Joint-honours information for 2016 entry

Forensic Linguistics

Module Q1085

Module details for 2016/17.

15 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

In this module we look at the interaction between linguistics and the law and more specifically we focus on the face-threatening strategies of deception, manipulation and aggression. This is a practical module in which we study the ways that linguistics can be applied in non-academic contexts. We start by examining the role of the linguist as an expert witness in the legal system and in this section we focus on the use of stylistics in investigating disputed authorship, for instance in missing person cases. We also examine and evaluate research into linguistic markers of deception. In the second part of the module, we analyse the language used in the legal process, with a particular focus on courtroom discourse and police interviews. In this part, students will visit a courtroom and report back on the language practices they observed. We will describe the norms of courtroom discourse with particular reference to the pragmatic and discourse features. Subsequently, we focus on the ways in which certain groups may be linguistically disadvantaged in that process and how they are, or could be, protected from discrimination. In the final session, we briefly address the ways in which the law is applied to language, for instance in determining what counts as hate speech or libel.

Module learning outcomes

Critically appraise different linguistic approaches to authorship attribution and identification of deception.

Describe the dynamics of interactions in police interviews/courtroom discourse with reference to pragmatic and narrative features.

Discuss the ways in which particular social groups may be linguistically disadvantaged by the structure of courtroom discourse.

Identify the linguistic features which contribute to a perception of complexity in legal language.

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
ReportA2 Week 1 40.00%
EssayT2 Week 4 30.00%
EssayT2 Week 8 30.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterWorkshop2 hours000000000110
Spring SemesterSeminar2 hours111111111000

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Charlotte Taylor

Convenor, Assess convenor

Ms Emma Carlyle

Assess convenor

Miss Trudy Cadman

Assess convenor

Ms Anne Crawford

Assess convenor

Dr Chloe Porter

Assess convenor

Dr Lynne Cahill

Assess convenor

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