Forensic Linguistics: Finding a Murderer Through Text Messages

Malcolm Coulthard teaches Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, Birmingham. And, in case you’re wondering what this means, forensic linguistics is all about “taking linguistic knowledge, methods and insight, and applying these to the forensic context of law, investigation, trial, punishment and rehabilitation.” Or solving crimes, in short.  This may sound rather dry, but when Professor Coulthard talks about his work we get a fascinating glimpse into what forensic linguistics looks like in practice. In the video above, an excerpt from his inaugural lecture at Aston University (watch the full version here), Coulthard explains how the analysis of text messages helped solve a recent murder case. This puts him on the new frontier of police work.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the BBC, Tim Grant, Deputy Director at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, explains how his team’s analysis of documents and writings can help police with their investigations. The video does not work in all regions, but there is a transcript below the video.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

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