of their testimonies, trying to establish authorship of the proclamations. Proclamations were sent to Greek newspapers, immediately following a 17N terrorist attack. By 2002, 84 proclamations have been gathered. However, none of those accused to be members of the 17N admitted authorship of the proclamations. Based on a set of linguistic and extra-linguistic features, we match information from the testimonies with the proclamations of the 17N.

We have applied corpus linguistics analysis on each of the 17N members' testimonies, to acquire linguistic and extra-linguistic information for characterizing a person's use of language (idiolect). Features regarding linguistic information include frequency word lists, frequency expression lists, number of different words, etc. Attention is given to rare co-occurrences as well since they can depict idiolectic usage. Regarding extra-linguistic information, we have examined content words and expressions, i.e. those that give information on the content of the text. We have produced linguistic and extra-linguistic profiles for each member based on the weighted features extracted from each testimony. A comparison between the testimonies and the proclamations, in terms of their feature set, provides information on the degree of language similarity between them. Future work will include automatic multilingual processing of terrorist group proclamations in Arabic and English.

Where is the guarantee term? An interactional perspective
Paulo Gago, Federal University of Juiz de Fora
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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This paper draws on the discussion concerning language use in context, social interaction, social structure and the law. Usually law codes (e.g., the civil code), as written documents, are seen as guidelines for behavior of people in the social world, which must/should be followed, in order to maintain the order of society. As such, social order (and structure), a central theme in Sociology (as other traditional macrosociological objects, such as class, sex, religion) acts in a top-down manner. However, in Microsociology, namely in Ethnomethodological Conversation Analysis, social structure is "an everyday, practical accomplishment" (ZIMMERMAN & BODEN, 1991:4). It is something people actively construct, maintain and change through direct interaction with others, i.e., social -interaction is central for the workings of institutions in society: people live and do get things done mostly through direct language interactional with others, for ordinary conversation is the matrix genre of interaction, from which all other conversational forms, considered institutional, departure (SACKS, SCHEGLOFF, JEFFERSON, 1974). In this perspective, social structure is something that emerges fundamentally in the microworld of the social encounter, as Goffman indicated some 30 years ago. In this paper we show face to face interactional data from a conciliation hearing in consumer relations from Brazil, where a complainant, a respondent, and a mediator discuss the guarantee term for a second hand car. Our claim is that, although there is a code to regulate and stipulates what is covered by the guarantee term, the negotiational moves occurred in the direct social interaction is the only guarantee possible and effective. This implies that ethics is something that lies in the inter-individual dimension and, in this sense, comes from the bottom, not from the top.

Notes on Trial: Analyzing the Quality of Written Communication Between Deaf People and the Police
Philip Gaines, Montana State University
Friday, 15. (Colloquium on Communication and Comprehensibility in Legal Contexts)
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Following a police traffic stop, a deaf couple brought suit against a police department in an American city, charging several officers with unfair treatment. The plaintiffs claimed that the officers, rather than providing a deaf interpreter, insisted on using handwritten notes to explain the details of the situation to the couple and to ask them questions, thereby making it impossible for the parties to communicate effectively. I was asked by an attorney for the defendant to examine the notes, written by both the police officers and the couple, to determine whether or not effective communication had taken place.

My analysis involved examining 1) the clarity of the police officers written communication and 2) evidence for comprehension and communicative competence on the part of the deaf couple, as well as markers of their competence as English users--including lexis, morphology, syntax, and semantics. My presentation will show the materials and methods used, explain the determination I made, and give the outcome of the case. If time allows, I will also open a discussion of some of the ethical questions involved in advocating for government agencies in their legal conflicts with handicapped populations.

Oracles, Puppets and Social Engineers: SomeThoughts on the Language ofJudges
Ramón Garrido Nombela, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Madrid)
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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Oracles, puppets and social engineers: some thoughts on the language of judges The controversy about legal language and its target public literally dates back centuries and it is fair to predict that is shall drag on for the foreseeable future. While some reasonable measures to reform this language are proposed, other solutions often advanced in this area do not seem feasible and can be merely considered wishful thinking. This is probably due to the fact that they do not distinguish clearly between different texts and documents and their target readers.

Its is evident that to speak about legal language implies understanding law as a communicative process (Nelken, 1996). At the same time, judgments, the prototypic judicial text, reflect better than any other documents the concept of legal culture and all conditioning factors implied therein. By legal culture we understand, among other things, the use of a certain language and a certain communicative style that can modulate the intelligibility of the issued text. Other factors, such as social origin, mentality and awareness of the special role played in society, have a bearing on the question. The title of this paper refers to the different roles assumed by, or attributed to, judges in the course of history.

A comparative analysis of the communicative style of judgments issued by different courts will bring some insight on the weight of legal cultures in texts of different origin. At the same time, the decisive role of international courts is increasingly showing the possibilities and limitations of a common legal (and therefore linguistic) ground that is being created sep by sep. The area is of particular relevance for all actors involved in the process of analysis, construction or translation of this type of legal texts.

Competing Narratives in Chilean Courtrooms
John Gibbons, University of New South Wales
Friday, 15. (Legal discourse)
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Chilean courtroom procedure includes obtaining statements from the witnesses, both for and against the defendant. The data for this study are tape recordings of Chilean court testimony by witnesses, and the official written statements of this testimony. They provide different accounts of the same events, not elicited element by element as in much Common Law testimony, but in a largely open narrative style, which encourages the expression of the witness's view of events.

This paper compares and contrasts the competing views of the same event as presented by different witnesses, and also examines the way in which the 'relator' who takes the testimony may modify the narratives in the written statement. It examines both the linguistic resources and the discourse elements used to construct the competing versions.

"His Account is very cursory and vague, which does not Serve his Credibility": Relations between Transformations in the Written Rendition of Asylum Applicants' Accounts and Reasons for Inadmissibility Given by Asylum Agencies
Isabel Gómez Díez, Universitat Pompeu Fabra & Univesiteit Antwerpen
Saturday, 16. (Language minorities and the legal system)
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In asylum application interviews in Belgium, applicants are asked to relate their reasons for leaving their country of origin. The goals of these interviews are to assess the applicant's credibility and to assess whether the reasons correspond to those specified in the Geneva Convention. Due to the existence of fake accounts that are handed on from one applicant to another, the asylum agencies appreciate detailed and personalized accounts. During the interviews, the alleged reasons for leaving the country of origin are recorded in a written text by the interviewers. This text is transmitted to the decision-makers who base their decisions solely on the information recorded in it.

The rendition of a non-institutional oral first generation genre (the narrative of escape) to an institutional written second generation genre (a factual account of the claimed events) entails transformations and omissions from the original text. This paper analyses seven admissibility interviews conducted in Brussels and discusses the relations between the said transformations and the inadmissibility reasons given by the asylum agencies.

The analysis yields the following results. First, there is evidence that the decision-makers do not base their decisions solely on the written account but also on interviewers' comments about the applicant's performance during the interview. Indeed, some inadmissibility reasons cannot be seen to emerge from the information recorded in the written report. Secondly, the categorization of the applicant's experience in the interviewer's terms by means of the introduction of legal terminology, the replacement of terms from African varieties of French by Standard French, the use of distancing devices such as passivization, the formalization of register and the increased level of abstraction through nominalizations all contribute to a standardization of the account. Finally, some transformations clash with the criteria used by forensic psychology to detect deception through the analysis of verbal content with techniques such as Criteria based content analysis.

