Exploring State-of-the-Art Software for Forensic Authorship Identification

By Guillén-Nieto, Victoria; Vargas-Sierra, Chelo et al. | International Journal of English Studies, January 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Exploring State-of-the-Art Software for Forensic Authorship Identification


Guillén-Nieto, Victoria, Vargas-Sierra, Chelo, Pardiño-Juan, María, Martínez-Barco, Patricio, Suárez-Cueto, Armando, International Journal of English Studies


ABSTRACT

Back in the 1990s Malcolm Coulthard announced the beginnings of an emerging discipline, forensic linguistics, resulting from the interface of language, crime and the law. Today the courts are more than ever calling on language experts to help in certain types of cases, such as authorship identification, plagiarism, legal interpreting and translation, statement analysis, and voice identification. The application of new technologies to the analysis of questioned texts has greatly facilitated the work of the language scientist as expert witness in the legal setting, and contributed to the successful analysis and interpretation of style providing statistical and measurable data. This article aims at presenting linguists and researchers in forensic linguistics with an exploration of the strengths, limitations and challenges of state-of-the-art software for forensic authorship identification.

KEYWORDS: Forensic linguistics, language, crime, law, software for forensic authorship identification.

I. THE AIM OF THIS DISCUSSION

Over the last decade it has become evident that linguists can be of service to the law, and courts, especially in Common Law countries, are calling on language experts more and more to help in certain types of cases, such as authorship identification, voice identification, plagiarism, legal interpreting and translation, statement analysis, etc.

Undoubtedly, the application of new technologies to the analysis of questioned texts has significantly facilitated the work of the language scientist as expert witness in the legal setting, by enhancing the scientific reliability of descriptive linguistic analysis with measurable data, and reducing the time-consuming task involved in the observation, description, analysis, and counting of the data.

The aim of this discussion is to present language experts and researchers with an exploration of the strengths, limitations, and challenges of state-of-the-art software for forensic authorship identification. For the purpose of analysis, this article will be divided into two main parts:

Part one will be devoted to forensic linguistics as an up-and-coming discipline within the field of applied linguistics. Our discussion in this first part will provide the reader with essential background information to understand forensic language researchers' recent, healthy interest in new techniques and methods that may help the language expert explain linguistic findings in statistical terms, and be consistent with the current scientific reliability standard that is demanded for linguistic evidence by the judiciary, especially in Common Law countries.

Part one will be further divided into three sections. Firstly, we will offer the reader a brief overview of authorship identification and the birth of forensic linguistics. Secondly, we will look at stylistic analysis as an approach to forensic authorship identification. And lastly, we will consider the problems faced by the language scientist as expert witness in the legal setting, after the Federal Rules of Evidence in the USA providing the new standard for admitting expert scientific testimony in a federal trial came into force (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals 92-102, 509 U.S., 579, 1993). A consideration of a major challenge to forensic linguistics, as seen in latest developments of the discipline, will bring part one to an end.

Part two will concentrate on new advances in software for quantitative data analysis used in forensic authorship identification by examining a selected sample of state-of-the-art tools.

Finally, the concluding remarks section will bring together the most relevant conclusions as to the role played by software for quantitative analysis in forensic authorship identification, and suggestions for further development will be given as to the main challenges in this field.

PART ONE

II. FORENSIC AUTHORSHIP IDENTIFICATION AND THE BIRTH OF FORENSIC LINGUISTICS

The emergence of forensic linguistics as a discipline is closely related to two prominent cases of disputed authorship in police statements in the UK. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Exploring State-of-the-Art Software for Forensic Authorship Identification
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.