Forensic Linguistics: Linguist as detective & expert witness

Linguists are frequently asked to help the police and courts when there is a dispute over the authorship of a written text — suicide note, abusive or threatening letter, email or text message. In this excerpt from his inaugural lecture, Professor Coulthard explains the concepts he used to help identify the authorship of text messages in a recent murder trial. The full lecture is available online at: Aston University is home to the world’s first centre for forensic linguistics. Find out more at:
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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21 Responses to Forensic Linguistics: Linguist as detective & expert witness

  1. mogatsamasego says:

    Writer, translator and teacher.

  2. zawmbees says:

    What are you doing now?

  3. RoshWilliams says:

    I find this fascinating!! I don’t have the discipline to pursue a career in it but it’s fascinating nonetheless.

  4. Ben Mortiboy says:

    I had Malcolm last year, and sitting listening to him is so awe inspiring

  5. JorgeLorenzoSpain100 says:

    “in the future the discipline must demand from its students, as basic requirement, a detailed knowledge of the Basque language, which is the foundation of almost all advanced languages on earth” edo nyland

  6. mogatsamasego says:

    Good luck. I studied linguistics. It’s a fascinating if tricky subject.

  7. maximuslaurius says:

    one of my lecturers :)

  8. DLoc0 says:

    awesome thanks

  9. Flavio Mattos. says:

    Actually always there’s something implicit in every written and in every speak, as the filosopher Paul Grice stated in the act of speak, so one of those contribuition is due to the filosopher Paul Grice.

  10. mrcicciobaciccio says:


  11. tomski3 says:

    Hmm, this is the kind of thing I analyse (just because it interests me, I’m not professional, I’m not even at uni quite yet). I’d rather like to do his job actually :).

  12. werealldoodshey says:

    this guy’s great

  13. rayray160990 says:

    oh i’ve been to a lecture that this guy contributed to! very interesting, i’ve thought about doing forensic linguistics since then, i didn’t know that there were these vidoes on youtube!

  14. Malachayas says:

    I so want to specialize on this area.

  15. MagellanOfBass says:


  16. MagellanOfBass says:

    slessorpr have you been listing to Deep Purple’s “Knocking At Your Backdoor”? :)

  17. muslimah185 says:

    I only just realized that Aston records the lectures thats brilliant!! Got to say, Malcom is a brilliant lecturer, very knowledgeable. Weve looked into some of the cases he talks about.

  18. slessorpr says:

    We definitely need more cunning linguists in crime detection, ‘Lie To Me’ and ‘The Mentalist’ two TV series which demonstrate this point very well, although ‘body language’ is assigned less importance in criminology than most linguistic studies since it is harder to document without video and slow motion playback capabilities.

  19. firebreathone2 says:

    It’s fascinating indeed

  20. richardandersen1 says:

    Intriguing. Loved it.

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