Forensic Dialectology and Cognitive Linguistics
Peter Gottschligg, University of Bayreuth
Friday, 15. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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When language analysis is used in asylum cases to provid

e evidence regarding an applicant's claims of his national or ethnic origin, his utterances recorded for this purpose can be analysed on two levels, which are quite different but nonetheless closely related. Firstly and ideally, the phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical features are identified in their ideolectal configuration as belonging to one language or one or more dialects of a language. Secondly, the semantic or conceptual content of the applicant's utterances is evaluated to ascertain whether or not it reflects what is considered "true" and "sufficient" knowledge of his alleged country of origin or some special geographical and/or social settings therein.

While it is becoming more and more generally accepted that evidence concerning phonological or grammatical features ought to be established and presented within a scientifically acceptable linguistic framework, the further evaluation of the applicant's knowledge relies exclusively on the intuition of the analyst and the relevant practical experience he is assumed to have.

Any content analysis, however, operates on the level of the applicant's linguistic representations of his concepts. Cognitive Linguistics has developed models of conceptualisation as well as experimental procedures and elicitation techniques to uncover the structure and content of such concepts.

Drawing on actual cases and research conducted independently in the African field, this paper aims to explore the feasibility of applying models and methods developed in Cognitive Linguistics to the content analysis of an applicant's utterances in asylum cases. Special attention is given to their implications in the planning of interviews, the use of pictures as stimuli and cognitive semantics.

¿Qué pasó? Building the Story of a Capital Case
Mel Greenlee, California Appellate Project
Saturday, 16. (Legal discourse)
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Analyses of attorneys' arguments to juries in adversarial courtrooms have long recognized that the outcome of a criminal case depends not only on the strength of the evidence, but on the persuasiveness of competing narratives about the events in question and about the defendant's specific role in those events, in deciding guilt or innocence.

In capital trials, sentencing juries must, in addition, weigh narratives concerning the defendant's character and background, in deciding a life or death verdict. Post-trial interviews with capital jurors have shown show that in the deliberation room, these competing stories may take on a life of their own which drives decision making. (Fleury-Steiner, B. 2004. Jurors' Stories of Death.) The wording of the judge's instructions and jurors' incomprehension of these guidelines may also contribute to the influence of the larger society's biases in their sentencing decision, as jurors struggle for unanimity.

This paper compares the language and themes of the competing story lines in a small number of California capital cases as they were presented in the courtroom, the news media, and the reviewing court's opinion, examining the manner in which the story of the case (and the defendant) is shaped and directed in its passage through the trial and postconviction period.

Forensic speech analysis and the logically-coherent expression of conclusions
Philip Harrison, York University
Friday, 15. (Plenary Session)
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In the first part of the talk the range and variety of work carried out by forensic speech scientists will be discussed. This includes speaker identification, speaker profiling and disputed utterance analysis. Each of these areas will be exemplified with real case material and the analysis techniques employed will be presented. Some more unusual and interesting cases will also be discussed.

The second part of the talk will examine how the results and conclusions of speaker identification examinations are presented. Until recently nearly all scientists in this field presented their conclusions in a logically-flawed way which is known as the 'prosecutor's fallacy'. This will be explained and exemplified. A new method of presenting speaker identification results, which avoids the logical flaw, will be examined together with a modified version tailored to forensic authorship analysis.

Police Interview Discourse and its Role(s) in the English Judicial Process
Kate Haworth, University of Nottingham
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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This paper involves an analysis of the role of police interview discourse throughout the English judicial process. The form and function of interview data is traced through the system from the original interview itself through to its use as evidence at trial. This process is illustrated by using the trial of Dr. Harold Shipman as a case study. I will also draw on my own corpus of recent English police interview data.

In terms of its function, interview data is used for various purposes by a variety of different audiences: the police, Crown Prosecution Service, trial lawyers, judge and jury. Using a multi-method approach combining CA, CDA and pragmatics, I examine the effect of the different future audiences and purposes on the dynamics of the interaction in terms of the 'audience awareness' and goal orientation of the interview participants. I also consider the consequences at trial of the participants failing to take such factors into consideration.

In terms of its form, I assess the transformation of interview data through the judicial process. The original interaction is audio-recorded, and the tape is converted to a written transcript by police clerks. Features such as discourse markers, interruption and overlap are routinely omitted. The data is then introduced as evidence in court by the transcript being read out as a 'script' with a police witness acting as the interviewer and, more disturbingly, with prosecuting counsel taking the defendant's turns. I assess the effect this has on the data and hence on the legitimacy of the subsequent uses to which it is put.

This paper aims to illustrate the ways in which linguistics can contribute to improving and enhancing the use of interview data throughout the judicial process. The conclusions reached are based partly on the author's own experiences as a practising barrister.

'Legal-Lay Discourse'
Chris Heffer, Cardiff University
Friday, 15. (Legal discourse)
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'Legal language' is often talked of as if it were a monolithic entity which is necessarily produced when lawyers open their mouths or put pens to paper in a legal context. Researchers into the nature of legal language have understandably focussed on written legal language, since it is there that distinctive patterns in lexical and syntactic choices (e.g. archaic vocabulary and nominalisation) are most evident. However, such analysis then tends to be extended to contexts such as the trial where such lexicosyntactic patterns are far less evident. One might account for this by claiming that various registers co-exist in the trial, so that at any one time, a lawyer might be speaking 'legal English' or 'standard English'. This paper, on the other hand, suggests that a hybrid form of discourse emerges when legal professionals communicate with lay participants: a form of discourse which shows few of the prototypical registral features of 'legal' discourse, but one which is also distinct from everyday lay forms of discourse. Drawing on the results of extensive analysis of the language of legal professionals in English jury trials (Heffer 2005), this paper outlines some of the major aspects of this 'legal-lay discourse': hybridity, multiple reception roles, persuasive aims, strategic tension, and genre dependency. It is claimed that the notion of 'legal-lay discourse' clarifies and helps extend our understanding of the communicational dynamics of trial by jury.

Laughing at your own Jokes: The Use of Humour in Police Interviews.
Georgina Heydon, Monash University
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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This paper explores the particular implications of humour in the context of the police evidentiary interview. The use of humour represents a conversational routine which will obligate participants in an interaction to respond in culturally specified ways. Drawing on recorded police interview data, this paper finds that the interactional obligations placed on participants in the interviews by humour make it a powerful resource both for suspects and for police interviewers. Moreover, the conventions of joke-telling in ordinary conversation, such as 'being a good audience' are often ignored by joke recipients in the police interview in favour of interactional displays of power, leaving joke tellers to 'laugh at their own jokes'. Importantly, the turn-by-turn analysis of jokes in police interviews provides another angle from which to view the negotiation of discursive power between participants, and the institutional consequences of the hostility which underlies such interactions.

