Forensic linguists operate in the field of forensic linguistics, a branch of applied linguistics that involves linguistic knowledge, methods and insights pertaining to the forensic context of law. When writing a paper on the topic, keep in mind that there are many forms of forensic linguist studies. For example:
- Legal Texts
- Legal Processes
- Suicide Letters
- Death Row Statements
- Discourse Analysis
- Forensic Phonetics
- Author Identification
Forensic linguists are concerned with the vocal and written language that is involved in the investigation of crime as well as judicial procedure in relation to trial. The work of forensic linguists involves contributing to the understanding of how language is used written law, how language is used in forensic investigation and judicial processes and how language is use in the collection and presentation of evidence in court cases.
Forensic Linguists and the IAFL
The International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) is one organization that uses forensic linguistic techniques to derive the evidence necessary to proceed into litigation and either substantiate or rebut other collected evidence. There are many areas of expertise in relation to performing the duties of a forensic linguist including but not confined to voice identification, author identification, dialectology and linguistic veracity analysis.
Each of these areas requires different studies and degrees of difficulty however, they are all equally important in the process of not only collecting evidence but also in conveying the evidence in legal terms. Forensic linguists work most frequently within the field of law enforcement however many also work in the corporate arena as contract law specialists. Forensic linguists who are interested in working as researchers are generally required to attain a doctorate degree in the field.