Communication Sciences

CMSI 095A ~ Language and the Law: Adventures in Forensic Linguistics
CRN: 93757

Although, unlike detectives, attorneys, and pathologists, forensic linguists have yet to be the focus of a prime-time television show, there is considerable research in this area, and all of it is fascinating. Law, as it is written and practiced, has often relied heavily on language study, and it is not uncommon for linguists interested in this area to serve as expert witnesses. In this class we will learn about linguistic tools for analyzing language and apply them to transcripts and observations of the Vermont District Court and the Federal District Court in Burlington. In addition, we will talk about these issues with guest speakers from the legal and law enforcement fields who will discuss how they use language and non-verbal behavior in the courtroom or during police arrests and interrogations.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course
Meets: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:50pm-1:40pm
Contact: 802-656-0209,

Julie Roberts: Professor of Communication Sciences, studies American English dialects and believes in the value of learning from what is close by, whether interviewing the Vermonters who have shared their dialects with her or observing language in action in the courtroom. She also hopes to bring greater attention to linguistics at UVM, beginning with the new Linguistics Minor. When not working, she loves to attend plays from Broadway to UVM's Royall Tyler Theatre, read, knit, and garden.