A Linguistic Exploration of Trademark Dilution
Syûgo Hotta, Ritsumeikan University
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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The concept of trademark dilution has been a long-standing problem in law since its inception by Professor Schechter in the 1920's. The discussion on this topic in the US, and Japan as well, has been gaining momentum by the introduction of the US Federal Trademark Dilution Act in 1995, which in turn has gotten itself rather superfluous and stuck in the mud. Japan, US, and Canada all have anti-dilution laws or provisions, but they differ in the architecture of their respective anti-dilution laws. Despite such differences, the essence of the phenomenon is consistent throughout those jurisdictions: anti-dilution laws essentially deal with a linguistic phenomenon-diachronic and synchronic semantic change of linguistic expressions. The law stands before it as a factor that can either facilitate or impede the change, which then creates gaps between dilution as a linguistic phenomenon and as a legal phenomenon. Despite recent rapid growth of interest in linguistic research on trademarks, little attention has been paid to dilution in the linguistic literature. This study aims to identify the gaps between them and looks at ways to fill in the gaps. In so doing, some basic, somewhat classical notions and concepts in linguistics such as polysemy, synonymy, markedness, etc, will be employed and modified so as to fit the legal analysis of dilution, which will then fill the gaps between law and linguistics. This study will contribute to the study of law in that it offers a novel insight into the issue in the legal literature; it will contribute to the linguistic study as well in that it sheds light on the area in which little study has been done from a linguistic point of view and opens a way for an otherwise niche market of linguistic research to a larger market, i.e., society.

The Psycholinguistic Foundation of Trademarks: An Experimental Study
Syûgo Hotta, Ritsumeikan University
Masahiro Fujita, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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An increasing number of studies in linguistics have focused on trademarks. Since trademark confusion is essentially a matter of cognition of words, it is indispensable to scrutinize trademarks in terms of how we "understand" and "perceive" the language in trademarks: theoretical linguistics is the study that delves into the mechanisms of how people understand a given linguistic expression; expertise in experimental psychology helps examine the actual perception of the linguistic expression. Therefore, the collaboration of these two fields will be a powerful, inevitable tool for examination of trademarks. However, little research on trademarks has been done from this perspective. Accordingly, legal standards in use in trademark practice scarcely reflect it. Furthermore, most existing linguistic studies of trademarks are simply case studies; few studies have attempted to construct general principles or standards for examination of trademarks. Such lack in general methodological standards may be a cause for little reliance on the linguistic expertise as well. Our research to be presented in this paper is intended to establish a foundation of the collaborative methodologies in an attempt to offer such a standard. We will show two experimental studies of recognition of trademarks in terms of reaction time of participants visually exposed to stimulus words which differ in their phonological, morphological, and semantic structures. Our analysis will contribute not only to linguistics but also to trademark practice in that it will provide more consistent and empirically-grounded standards for the analysis of linguistic aspects of trademarks.

The Precision Myth in the Legal Field and a Cognitive Linguistics View of Legal Language
Karol Janicki, University of Bergen
Thursday, 14. (Colloquium on Law and Cognition)
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Ungerer and Schmidt (1996) claim that in the legal field precise and rigid definitions reflecting classical categorization are possible. Contrary to this claim, some researchers take if for granted (e.g., Tiersma 1999) that precision in legal language is a myth. I endorse the latter view and give reasons for adopting it. Subsequently I claim that the legal register, like any other, can only be made relatively precise (but never ultimately precise) by using terms placed relatively low on the ladder of abstraction (Hayakawa 1963). Besides, legal concepts, like any other natural language concepts, may be viewed as prototypes including a central core, periphery and borderline areas. It may be assumed that people (lawyers, jury, defendants, etc.) will largely agree about what a legal term means when examples pertaining to the core of the concept standing behind it are discussed; there will be less and less agreement as to the meaning of a term the further away from the core the examples are. Most disagreement, hesitation, and conflict will take place when borderline examples are tackled. The Clinton-Lewinsky case will be brought up to illustrate the last point. Although this may be very difficult in practice, representatives of the legal profession should try to ensure that participants in legal cases live by similar prototypes for concepts/terms used in a particular case. Otherwise miscommunication may be significant and verdicts and sentences dramatically unjust. Hayakawa. S.I. 1963. Language in thought and action. London: George Allen and Unwinn Ltd. Tiersma, Peter. M. Legal language. 1999. Chicago. The University of Chicago Press. Ungerer. F. and H.-J-Schmid. 1996. An introduction to cognitive linguistics. London: Longman.

Things Fall Apart - What Happens when Students Fail to Write
Alison Johnson, University of Huddersfield
David Woolls, CFL Software Development
Friday, 15. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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Over the last decade linguistic studies have focused on manual and computationally assisted detection of plagiarism with particular reference to lexical similarities in authorship in student writing (Coulthard, 2004; Johnson, 1997; Woolls 2003 & 2006). This paper addresses some of the pedagogic and practical issues that arise when we examine what students actually do with the material they share between each other or take from electronic sources. The authors demonstrate an action research approach that is methodologically responsive to pedagogical and disciplinary needs whilst being developmental in the design of software that is of practical effect in academic and commercial contexts.

Data includes two case studies: one includes examples of three students' writing that illustrates instances of acknowledged failure to cite web sources in an essay question which discusses Achebe's novel: Things Fall Apart. We examine the different strategies used when taking material from web sources: cut-and-paste, re-arrangement, insertion, omission and 'patchwriting' (Howard, 1999; Pecorari, 2002). We then look at the inter-relationships between texts, sources and writers, citation practices and challenge presented by the material for detection and academic writing support. A second case considers the rewriting of extended unacknowledged passages from a published book, examining the problematic adaptive strategies used by the student.

The implications of these case studies are considered, suggesting that computational and manual analysis of cases of plagiarism has preventative potential. By examining what happens when some students fail to write it is possible to equip future leaner-writers for the challenging task of successful academic writing.

Listening to Silence: Interpretation and Transcription of Pause in Deposition
Tyler Kendall, Duke University
Friday, 15. (Colloquium on Communication and Comprehensibility in Legal Contexts)
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Silence in speech is a critical part of expression, and pause realization, and the variation therein, can carry differences in both speaker-generated (subconsciously or consciously) and hearer-perceived meaning. While pause needs to receive further focus in linguistics generally, it is especially crucial that investigations under the category "Language & Law" deal with pause in an explicit and thorough way, since these analyses often have real-world implications.

Although our understanding of the psychological and cognitive factors behind pause realization is still being developed, studies focusing on pause have begun to yield important findings. In the forensic linguistic literature, a few scholars have fruitfully examined the role of pause in such areas as hearing testimony (e.g., Mendoza-Denton 1995) and deposition (e.g., Walker 1985). These studies have focused on the role of silence in the generation and interpretation of meaning. At the same time, there is evidence that pause varies in socially derived ways, beyond intentional (or subconscious) action. Campione and Véronis (2002) found that pause duration varies in statistically significant ways between languages. My recent research (Kendall 2006) has found evidence that pause realization varies along social axes (e.g., gender and/or ethnicity). In short, pause can carry speaker-generated meaning, but can also be misinterpreted by listeners based on cultural and social differences. These studies highlight the need to re-examine our thinking about and treatment of pause.

In this paper, I focus on the importance of accurately transcribing pause. I compare pauses in the videotaped deposition of an expert witness with the treatment of those same pauses in transcripts prepared by court reporters. I show how the practice of not indicating pause in the deposition transcription often creates opportunity for misinterpretations, and I argue that even simple changes to deposition transcription practices will result in better understanding of these statements.

Plain Language- The Interface between Audience and Organisation
Khanh Duc Kuttig, Heinrich-Heine University of Dusseldorf
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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We all encounter situations where we receive some kind of text and find that even though it is written in a language we are familiar with, we are unable to get to the heart of the message. Indeed, we find examples of complex language in almost every aspect of day to day life- websites, technical instructions and even in newspapers.

