The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics  book cover
2nd Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics

ISBN 9780367137847
Published November 25, 2020 by Routledge
760 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics offers a comprehensive survey of the subdiscipline of Forensic Linguistics, with this new edition providing both updated overviews from leading figures in the field and exciting new contributions from the next generation of forensic linguists.

The Handbook is a unique work of reference to the leading ideas, debates, topics, approaches and methodologies in forensic linguistics and language and the law. It comprises 43 chapters, including entirely new contributions from many international experts, in the areas of Aboriginal claimants, appraisal and stance, author identities online, biased language in capital trials, corpus approaches, false confessions, forensic phonetics, forensic transcription, the historical courtroom, legal interpretation, multilingual law, police crisis negotiation, speaker profiling, and trolling. The chapters include a wealth of examples and case studies so the reader can see forensic linguistics applied and in action. 

Edited and authored by the world’s leading academics and practitioners, The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics is a vital resource for advanced students, researchers and scholars, and will also be of interest to legal, law enforcement and security professionals.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations

List of conventions used

List of contributors and affiliations

Notes on editors and contributors


1 Introduction

Alison May, Rui Sousa-Silva and Malcolm Coulthard


Section I The language of the law and the legal process


1.1 Legal language and legal meaning

2 Legal talk

Socio-pragmatic aspects of legal questioning: police interviews, prosecutorial discourse and trial discourse

Alison May, Elizabeth Holt, Neveen Al Saeed and Nurshafawati Ahmad Sani


3 Legal writing: complexity

Complex documents / average and not-so-average readers

Gail Stygall


4 Legal writing: attitude and emphasis

Corpus linguistic approaches to ‘legal language’: adverbial expression of attitude and emphasis in supreme court opinions

Edward Finegan and Benjamin T. Lee


5 Creating multilingual law

Language and translation at the Court of Justice of the European Union

Karen McAuliffe


6 Legal interpretation

The category of ordinary meaning and its role in legal interpretation

Christopher Hutton


1.2 Witnesses and suspects in interviews and investigations

7 Miranda rights

Curtailing coercion in police interrogation: the failed promise of Miranda v. Arizona

Janet Ainsworth


8 Witnesses and suspects in interviews

Collecting oral evidence: the police, the public and the written word

Frances Rock


9 False confessors

The language of false confession in police interrogation

Philip Gaines and Belén Lowrey-Kinberg


10 Police interviews in the judicial process

Police interviews as evidence

Kate Haworth


11 Assuming identities online

Authorship synthesis in undercover investigations

Nicci MacLeod


1.3 Language in the courtroom

12 Order in court

Talk-in-interaction in the judicial process

Paul Drew and Fabio Ferraz de Almeida


13 Narrative in the trial

Constructing crime stories in court

Chris Heffer


14 Advances in studies of the historical courtroom

(Con)Textual, ideational and interpersonal dimensions

Krisda Chaemsaithong


15 Capitally speaking

Language and bias in capital trials

Mel Greenlee


16 Multimodality in legal interaction

Beyond written and verbal modalities

Gregory M. Matoesian and Kristin Enola Gilbert


1.4 Lay participants in the judicial process

17 Instructions to jurors

Redrafting California’s jury instructions

Peter M. Tiersma


18 Vulnerable witnesses

Vulnerable witnesses in police investigative interviews in England and Wales

Michelle Aldridge-Waddon


19 Rape victims

The discourse of rape trials

Susan Ehrlich


20 Defendants’ allocutions at sentencing

Courtroom apologies

M. Catherine Gruber


21 Aboriginal claimants

Adjusting legal procedures to accommodate linguistic and cultural issues in hearings in Aboriginal land rights claims in the Northern Territory of Australia

Peter R. A. Gray


Section II The linguist as expert in the legal process

2.1 Expert and process

22 The forensic linguist

The expert linguist meets the adversarial system

Lawrence M. Solan


23 Trademark linguistics

Trademarks: language that one owns

Ronald R. Butters


24 Speaker profiling and forensic voice comparison

The auditory-acoustic approach

Michael Jessen


25 Forensic phonetics and automatic speaker recognition

The complementarity of human- and machine-based forensic speaker comparison

Dominic Watt and Georgina Brown


26 Forensic transcription

The case for transcription as a dedicated branch of linguistic science

Helen Fraser


27 Consumer product warnings

Composition, identification and assessment of adequacy

Bethany K. Dumas


28 Terrorism and forensic linguistics

Linguistics in terrorism cases

Roger W. Shuy


2.2 Multilingualism in legal contexts

29 Non-native speakers in detention

Assessing the English language proficiency of non-native speakers in detention: an expert witness account

Fiona English


30 Court interpreting

The need to raise the bar: court interpreters as specialized experts

Sandra Hale


31 Interpreting outside the courtroom

‘A shattered mirror?’ Interpreting in law enforcement contexts outside the courtroom

Krzysztof Kredens, Eloísa Monteoliva-García and Ruth Morris


2.3 Authorship and opinion

32 Experts and opinions

In my opinion

Malcolm Coulthard


33 Forensic stylistics

The theory and practice of forensic stylistics

Gerald R. McMenamin


34 Text messaging forensics

Txt 4n6: idiolect free authorship analysis?

Tim Grant


35 Plagiarism

Evidence-based detection and analysis in forensic contexts

Rui Sousa-Silva


36 Computational forensic linguistics

Computer-assisted document comparison

David Woolls


Section III New directions

37 Corpus approaches to forensic linguistics

Applying corpus data and techniques in forensic contexts

David Wright


38 Corpora and legal interpretation

Corpus approaches to ordinary meaning in legal interpretation

Stefan Th. Gries


39 Police crisis negotiation

An assessment of existing models

Dawn Archer and Matt Todd


40 Investigative linguistics

Jack Grieve and Helena Woodfield


41 'Prison has been a proper punishment'

Investigating stance in forensic and legal contexts

Tammy Gales


42 Pranksters, provocateurs, propagandists

Using forensic corpus linguistics to identify and understand trolling

Claire Hardaker


43 Concluding remarks

Future directions

Malcolm Coulthard, Alison May and Rui Sousa-Silva



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Malcolm Coulthard is Emeritus Professor of Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, UK. He was Foundation President of the International Association of Forensic Linguists and founding co-editor of the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law (IJSLL) and is co-editor of the international journal Language and Law/Linguagem e Direito.

Alison May (formerly Johnson) is Lecturer in English Language at the University of Leeds, UK. She is co-author of An Introduction to Forensic Linguistics: Language in Evidence, 2nd edn. (with Malcolm Coulthard and David Wright, Routledge, 2017) and co-editor of the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.

Rui Sousa-Silva is Assistant Professor and researcher of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto, Portugal. He is Publicity Officer of the International Association of Forensic Linguists and co-editor of the international journal Language and Law/Linguagem e Direito.


'An exciting new edition of the original ground-breaking forensic linguistics handbook, featuring more than 20 new authors, joining almost 30 of the original authors. The new and updated chapters bring additional depth and breadth, and greater global diversity to this valuable resource. A must-read for scholars, researchers and practitioners in the rapidly developing field of language and the law.'

Diana Eades, University of New England, Australia

From reviews of the first edition:

'... the editors have done a masterful job in providing the needed broad coverage in forensic linguistics, and helped the reader to draw connections and to cross-reference between the variety of papers presented.' - Australian Review of Applied Linguistics