(ang. Forensic Linguistics)
Forensic Linguistics is a new department dealing with all kinds of linguistic analyses, which are used in court cases and prosecutors’ cases (such as stalking, cyberstalking, anonymous messages, plagiarism, determining authorship of text, violation of personal rights, hate speech, etc.).
Scope of forensic linguistics:
- Each user’s language is characterised by a specific set of features (speech qualities) that marks out speech (speech style) of a person. Based on patterns of use of various linguistic elements (spelling, punctuation, lexical, inflection, phrases, etc.), the characteristics of the author’s idiolect are determined.
In addition to defining the characteristics of the idiolect, the frequencies of the specified units in the text are also examined (Stylometry).
The research of author’s idiolect is used, among others, in the following cases:
a) Analysing the content of text messages (SMS), blog entries, forums.
b) Examining the content of stalkers and cyber stalkers entries.
c) Identifying authors of threats, ransom demands, and any documents related to criminal matters.
- Text analysis for plagiarism.
Detailed comparative analysis of texts by an experienced linguist cannot be replaced by any anti-plagiarism program. Computer tools are often inadequate for plagiarism, because the relationships between the texts are complex (The complexity of these cases goes far beyond the mechanical comparison between the texts that computer programs provide). In such analyses, the research of idiolect of the authors of the texts is often added.
- Evaluation of the form and character of statements deemed offensive, abusive, violating personal rights, etc.
Linguistic analysis aims at identifying social connotations of phrases, expressions, or lexical units, to determine how an individual may function in the space of social communication, what is the meaning of their utterance/speech for all language users and so on.
- Analysis of national symbols, verbal insults, calling for hatred, insulting an officer on duty, etc.
- Determining the intention of the perpetrator in criminal cases.
- Trademark and Other Intellectual Property Dispute Analysis.
The relationship between form and meaning is assessed (especially differences in terms of content understanding), whether there is a violation of copyright or trademark. Linguistic analyses may also relate to the objective similarity assessment between brands and give an insight into whether the similarities are enough to cause consumer confusion and the situation that brands may be mistaken. Such analyses also define the disputed names’ meanings, their connotations and the meaning interpreted by the users of modern Polish.
- Contract analyses.
In disputes concerning auction documents, contracts or other written documents, all parties may disagree as to the meaning of the individual entries (words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs). The linguist analyses various possible interpretations and assesses their credibility.