The importance and necessity of plain language is often underestimated. Whether it is a legal brief, a procedure, a brochure, or a newsletter; whether you are managing a business department, maintaining a website, or training workers you need plain language. It is language which everyone can easily understand. Gone are the days when publications were written with a vocabulary and syntax modified in the pursuit of precision. Today, the comprehensibility of a text outweighs the need for its precision.

Because plain language is communication designed to meet the needs of the intended audience, this audience has to be identified first. Therefore, plain language is not a certain style of writing; it is not text-based but reader based. A document which is written in plain language should adequately convey the writer's intentions. The best way to communicate intentions is through the organisation of information.

An example of plain language which I wish to present is from the United Kingdom's Home Office and its brochures and application forms for visas.

My reasons for choosing this example is based on the principle behind plain language: the audience and the organisation of information. In the first part of my presentation, I will show how both have been taken into account in the drafting of the information brochures and application forms. The second part of my presentation will be an evaluation of the work based on my own survey.

Perspectives on Rape, Abuse, Victim & Abuser: Reasoning with Mental Spaces
June Luchjenbroers, University of Wales
Michelle Aldridge, Cardiff University
Thursday, 14. (Plenary Session)
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With an emphasis on the linguistic experiences of rape victims in the UK legal system, this paper is a consideration of recent innovations in cognitive semantics that offer important methodological tools for the analysis of legal encounters. The particular concepts to be discussed in this paper include conceptual frames and mental spaces theory to shed light on how perceptions of guilt and victim-hood are cultivated by the questioning barrister's lexical choices. Frames are culturally accepted information sets surrounding every lexical item used in discourse. The appropriateness of the chosen frame is of key importance to a frequent phenomenon in courtroom discourse, 'smuggling' information (cf. Luchjenbroers, 1993), where non-asserted (and often negative) information is covertly inserted into a witness's testimony. For example, when a rape victim 'corrects' a barrister's characterization of the type of establishment she had been to on the night in question (e.g., 'bar' is replaced with 'club'), she is rejecting more than just the name; she is rejecting the entire social scene and conduct association with a 'bar'. Similarly, when a barrister asks, 'and did he tell you about his love of duck-shooting?' the frame associated with 'love' requires an activity that happens often and with a passion. Given that defendant is on trial for murder (with a shotgun), this is clearly an undesirable presentation of the defendant's character. Additionally, the required mental spaces needed to process these propositions require hearers to conceptually separate or juxtapose information in a way that is contrary to the witnesses' interest or intent. Using UK police interviews and cross-examination testimonies with child witness claimants in sexual abuse cases, we investigate alternate realities involving varying representations of abuser or victim. These representations emerge from alternate conceptual frames of reference and the mental spaces constructions they require.

Interpreting Hedges
Andrzej Lyda, University of Silesia
Saturday, 16. (Language minorities and the legal system)
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It has been often claimed that the goal of a court interpreter is to interpret so as " to enable the judge and jury to react in the same manner to a non-English-speaking witness as they do with one who speaks English" González et al. (1991: 17). This view seems to be too idealistic considering the fact that two languages may make use of non-corresponding registers in the same context or may resort to non-equivalent means of expression either due to systemic differences or differences in social expectations. This poses a problem not only for interpreters but also for the very process of interpreters training. The present paper focuses on the issue of hedges in the courtroom. More specifically the study undertaken aims at analysing strategies applied by Polish students of interpreting and translation to render English hedges in the target language. The results can be indicative of the development of the concept of verbatim interpreting in the courtroom in novice interpreters.

Truth, Discourse, and Meaning: The Linguistic Construction of Europe in EC Law
Simo Maatta, University of Tampere
Saturday, 16. (Legal languages)
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In contemporary law, there appears to be a tendency to enact provisions which describe rather than sanction (Amselek 1986), which are principles rather than rules (Dworkin 1977, 1986). Thus, since the 1992 Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Maastricht), a growing number of provisions functioning merely as principles have been added to European Community primary law. The 2004 Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe was the culmination of this development. These provisions typically concern culture, education, human rights, and the general values of the European Union, i.e., subject areas largely outside the jurisprudence of the Union. The question thus arises as to what actually is the primary function of these provisions.

Through a textual analysis of the founding treaties and the constitutional treaty of the European Union, this paper argues that legal provisions consisting of principles can be considered as originating from genres other than law, thus rendering the EU's constitutional law an essentially polyphonic genre. The paper therefore inquires whether the illocutionary force residing in law's genre and discourse in fact defines the contextual meaning of contested concepts, i.e., expressions which lack a universally accepted meaning. Examples of such concepts include "Europe" and "regional or minority languages and cultures." And if law is understood as the ultimate discourse of truth (cf. Foucault 1971), fixing the meaning of such contested concepts indirectly defines European identity, that contested concept par excellence.

The paper aims at combining methodologies of (the French tradition of) discourse analysis, the theory of énonciation, and systemic-functional grammar.


  • Amselek, Paul 1986. "Philosophie du droit et théorie des actes de langage." Théorie des actes de langage, éthique et droit. Paris: PUF, 109-63.
  • Dworkin, Ronald 1986. Law's Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknapp.
  • Dworkin, Ronald 1977. Taking Rights Seriously. London: Duckworth.
  • Foucault, Michel 1971. L'ordre du discours. Paris : Gallimard.

Perspective and Subjectivity/Intersubjectivity in Judicial vs. Political Discourse. A case study
Juana I. Marín Arrese, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Thursday, 14. (Colloquium on Law and Cognition)
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Perspective involves the introduction of a particular viewpoint in the discourse and implies the commitment to the validity of the information of the subject of conception or the assignment of this commitment to some other speaking subject (Sanders & Spooren 1997). Speaker's basic unmarked enunciational position may shift in order to reflect an experiential position (I saw X), or an epistemic position (I know X). This basic position may also be deviated to adopt a position of 'aphony', by which the speaker explicitly refrains from investing in the utterance (I am not saying that X...) (Brandt 2004). Subjectivity, the representation of speaker's perspective, has been identified by Langacker (1991) as the extent to which the information is implicitly grounded in the perspective of the speaker. Nuyts (2001) conceives this dimension as the degree to which the speaker assumes personal responsibility for the evaluation of the evidence (subjectivity) or whether the assessment is 'potentially' shared by others (intersubjectivity). My own proposal considers the interaction of both 'personal vs. shared responsibility', and the parameter 'salience or overtness of the role of the conceptualizer', which refers to the degree of explicitness, implicitness or opaqueness of the role of conceptualizer. This paper presents results of a study on the use of these resources by the same speaker, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in two distinct events and situation types: as a witness in The Hutton Inquiry (August-October 2003), which investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, and in his statement opening the Parliamentary debate on Iraq (18 March 2003). The aim of this paper is to explore the following issues: (i) The expression of perspective and enunciational stance in both types of discourse; (ii) The expression of (inter)subjectivity and the similarities and differences thereof in the attitude of the speaker, in relation to the two communicative events.

