An Introduction to Forensic Linguistics : Language in Evidence book cover
2nd Edition

An Introduction to Forensic Linguistics
Language in Evidence

ISBN 9781138641716
Published July 18, 2016 by Routledge
254 Pages - 1 Color & 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

An Introduction to Forensic Linguistics: Language in Evidence has established itself as the essential textbook written by leading authorities in this expanding field. The second edition of this bestselling textbook begins with a new introduction and continues in two parts.

Part One deals with the language of the legal process, and begins with a substantial new chapter exploring key theoretical and methodological approaches. In four updated chapters it goes on to cover the language of the law, initial calls to the emergency services, police interviewing, and courtroom discourse. Part Two looks at language as evidence, with substantially revised and updated chapters on the following key topics:

  • the forensic linguist
  • forensic phonetics
  • authorship attribution
  • the linguistic investigation of plagiarism
  • the linguist as expert witness.

The authors combine an array of perspectives on forensic linguistics, using knowledge and experience gained in legal settings – Coulthard in his work as an expert witness for cases such as the Birmingham Six and the Derek Bentley appeal, and Johnson as a former police officer. Research tasks, further reading, web links, and a new conclusion ensure that this remains the core textbook for courses in forensic linguistics and language and the law. A glossary of key terms is also available at and on the Routledge Language and Communication Portal.

Table of Contents


List of Tables

List of Figures


1. Introduction

PART I - The Language of the Legal Process

2 Critical, theoretical, and methodological approaches to language in legal settings

3 The language of the law

4 Emergency service calls and police interviewing

5 Trial discourse

PART II - Language as Evidence

6 The work of the forensic linguist

7 Forensic phonetics

8 Authorship Attribution

9 On textual borrowing

10 The linguist as expert witness

11 Conclusion



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"This book is quite superb. It provides a neat introduction to the subject area for those who have no formal background in linguistics." Matthew Kewley, Barrister

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