FLSD 2013 Call for papers

Under the Auspices of the Doctoral School in Letters, Arts & Humanities, University of Sfax

The English Department &  the Research Unit in Discourse Analysis (GRAD),

at the Faculty of Letters & Humanities, Sfax

jointly organize on   2nd February 2013 a study day on

Forensic Linguistics: Trends, Prospects, and Challenges

The symbiotic relationship between Language and Law is not recent but, as it happens with many other areas of knowledge, it has ignited interest in different linguistic and legal contexts around the world. Unlike in less binding settings of verbal communication, the three interrelated modes of language-mediated communication in legal discourse (i.e. verbal, nonverbal, and paralinguistic) may intertwine to generate a fatal effect on their user(s). Forensic linguistics addresses this complex configuration of the verbal message from diverse angles (lexical choice, grammatical options, semantic packaging, information load, authorial intrusion in narration, voice timber and vibration, eye gaze, posture, slips of the tongue, etc.). The luxury of alternative semantic expression is radically threatened in forensic linguistics as each lexeme—or even phoneme or supra-segmental trait—is capable of  redirecting the orientation of message interpretation, entailing such a grave or felicitous consequence on language users as incrimination or acquittal, respectively.

This study day seeks to explore the interface between Language and the Law by introducing Forensic Linguistics as an emerging academic discipline where verbal forms of address are pivotal to the destiny of interactants. It also aims to promote research on Forensic Linguistics by addressing theoretical and applied issues related to law and language. The study day also offers a roundtable on the functioning of language in both the legal process and the teaching of legal discourse by bringing together scholars and researchers from linguistics and law backgrounds as well as legal practitioners to discuss the ways in which the foregoing issues of Law and Language play themselves out in professional practice in the legislative, judicial, and educational spheres, by mutually complementing each other.

The organizers, therefore, invite presentations from different analytical perspectives including, but not necessarily limited to, any of the following broad themes:

  • Legal discourse/genres
  • Investigative interviewing/ interrogation
  • Authorship attribution/ Plagiarism
  • Courtroom interpreting and translation
  • Language, politics, and law
  • Deception and fraud
  • Forensic transcription
  • Legal teaching, etc.

Abstracts in either English or Arabic (maximum 300 words) should be sent via email to Miss Takoua Bécha, the study day coordinator, at forensiclinguisticsflshs@gmail.com

Abstract submission deadline:28 January 2013

Notification of acceptance: 31 January 2013

Further information will be posted soon!


We look forward to receiving your abstracts!


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