A Brief History of the Polish Legal Language
Aleksandra Matulewska, Adam Mickiewicz University
Saturday, 16. (Legal languages)
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Abstract: Polish is the most widely spoken language of the Lechitic branch of the western subgroup of the Slavonic languages. It is estimated that nearly forty million people speak Polish. For the purpose of this paper the periodisation introduced by Klemensiewicz (1999) and Borawski (2000) will be used. Therefore, it is assumed that (i) the pre-literate period lasted till the first half of the 12th century; (ii) the Old Polish period lasted from the second half of the 12th century till the turn of the 16th century; (iii) the Middle Polish period lasted from the beginning of the 16th century till the eighth decade of the 18th century; (iv) the Modern Polish lasted from the eighth decade of the 18th century till 1939; and (v) the Contemporary Polish. (Borawski 2000:66-88). Although changes in languages take place steadily and gradually (which is characteristic of processes) the development of the Polish language of the law will be presented within those border dates. Among others the impact of the annexations (Prussian, Austrian and Russian) on the language of the law in the Middle and Modern Polish periods will be discussed. The diversity of the legal systems after regaining independence will be presented and the efforts of and the impact of the works of Komisja Kodyfikacyjna Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej [The Codification Commission of the Republic of Poland] on the Polish legal language will be dealt with. Finally, the impact of English on the contemporary language of the law will be discussed. Borawski, S. 2000. Wprowadzenie do historii jezyka polskiego. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Klemensiewicz, Z. 1999. Historia jezyka polskiego. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Materialy Komisji Kodyfikacyjnej Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej 1919-1939. Wydawnictwo Urzedowe Komisji Kodyfikacyjnej.

Structural Interpretation of Pleadings in English and in Polish: A Comparative Approach
Ewa Myrczek, University of Silesia
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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The aim of this paper is to present structural interpretation of pleadings in English and in Polish. Pleadings (also termed 'statements of case') will be taken to mean documents, such as a claim form (or a petition), particulars of claim, defence, a counterclaim or third party proceeding (now both known as 'a Part 20 claim') and reply to defence, containing the written allegations of facts that each party is required to communicate to the opponent before trial. Parallel pleadings will refer to comparable persuasive texts, which are all originals in the mother tongue, and which are particularly useful for examining differences in conventions in text and sentence structure between legal languages as well as legal cultures they mirror.

It is assumed that cognitive structuring reflects conventionalised social knowledge available to a particular discourse community (Bhatia 1993: 21). The analysis of structural organization of the pleadings should reveal preferred ways of communicating intention in written legal discourse. An attempt will be made to define the cognitive structure of pleadings and guidance notes in English and in Polish with the concepts of relevance and intertextuality uppermost throughout. In doing so, we will take account of the general rules about the format of all court documents laid down by the Practice Directions (PD) made under the Civil Procedure Rules 1999 and other linguistic guidelines given in drafting manuals. In this paper we will also examine the positions taken by parties to civil proceedings: legal representatives (i.e. lawyers), and litigants in person as well as target recipients of persuasive texts (judges, defendants/respondents). The implications for achieving desirable clarity and preciseness (i.e. plain language) will also be discussed.

  • References: V. K., Bhatia (1993) Analysing Genre. Language Use in Professional Setting. London

Legal Acts of EU in English, Estonian, Finnish and Swedish
Peep Nemvalts, Tallinn University & Stockholm University
Saturday, 16. (Legal discourse)
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The general principle of Multilingualism for drafting of legislation within the Community institutions guides:

"...acts shall be framed in terms and sentence structures which respect the multilingual nature of Community legislation; concepts or terminology specific to any one national legal system are to be used with care."

How do translations correspond to the English text? Are these precise, equally understandable for everybody?

TERMS in Swedish are more like in English, as both are Germanic languages. Estonian and Finnish as Balto-Finnic languages have certain common wordstock, but not as many international terms in use as Swedish has. Both Finns and Estonians have a long tradition of derivating terms from their own genuine stems and have been active in creating neologisms. In 2002, a contest was organized in Estonia to get clear native terms for 12 EU-concepts.

E.g. EN subsidiarity principle - SV subsidiaritet, närhetsprincipen - FI toissijaisuus - ET lähimus, lähimuspõhimõte

Balto-Finnic SYNTACTIC STRUCTURES are quite different from Germanic ones. There are also some differences between English and Swedish, like between Estonian and Finnish.

The question to be examined in this paper is, which linguistic means have been used for communicating one and the same message in different languages, e.g. in these excerpts from the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (Article III-394):

  • EN
    projects of common interest to several Member States
    In carrying out its task, the ... Bank shall facilitate the financing ...
  • SV
    Projekt av gemensamt intresse för flera medlemsstater
    När ... investeringsbanken fullgör sina uppgifter skall den underlätta finansieringen ...
  • ET
    mitmele liikmesriigile ühist huvi pakkuvad projektid
    Oma ülesannete täitmisel hõlbustab ... Investeerimispank ... rahastamist ...
  • FI
    useiden jäsenvaltioiden yhteistä etua koskevat hankkeet
    Tehtäväänsä suorittaessaan ... investointipankki helpottaa ... rahoittamista ...

A Pragmatic Account of Lawyers' Cross-Examination Questions
Phill Newbury, Aston University
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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Atkinson and Drew (1979) observe that, during cross-examination, the witness is sometimes able to infer that the lawyer is implicitly criticising them or their direct-examination testimony. Drew (1990, 1992) explores this phenomenon further, noting some of the linguistic ways lawyers imply criticisms of witnesses to juries.

The ability to implicitly criticise the witness is an important weapon in lawyers' rhetorical arsenals since, as Amsterdam and Bruner (2000) observe, it allows them to deny having made an assertion if it is challenged and also allows them to subtly persuade the jury (p. 175-176). However, despite the importance of this phenomenon, previous studies into it have been tentative. This is the reason for my research.

In this study I will report on an analysis of the different ways that lawyers use their questions to implicitly criticise witnesses during cross-examination. In this analysis I employed a qualitative pragmatic methodology, referring to the work of Grice (1975) to identify lawyers' use of implicature in cross-examination, and a corpus methodology to enable the quantitative surveying of different types of lawyers' questions that generate implicature.

The data I analyse are official courtroom transcripts of recent, criminal cases that I have extracted from electronic sources - including the trials of Dr Harold Shipman and of Oklahoma Bombing conspirator Terry Nichols.

I conclude that lawyers embed implicit criticism of witnesses in their questions during cross-examination not only for the reasons listed above, but also because a witness cannot refute a criticism that is not made explicitly due to their constrained speaking rights, and also if they do challenge an implicit criticism, they risk bringing it to the attention of the jury. Keywords: implicature; inference; pragmatics; corpus; cross-examination questioning.

Enhancing the Reliability and Objectivity of Language Analyses in Asylum Cases: An English-Speaking Asylum Seeker Claiming to Come from Sierra Leone
Fallou Ngom, Western Washington University
Saturday, 16. (Language minorities and the legal system)
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Enhancing the reliability and objectivity of language analyses in asylum cases is critical to ensure that people who want to abuse the asylum system to immigrate to the West are accurately identified, but more importantly to do justice to genuine asylum seekers who deserve protection under the UNHCR's mandate to protect refugees worldwide. Current language analyses practices have been criticized by scholars because of the serious concerns on the qualifications and the questionable conclusions often reached by some putative experts/analysts who conduct these language analyses for some Western governments. Although these analysts are often native speakers of the languages in question who originate from the countries where the asylum seekers claim to come from, their questionable linguistics training and expertise is apparent in their reports that often ignore common linguistic phenomena such as linguistic accommodations, linguistic variations in their own language(s), incorporated loans, unincorporated loans etc. This paper examines the evidence found in the spontaneous speech of an asylum seeker who claimed to come from the war ravaged English-speaking country of Sierra Leone, and whose application was denied on the basis of a language analysis that erroneously claimed that the applicant is from Nigeria. Drawing insights from the current (socio) linguistics research on West African Englishes, I discuss the challenges that need to be overcome to enhance the reliability and objectivity of such serious forensic language analyses.

