Baranov A.N. Linguistics in Forensic Linguistic Expertise (Method and Truth)


Anatoliy N. Baranov

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Head of Department of Experimental Lexicography, Russian Language Institute RAS (Vinogradov Institute)

Volkhonka St., 18/2, 119019 Moscow, Russian Federation

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Abstract. The paper considers forensic linguistic expertise as a part of applied linguistics that supplies judicial practice with special knowledge – linguistic one. Forensic linguistic expertise is a specific genre of a document and at the same time a result of linguistic research, intended for implementation of linguistic knowledge into other spheres. In this case linguistic theory position might get weakened, as a balance between judicial and linguistic aspects of scientific research might be disturbed. Due to some ignorance to linguistic nature of an expertise activity, justification of methods and techniques of analysis might seem insufficient, unclear and misleading. The problem of research methods is of greater importance in humanitarian sciences, because verification of results, objectification of an intuition of the researcher concerning language matter, psychology of human being or social phenomena are insufficient in this field of scientific investigation. In forensic expertise verification of results is prerequisite of this type of discourse, defined by the law. In the paper appropriateness of methods are under consideration, which are often mentioned in forensic linguistic expertise as an instrument of data analysis. Such methods as analysis and synthesis, or analysis through synthesis are too general for linguistic research. In another group unclear and undefined methods are included. The case of this kind is conceptual analysis, which every scientist understands in its own way. The term pragmatic analysis has wide extensional from stylistic characteristic of words to social status of participants in a dialogue. Some methods of analysis are understood in a wrong way, i.e. content-analysis, component analysis.
It is shown, that the main method of scientific research that is used by every expert in its work is synonymic transformations. This idea goes back to R. Jacobson, who proposed that a work of linguist consists in rewriting of object text with means of metalanguage into another text. The last one has characteristics which are important for the research: explicitness of meaning, classification of syntactic structures, explication of argument structure etc.
Dictionary analysis, summarization, speech act consequences (in term of illocutionary force) reference analysis are just different kinds of synonymic transformations.

Key words: applied linguistics, forensic linguistic expertise, research method, dictionary analysis, synonymic transformation, explication, reference analysis, speech act theory.

Citation. Baranov A.N. Linguistics in Forensic Linguistic Expertise (Method and Truth). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2, Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2017, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 18-27. (in Russian). DOI:

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