IAFL 2014 First Call for papers

The symbiotic relationship between Language and Law is grounded both in the nature of language as a manipulative instrument of communication  and  the  undeclared  function  of  law  as  susceptible  to  incursive  interpretive  endeavours  by  experts.  Discourse analysts, semioticians, conversational analysts, philosophers of language, and forensic linguists have repeatedly demonstrated through empirical evidence that the apparent regularity of the linguistic code as embodied by syntax, phonology, formal semantics, etc.  lodges  an  underlying  facet  allowing  its  users  to  benefit  from  a  huge  area  of  manoeuvre  which  resists  codification, measurability, and predictability. This subversive nature of the linguistic code has been amazingly echoed in the body of legal texts governing human societies across ages. The classic debate in the Greek and Roman traditions over the abusive orientation in deliberative uses of language in courtrooms testifies to this manipulative potential in both codes: linguistic and jurisprudential.

This  de  facto  convergence  of  objectives  has  recently  given  rise  to  a  budding  branch  of  linguistics:  forensic  linguistics  (FL). Investigation of testimonial evidence, authorship attribution, criminal profiling, courtroom discourse, forensic phonetics and speaker identification, and abusive investigative discourse are sample interest areas in the FL research agenda.


This conference essentially aims at exploring the linkages between the linguistic code and the jurisprudential apparatus in terms of their shared potential for heuristic effort and manipulative uses. Certain ancillary objectives include:

(a) examining the degree of theoretical autonomy in FL,

(b) assessing the contribution of FL achievements in terms of their utility as external and auxiliary source of judicial truth,

(c) discussing the universality of FL findings and the degree of culture-bound nature (e.g. to what extent does witness vulnerability manifest itself evenly across languages?).

Raising such serious theoretical issues in the presence of distinguished scholars of forensic linguistics will certainly assist both the participants and the attendees to gain new insights into FL theory and practice, without losing sight of the cross-cultural perspective.


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

  • Legal discourse/genres
  • Technicality in legal language
  • Police interview/ interrogation
  • Courtroom discourse
  • Authorship attribution/ Plag iarism
  • Courtroom interpreting and translation
  • Deception and fraud
  • Criminal profiling
  • Forensic transcription
  • Speaker Identification/Voice profiling
  • Language, politics, ideology, and law
  • Bilingual/multilingual courtrooms
  • Message distortion due to channel shift (oral-written) in investigation
  • Translation/Interpreting in legal settings
  • Automated treatment of legal corpora
  • Language syllabi for law students, etc.
  • Trademarks/intellectual property
  • Forensic phonetics
  • Language as evidence/Expert witness
  • Language and disadvantage before law
  • Minorities and vulnerable witness(es)

Important dates:

Deadline for abstract submissions:           31st May 2014

Notification of acceptance/rejection:       30th June 2014

Plenary speakers:

We are delighted to announce the following keynote speakers:

  • Professor Edward Finegan, University of Southern California—USA
  • Professor Ronald Butters, University of Duke—USA
  • Professor Malcolm Coulthard, UFSC Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • Professor Fatima-Zahra Lamrani, University of Mohamed V, Rabat—Morocco
  • Professor Mounir Triki, Laboratory on Approaches to Discourse, University of Sfax—Tunisia

Other speakers will be announced once they have confirmed their participation.

The pdf version of the FLFFA 2014 CFP is now available at  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx-2VrR0MWV3T0JUVm1XYmF2Z0k/

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

FLFFA 2014 CFP Final_Page_1 FLFFA 2014 CFP Final_Page_2 FLFFA 2014 CFP Final_Page_3 FLFFA 2014 CFP Final_Page_4

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