Cognitive States, Arguments, and Representing Legal Narratives
Ephraim Nissan, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Thursday, 14. (Colloquium on Law and Cognition)
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In the last several years, the present author, whose background is in artificial intelligence, has developed a formal representation for narratives, and has often applied it in the context of law and, in particular, evidence, or, then, identification. This article will exemplify this by analysing a narrative in the context of courtroom interaction. In the notation adopted, some cognitive concepts are conspicuous. Moreover, the argumentation will be analysed by means of graphs, in particular making use of Wigmore Charts. The main situation analysed is the one described in the following report from the free newspaper Metro London of Friday, January 21, 2000, p. 3, col. 5. A defence lawyer in a criminal case claimed to the judge: "My dog ate the evidence", which reminds of schoolgoers' pretexts such as: "My dog ate my homework". The judge wasn't impressed, but the lawyer was able to obtain copy of the lost evidence afterwards. This story is amenable to interesting analysis, because of the role that background generalisations play in it. Another situation also chosen for this study, is taken from Italy's Sofri caseIn that case, the police, asked by the defence to exhibit the material evidence, claimed that mice are active at the warehouses, and that the evidence is not longer available: "We are not in Geneva". Switzerland could be expected to be efficient, don't expect us to be on a par. These two examples are very interesting, because of the associations they arise in an unexpected context. A Wigmorean analysis is developed, as well as an attempt at computational knowledge-representation.

The Interpretation of Contract Law in Spanish and English: Cultural Variations
María Ángeles Orts, Universidad de Murcia
Saturday, 16. (Legal languages)
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In the area of business interaction and trade agreements, major anthropologists and social scientists (Reed & Hall, 1990, Schuster & Copeland, 1995) talk about low context, direct-style cultures and about high context, indirect style ones. In the first group, the final outcome of a negotiation is usually specific and concrete, as the ultimate aim is for the contract to contemplate every possible contingency that may take place in the course of its performance. In contrast, in high context cultures, the approach is much wider in scope, as drafting clauses in a very detailed way would prove to be a hindrance for the flexibility of agreements developing in the ever-changing circumstances of real life. In accordance with these previous studies, the present paper will assume that Spain is a case of high contextuality, indirect style, whereas the United States is the opposite case. I will discuss how these different cultural approaches have very much to do with the way in which the legal traditions in each of these countries articulate their contract law and interpretation. Specifically, Spain has a compact body of rules for contract, but legislators and drafters try to make their assertions as general as possible, and the attempt to cover every contingence and detail of reality and its multiple complexities is out of the question. In contrast, in the ontological interpretive technique of the USA every word counts, and it is the aim of the contract to be able to capture every possible eventuality that may arise in the course of the deal. References: Reed Hall, M and Hall, Edward T. (1990) Understanding Cultural Differences, Germans, French and Americans. Yarmouth: Intercultural Press, 1990 Schuster, C. and Copeland, M. (1995) Global Business - planning for sales and negotiations. Thomson Learning

Listening to the Evidence: Factive and Fictive Interaction before the Jury
Esther Pascual Olivé, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Thursday, 14. (Colloquium on Law and Cognition)
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This talk deals with the use of speaking metaphors in legal discourse. For instance, one may speak of the victim's body as "telling us what the defendant won't." Also, it is not unusual for attorneys to introduce material evidence - or the lack thereof - as the deceased victim testifying in open court. Indeed, legal evidence - whether direct or circumstantial - is often presented as speaking in a similar fashion as an actual witness might. In my view, the frequent presentation of legal evidence as speaking up reflects the importance of language in the law on the one hand, and the conceptual relation between speaking, believing and the 'truth' on the other hand.

First, in the Western legal system, only evidence presented in witness testimony is to be considered by the ultimate evaluator(s) in the judicial decision-making. Given the importance of the witness testimony phase, it should not be too surprising that attorneys turned what might be diffuse circumstantial evidence into concrete direct testimony evidence, if only rhetorically. Second, I believe such speaking metaphors also have a common heritage in the cultural model according to which our experience of ordinary inter-subjective conversation is used as a general frame for the conceptualization of verbal as well as non-verbal processes. Since we commonly learn about facts and events through some sort of verbal interaction, attorneys - as well as all of us - often present the source of new knowledge as speaking to the individual who attains it. To put it differently, 'factive' courtroom interaction is reproduced in metaphorical language in what could be called 'fictive interaction' (Pascual 2002).

Pascual, E. 2002. Imaginary Trialogues: Conceptual Blending and Fictive Interaction in Criminal Courts. Utrecht: LOT.

Identifying Deception in Written Narratives
Isabel Picornell Garcia, University of Aston
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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Thanks to research in forensic linguistics by scholars such as Coulthard, Chaski, and Grant, there have been considerable advances in the areas of authorship attribution and detection of plagiarism. However, research into the detection of deception in written text has so far failed to benefit from these advances. This presentation will report current work, part of a larger research agenda, directed at a more systematic approach to the detection of deception.

Deceptive statements are rarely entirely deceptive. Lying authors prefer to imbed their deception within essentially truthful accounts. This blurs the boundaries between the truth and the lie and makes the deception, and its linguistic markers, harder to identify. However, DePaulo's comprehensive review of research into cues to deception concluded that certain verbal behavioural cues do occur during deception, and that these cues are likely to occur when deceivers are more motivated to succeed in their lie (DePaulo et al 2003), a motivation that studies in laboratory environments fail to replicate.

This study hypothesises that certain linguistic markers are more likely to be confined within the boundaries of deceptive sections in narratives, and are more likely to be excluded from truthful sections. If this is the case, then certain deception markers may be considered more likely to be present when actual deception is occurring, rather than simply be the result of fear of being disbelieved.

This study uses original witness statements given to the Police, independently authored by suspects or witnesses directly involved in serious crimes. In analysing the data, episode boundaries within the narratives are first identified using marked sentence structures (Prideaux 1999). Then, linguistic markers characteristic of distancing and negation (i.e. pronouns and function words) are identified within the episodes.

Preliminary results support the hypothesis that these linguistic markers predominate within deceptive episodes.

Comprehensibility as a Clue to L'altérité de L'aut
Monika Rathert, Saarland University
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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Tolerance and diversity are threatened in many ways today. A basic clue to tolerance and diversity is a good understanding of the other and the other's otherness. Within the field of law and forensic linguistics, however, what does understanding or comprehensibility mean? In which ways could an enhanced comprehensibility contribute to an enhanced tolerance and diversity?

In this paper, I will try to give new answers to these questions. It has often been claimed that legal texts are incomprehensible for the layman. This global judgement has been made concrete in various ways, psycholinguistic experiments have been set up to examine the actual degree of comprehension. Drawing on these experiments, attempts have been made to optimize legal texts for the layman. However, the results of this research are unsatisfactory in several respects. First, there are different sorts of laymen, some understand more (e.g. a law student), some less. Text optimization usually aims at meeting the needs of a layman understanding next to nothing. Second, there is no principled way to predict comprehension (for whatever kind of layman). Instead, comprehension is just measured empirically. We demand more from a linguistic theory. Third and maybe most important, the results of this research are not applicable in everyday life. A lawyer who wants to check a letter to his client in terms of comprehensibility does not have anything at hand to do this. He still has to use his intuition.

