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Forensic Linguistics Language Analysis Forgery Expert Witness

Provides Opinion & Testimony In:

Forensic Linguistic Linguistics, Language Analysis, Semantics, Grammar, Communications, Questioned Documents, Forgery, Plagiarism, Copyright Infringement, Questioned Authorship, Document Interpretation,

Expert Witness No.1093

Illinois

 

 

FORENSIC LINGUISTICS 

The application of the principles and methods of linguistics to the language of legal proceedings and documents.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Forensic Semantics: Analysis of and expert opinion on the meaning of words, phrases, clauses,
paragraphs, etc., in legal, personal, and commercial communication (e.g., contracts, wills, cases of
copyright infringement).

Forensic Stylistics: Analysis of the syntax, style, word choice, spelling, punctuation, rhetorical strategies, and other features of anonymous, disputed, or forged documents (including e-mails); expert opinion on (i) authorship and/or characteristics of author; (ii) evidence for/against plagiarism.

ORIGINAL METHODOLOGY

My original, multi-dimensional approach to stylistic analysis goes beyond language elements to
include rhetorical strategies and intellectual breadth/depth, thus enabling me to identify a wide
range of stylistic similarities and differences.


QUALIFICATIONS

A professional lifetime devoted to the analysis of language and the understanding of language variation and stylistic nuance:

Doctoral dissertation (University of Chicago, 1973): an analysis of code-switching (i.e., variation in the speaking style of an individual).  Relevant to authorship/plagiarism cases.

Undergraduate and graduate studies of English syntax, semantics, and style; in-depth understanding of language structure: (1) identify the vocabulary and grammatical choices that characterize an individual writer’s style. (2) Recognize errors that no native speaker would make and thus determine whether a document has been written by a speaker of a foreign language.  Relevant to authorship, plagiarism/copyright, and contract interpretation cases.

Twelve years of teaching English linguistics and composition (including graduate seminars in stylistics and in the structure and process of written language): (1) the correlation between a writer’s level of education and his/her deviations from Standard English; (2) the particular locutions favored by individual writers.  Relevant to authorship/plagiarism cases.

Twenty years as a corporate speechwriter/ghostwriter: deep theoretical and practical understanding of the nature and variation of individual style. Relevant to authorship/plagiarism cases.

Examination/analysis of thousands of student papers, corporate publications, and countless other written documents: formulate expert opinion on plagiarism and anonymous or disputed authorship by judging whether particular words, phrases, or other linguistic elements could occur by chance in two separate documents - or whether the documents are the product of the same hand.   Also relevant to interpretation of contracts, wills, laws, regulations.

Extended practice in transcription (basic linguistics courses, doctoral theses, speechwriting); qualified to evaluate the accuracy of transcriptions (from handwriting to typing and from audio to writing).

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, 1979-present (examples)

Expert opinion on status of compound words (trademark infringement litigation).

Expert opinion on plagiarism of song lyrics (copyright litigation involving musical group
The Who).

Authorship analysis of e-mails in Florida internal union dispute.

Expert opinion on plagiarism of online home-study course.

Preliminary analysis of authorship issues in malpractice litigation.

Expert opinion on authorship issues in business partnership dispute involving anonymous writings.

Authorship analysis of anonymous letters of complaint to a corporation’s Board of Directors.

Expert opinion on the semantics of trademark infringement in litigation by an apparel firm.

Authorship analysis of anonymous letters (possibly written by disgruntled employees) for major Midwestern corporation.

Authorship analysis of emails to website of a “cult deprogrammer.”

Expert opinion on linguistic similarities between plaintiff’s and defendant’s trademarks.

Authorship analysis of defamatory emails written to an individual in a corporation.

Authorship advice on a possibly forged stock transfer document.

Authorship analysis of letters involved in the Son of Sam case.

Analysis to support allegations of plagiarism of online course material.

Interpretation of contract language regarding the disposition of acquired corporate entities.

Interpretation of equipment rental contract language.

SPECIFIC FORENSIC EXPERIENCE

Available Upon Request

CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEYS AND PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS

In addition to the above, I have consulted on numerous occasions and provided forensic linguistic advice to attorneys in cases that sometimes did not go to court, as well as to private individuals and private investigators, under the same circumstances.

EDUCATION

B.A. (1964), Brown University, Providence RI, 1964; linguistics (summa cum laude, high honors,
Phi Beta Kappa).

M.A. (1967), PhD (1973), University of Chicago, Chicago IL; linguistics.

Research Assistantships (computer applications to language analysis), University of Chicago, summers, 1966-68.

Russian language (Harvard University; University of Michigan), summers 1962, 1963.

SEMINARS/WORKSHOPS/PRESENTATIONS

Conducted 35 other workshops, courses, seminars, and presentations on speech writing, stylistic analysis, semantics, rhetoric, word usage, and related subjects.  Available Upon Request.

ARTICLES

Available Upon Request


BOOKS

Available Upon Request

 

 

Groups

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Expert Articles

When a Lawyer Needs a Linguist

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