This course focuses on the role that linguistics and languages play within the rapidly growing field of forensic science; namely forensic linguistics. Forensic linguistics is a diverse field that not only has applications in legal and criminal investigations, but also makes important contributions to the military, government and business, and can contribute to literary, historical and cultural studies.
In this course we go through the various sub-fields and issues of forensic linguistics; for example, voice comparison, speaker profiling, authorship analysis, disputed utterance, plagiarism, transcription, translation-interpreting, interrogation and verballing, while explaining the nature of linguistic evidence and the role that linguistics and languages play in the legal proceedings. We also learn about the use of computational and statistical tools in linguistic analyses. The course has no prerequisites; the necessary basic linguistic and statistical ideas and tools will be introduced and explained.
Students are expected to demonstrate that they can appropriately apply their acquired skills and knowledge to actual linguistic data, and then that they can provide an in-depth analysis of the data. They are also expected to critically discuss the results of the analysis by referring to the issues of “Language and the Law” and the nature of linguistic evidence.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Understand the role of expert evidence relating to language in court , and review and assess the strength of evidence presented by expert witnesses
- Understand the different types of linguistic data that can be used as evidence.
- Select and apply appropriate methods for identifying authorship of texts
- Understand the potentials and limits of forensic voice identification
- Explain, and argue for the role of language and linguistics in the legal system
This is a co-taught course. Any cap on enrolments in one course applies to both courses combined.
4 short in-class/take home activities based on the principle textbook, making 8% each
1 tutorial presentation and 1250 word write-up worth 20%
1 major project (4000 word analytical project which must include a significant component of statistical evaluation - Frequentest and/or Bayesian) worth 48%.
The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
This course has 3 contact hours per week (lectures and tutorials) that may be held in a 3 hour block.
In addition to the required contact hours (lectures and tutorials), it is expected that students will spend an additional 6-7 hours per week on this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsJohn Olsson, June Luchjenbroers (2014, third edition) Forensic Linguistics. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781472569578
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.