The paper is structured as follows. Section 1 presents linguistic approaches to comprehensibility in general. Section 2 is devoted to comprehensibility within forensic linguistics. The theoretical and practical shortcomings of this research will be shown. Section 3 presents a new approach to comprehensibility within forensic linguistics. Frame Semantics as a shallow semantic approach shall be used to predict the comprehensibility problems of a legal text.

An Extremely Simple Authorship Attribution System
Marta Sánchez Pol, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Rogelio Nazar, IULA-UPF
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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In this paper we present a very simple yet effective algorithm for authorship attribution. By this term we mean the act of telling wether a certain text was or was not written by a certain author. We shall not discuss the advantages or applications of this activity, but we propose a method for doing it in an automatic and instantaneous way, without considering the language of the texts and without undertaking any kind of text preprocessing like tokenization or part of speech tagging. We conducted an experiment that shows how authorship attribution can be seen as a text categorization problem. That is to say, each author represents a category and the documents are the elements to be classified.

Text categorization has became a very popular issue in Computational Linguistics, and it has grown up to great complexity, motivating a huge amount of literature. Although, in this article we conducted the most basic method applied to authorship attribution. The program is language independent because it uses pureley mathematical knowledge: an n-gram model of texts. It works in a very simple way and is therefore very easy to modify. In spite of this simplicity, it is capable of classifying, hundreds of documents by author obtaining more than 90% of accuracy. As an example, we present an experiment carried out with a rather homogeneous corpus composed of 100 short newspaper articles (around 400 words each) from 5 different authors. This corpus is divided on a training set of 20 texts (five of each author) and the rest as the test set. Once the algorithm has "learned" the style of each author, then it begins to classify each of the remaining 80 texts by each author-category.

As a final comment, it is worth to say that this program can be used as general purpose document classifier, for example by content instead of authorship, because it only reproduces the criteria that it learned during the training phase.

Keywords: text categorization by authorship; quantitative stylistics; n-grams analysis; language-independent text categorization.

When Laws Mean Different Things to Different People
Lawrence M. Solan, Brooklyn Law School
Saturday, 16. (Plenary Session)
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Establishing a rule of law based on rights and obligations expressed in language works only if speakers of the law's language understand it the same way. If I understand "You must stop at a red light" as meaning that you must stop at a green light, or meaning Spanish anchovies are the best in the world, then it is difficult to see how I can organize my life around the law's requirements. Nonetheless, people, including legal actors, do talk past each other. The more they do so, the greater the threat to rule of law values.

This presentation explores situations in which different players in the legal system are likely to interpret the same language differently. When the difference is easily discoverable before anything of consequence occurs, no harm is done. But at times, not only do people understand the same language differently, but it is not easy to determine that fact until after something unfortunate happens, and it is sometimes impossible to determine the fact at all. I call this undiscovered miscommunication pernicious ambiguity. The presentation will explore the sources of pernicious ambiguity. It results largely from a predictable lack of consensus in decisions we make about how to categorize non-prototypical events into categories we routinely use. The presentation will then discuss some preliminary results of experimentation that shows people to overestimate the degree of consensus around their own understanding of legally-relevant terms, suggesting that pernicious ambiguity may be unavoidable.

The Use of Morpho-Syntactically Annotated Tag Sequences as Markers of Authorship
Maria S. Spassova, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
M. Teresa Turell, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Thursday, 14. (Forensic linguistics expertise)
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Since the early days of Forensic Linguistics there has been an incessant search for idiosyncratic features that would allow us to distinguish one author from another on the basis of their linguistic production. Studies in Authorship Attribution constantly report on the latest findings and newly developed techniques, applying different linguistic units as measures, in forensic stylometric analysis. In this quest for valid and reliable identification markers, syntactic structure has been shown to be less appealing. That is easily explained by the fact that syntactic constructions are notorious for their structural complexity and processing difficulty. However this does not seem to be a problem if we consider syntactic structure to be a simple sequence of categories grouped together and whose function analysis is set apart.

This paper presents the preliminary results of a series of experiments in author identification aimed at evaluating the discriminatory capacity of sequences of linguistic categories (Morpho-syntactically Annotated Tag Sequences (SMAT)) and demonstrating which one of the tested three is the best candidate marker of authorship. The hypothesis tested in the experiments is that the most frequent tag sequences will discriminate effectively between authors in limited-size samples of texts. All the experiments were carried out on a morfosyntactically annotated corpus consisting of 15 newspaper articles and 15 novel fragments written in Spanish by 3 authors, five of each genre per author. The occurrences of every type of SMAT were extracted by means of the programming language AWK and later their frequencies were calculated using the environment for statistical computing and graphics R. An innovative combination of traditional statistical methods was applied to determine the authorship of a pseudo anonymous text. Preliminary results show that SMAT sequences can become valid and reliable markers of authorship.

The Use of Interpreters in Investigation
Kate Storey-Whyte, AudioLex
Friday, 15. (Colloquium on Communication and Comprehensibility in Legal Contexts)
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Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that an individual is entitled to a "Fair Trial." A fair trial may be compromised when the individual charged or tried does not speak or understand the language of the system or the country in which the prosecution is taking place. Without appropriate interpreters, non-native speakers, even those whose language proficiency is - or appears to be - reasonably good, will almost inevitably be placed at a disadvantage when they come into contact with the police or courts.

Drawing upon a number of case studies from the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, this paper describes and analyses some common linguistic assumptions and misconceptions, (such as, "a fluent speaker who says he does not need an interpreter really does not need one") and makes some observations and further recommendations regarding the training of specialist forensic linguists, interpreters and interviewers.

Linguistic Analysis of Lay Advocacy: Do Lay People Stand a Chance When Representing Themselves in Court?
Tetyana Tkachuk, Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts
Friday, 15. (Legal discourse)
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It is a well-known fact that lawyers make use of their language skills to exercise control over witnesses' testimonies. It is a part of their professional training to master the use of specific types of questions for particular purposes. Lay people usually do not have any command of cross-examination techniques and legal jargon in general. Ordinary citizens representing themselves in court can therefore be seriously disadvantaged.

This study looks at cross-examinations performed by lawyers and lay people representing themselves and contrasts the two approaches from the linguistic point of view. The formal analysis of questions asked by lawyers and lay people shows that lay people's questions are less elaborate and closer to questions used in everyday conversations. The nature of cross-examination presupposes that the cross-examiner has to flout Gricean maxims. But it seems that lay people flout them in a slightly different way, which allows them to be more polite and yet exercise power over witnesses.

The data is mainly drawn from the libel case McDonald's Corporation v. Helen Steel and David Morris, which was tried in Great Britain. While McDonald's hired a legal team of leading libel lawyers, Helen and David had to represent themselves and the burden of proof lay on them. Neither of them had any previous experience with legal proceedings. In fact, their work experience ranged from being unemployed to various low-skilled jobs and voluntary work. During the trial they were occasionally assisted with legal matters by a volunteer lawyer Keir Starmer. The case lasted for two and a half years. Such a long period of time makes it possible to trace whether lay people are prone to gradually adjust their language to a 'lawyer-like' style as the trial progresses.

The study aims to contribute to current discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of lay advocacy.

Directing and Transforming Stories: a Speech Act Approach to Dispute Resolution
Fleur van der Houwen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Saturday, 16. (Legal discourse)
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This study illustrates what a speech act approach can contribute to illuminate how litigants' stories are subject to being directed and transformed. The data come from the court show Judge Judy. This televised small claims court, presided over by former family court judge Judith Sheindlin, is watched by 8 million viewers every day and appears to have substantial influence on viewer's perception of the justice system (NCSC 1999, Podlas 2000). The cases on Judge Judy are ideal for studying transformations as they unfold because litigants need to represent themselves, the cases are relatively short and are decided immediately. Each case begins with a summary of what the dispute is about and ends with a decision which may include a summary of what the case has come to be about. This may be very close to the initial summary but may also diverge drastically from any claim brought. The analysis illustrates that moves, such as narrowing, elaborating, and establishing allow Sheindlin to direct and transform the scope of litigants' stories such that a new version of events is co-constructed from which a decision follows. Furthermore, it is shown that the effect of these strategies also depends on Sheindlin's stance. That is, the same strategy (e.g. narrowing) may serve to a litigant's advantage or disadvantage and they may be part of a larger interactional sequence in which Sheindlin 'cross-' or 'direct-examines' a party. And as a result, Sheindlin's moves in a direct examination may look like those typical for a cross-examination (e.g. Matoesian 1993, Solan and Tiersma 1999). For instance, questions with a projected preferred and short answer narrow a story and this may well be an advantage for a litigant unfamiliar with legal reasoning without a lawyer. In sum, the analysis illustrates what moves allow Sheindlin to direct and transform the scope of litigants' stories in the co-construction of a new story such that a decision follows from it.

Applying Plain Language Guidelines as Criteria in Legal Cases
Margaret van Naerssen, Immaculata University
Friday, 15. (Colloquium on Communication and Comprehensibility in Legal Contexts)
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Plain language guidelines typically are used for educating writers and for setting standards for revising communications. However, they can also be tools for expert consultants/ witnesses in forensic linguists. Guidelines provide linguists with a set of accepted standards required in doing analyses in legal cases.

This is a report on how guidelines were applied in a civil case (contract) and in a criminal case in the United States. The role of such guidelines may vary by state/ province and country. Also the requirements on expert witnesses may also vary. However, it is hoped that these two cases will suggest strategies that could be adapted for different contexts.

The civil case involved a state law on the use of plain language in contracts and its application to a housing construction contract. At issue were several sections of the contract which the client found extremely difficult to understand and felt the company had not met its obligations under the contract.

The criminal case involved a non-native English speaking merchant. The relevant Plain Language guidelines were tied to a Presidential Memorandum on writing by federal government agencies. The documents were from a federal agency. Had the merchant adequately understood the procedures and his obligations? Was he negligent or had he conspired?

The analysis procedures for both cases are introduced along with practical analysis problems encountered and their solutions.

Complexities in Administering Written Rights to English Speakers in Spanish Police Stations
M. Luz Vázquez, Universidade da Coruña
Friday, 15. (Legal discourse)
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The Spanish Criminal Prosecution Law states in Article 520 that any detained person will be informed of his rights in a comprehensible way. In the last two decades, the content of this article was submitted to revisions and the particular reference to foreigners with comprehension difficulties of the Spanish Language has been ambiguously established. When Spanish police officers proceed to arrest a person, they must provide him with a form conveying the basic rights he is entitled to and which must signed, this being a crucial part of the detainee's police record. Since any police force can freely adapt and translate the statements of Article 520, detainees are given a particular version of rights depending on the police force responsible for their detention.

Thus, by comparing some English translations of rights available at police stations, the aim of this paper is to explore to what extent determined linguistic choices can influence the comprehensibility of the person interviewed.

The contextualization process is approached at the discourse level, revealing significant lexical and syntactic complexities ( Halliday and Hassan 1976; Halliday 2004 ) which far from enhancing the intelligibility of rights may contribute to inaccurate legal implications.

Talking About Law (and Why It Matters)
Steven L. Winter, Wayne State University Law School
Thursday, 14. (Colloquium on Law and Cognition)
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How we think about and understand law affects how we behave towards it. Our basic concept of Law is structured by a handful of metaphors that crucially depend for their psychological resonance on processes of objectification and personification. Notions of rights, rules, justice, and the constraints of legal authority all derive from this metaphorical system. In our idealized cognitive model, it is the Law personified that lays down the rules or paths we are to follow and enforces the perceived constraints of those rules by threat of force. But this presents an apparently insuperable paradox. The crux of our concept of law is that it operates as an external constraint; the conventional personification of law is but an instantiation of this more general concept. But when the external constraint of the law turns out to be a mental artifact, it becomes hard to see how law can defend itself against the disenchantment or cynical disillusion occasioned by self-reflection. This is the situation of sophisticated legal actors, whether participants or critics. Typically, it leads to one of two polar reactions: "the reification fallacy" (i.e. one cynically treats our own mental artifact as an external reality that others must comply with) or the "empowerment fantasy" (i.e. one falsely believes that the projected nature of law means that one may skirt, remake, or transcend it). But while law may be artifactual, it is not a mere fantasy or representation. Law is a mental artifact that emerges as meaningful only as it is externalized and realized in social practice. To understand the conceptual structure of law is, thus, to understand something fundamentally important about law's social meaning. And the question of what makes law meaningful is also a question of how one makes law.

Law on Language, Language Rights and the Question of Linguistic Relativism - the Case of Kashubian in Poland
Iwona Witczak-Plisiecka, University of Lodz
Thursday, 14. (Legal discourse)
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The paper discusses law on minority languages in Poland with reference to the problem of linguistic relativism and the mutual influence of law on language and language vitality.

The focus is on Kashubian, a language spoken in the North-West region of Pomerania. Genetically, Kashubian, spelt with the Latin alphabet, belongs to the West Slavic group and is a Lechitic language. Under the Polish law it has recently been recognized as the only regional language in Poland (acc. to the Statute 'Ustawa' of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and the regional language, binding from 2nd May 2005 (Dz. U. 2005 r., Nr 17, art. 141)).

Having been suppressed for years under the communist rule, now Kashubian appears to experience a period of revival. Although 53,000 citizens of Poland declared Kashubian as their first language in 2002 and there is a growing number of people who claim Kashubian nationality and report Kashubian as their first language, there is still an ongoing theoretical debate whether Kashubian is in fact a language or a dialect, further complicated by the presence of its many varieties.

The discussions includes comments on the function of linguistic form in creating extralinguistic reality as well as in reflecting the real world. These issues are of special importance in the language of the law, which is naturally operative. The inherently performative nature of legal language is commonly emphasized, but it is more readily associated with its directive function than with creation of new attitudes and beliefs, which is the focus of the present approach. The paper further includes comments on the claim according to which (language) identity is formed by the repetition of pre-defined linguistic patterns.

Translating European Legislation: a Functional Approach
Diana Yankova, New Bulgarian University
Saturday, 16. (Language minorities and the legal system)
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The translation of EU-produced legal texts presents multifarious problems for practitioners from Member States voiced in private, as well as at seminars of the Translation Service and in the on-going "Fight the fog" campaign. For the countries seeking accession to the European Union problems are multiplied, since they have to harmonize their existing institutions, create new ones and find the language to communicate adequately within unified Europe.

The presentation will focus on some of the specific functional, linguistic and communicative problems arising from translating EU Directives and other EU official documents from English into Bulgarian. A functional approach is indispensable for the adequate rendering of terms that should be evaluated according to the conceptual system of the particular field under codification. We shall also touch upon some more general issues related to the future language policy of an expanding EU from the point of view of a "small language".