The Institute for Linguistic Evidence is the first and only non-profit (501c3) organization devoted to research in forensic linguistics. Since 1998, the Institute for Linguistic Evidence (ILE) has provided a venue for a network of researchers around the globe and pioneered validation testing for linguistic methods. ILE’s main functions are

ILE initiated a professional association so that linguists who work in forensic linguistics could be vetted and recognized, and our stakeholder communities could find reliable experts. TALE: The Association for Linguistic Evidence is ILE’s outreach to the law enforcement, legal, security and intelligence communities.

We invite you to learn about TALE and consider joining a professional association devoted to the highest ethical standards and research-driven, validated methodologies in forensic linguistics. While ILE continues to lead research in forensic linguistics, TALE focuses on knowledge dissemination to our stakeholder communities and professional development for forensic linguists.


TALE supports ILE’s mission of knowledge dissemination through our conferences, our communication fora and our journal.

TALE Conferences

TALE convenes meetings in coordination with the International Language and Law Association and the Linguistic Society of America as well as independently. At ILLA, TALE works with ILLA executives to organize the Forensic Linguistics Workshop which includes all aspects of language as evidence from phonetics to discourse. At LSA, TALE has organized symposia as well as panels; our symposia have consistently been among the best attended events at the LSA conference.

TALE Communication Fora

TALE sponsors the Telling TALE Forensic Linguistics Blog. Members of TALE are welcome to contribute posts as well as comments.

TALE sponsors a LinkedIN Group, Forensic Linguistic Evidence. This group is open and moderated, so contributors do not have to be members of TALE. Since its inception on August 30, 2012, this group has grown to an international group with over 780 members (as of December 31, 2017). Members are vetted to be sure that members have backgrounds in either linguistics or legal professions.

TALE creates a forum,  in which members can freely

  • discuss the current state of forensic linguistics and forensic science in general,
  • encourage each other to develop and test forensic linguistic methods independent of any litigation,
  • encourage each other to develop, offer, use and admit the most reliable forensic linguistic methods in both investigation and adjudication,
  • discover potential partners for research collaboration.


Academic Publishing

TALE publishes a journal, LESLI: Linguistic Evidence in Security, Law and Intelligence, through ILE and the University of Pittsburgh. Our electronic, open access, double blind peer-reviewed journal provides free access to current research in forensic linguistics from ILE researchers as well as others who are doing excellent work in forensic linguistics. Through LESLI, TALE members can

  • read and publish articles that are vetted by double-blind, academic peer review by a well-respected group of experts in linguistics, cognitive science, computer science, psychology, security, law and intelligence,
  • describe research needs and requests from the security, law and intelligence communities,
  • read annual research reviews and updates,
  • read stimulating and sometimes controversial policy discussions in essays by established contributors to the field of forensic linguistics,
  • discover new sources of data collection and availability, with security restrictions,
  • disseminate validation test results as quickly as possible,
  • and find discussions of methodology in cases which have been fully adjudicated, without any pending appeals or ongoing litigation or settlement procedures.

For more information, see LESLI. The first volume and issue was published in December 2013.


As professionals with the highest ethical standards, TALE members seek the most reliable methods of handling linguistic evidence in the forensic setting, as anything less would weaken the integrity of our justice system. TALE professionals handle forensic linguistic evidence as

  • law enforcement,
  • private investigators,
  • security consultants,
  • data aggregators,
  • legal analysts,
  • litigation support professionals
  • attorneys,
  • judges,
  • law professors specializing in evidence,
  • intelligence analysts,
  • court translators and court interpreters,
  • court reporters,
  • fraud examiners,
  • digital forensic examiners,
  • forensic document examiners,
  • linguists, computational linguists, psycholinguists, sociolinguists,
  • statisticians,
  • cognitive scientists,
  • psychologists, psychiatrists,
  • computer scientists,
  • data scientists and business intelligence analysts.

This list is not inclusive –you may be using forensic linguistic evidence in a profession that is not listed above.

TALE has two tracks: Security/Law/Intelligence Professionals [SLIP] and Researcher-Expert Practitioners [REP].

  • SLIP includes law enforcement, security analysts and consultants, intelligence analysts, private investigators, business intelligence analysts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, plaintiff attorneys, legal evidence professors.
  • REP includes linguists, translator-interpreters, cognitive scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, computer scientists, engineers who conduct research in the field and provide expert testimony and consulting.

TALE has five levels of membership: Honorary Fellow, Fellow, Member, Provisional Member and Student Member.

TALE’s Honorary Fellows include the corpus linguist who invented the term forensic linguistics, the linguist who pioneered forensic linguistics in Germany, the sociolinguist who reported the misuse of prescriptive grammar in forensic linguistics, the criminologist who pioneered validation testing for interviewing techniques, and an acoustic engineer who created software for linguistically-attuned speaker identification.

TALE’s fellows and members include a criminal investigator with over 40 years experience, a psychologist who partnered with a police officer to investigate 911 calls, a sociolinguist whose work in Global English dialects directly applies to employment law, a linguist who created the first ground truth database for testing forensic linguistic methods, an attorney who recognized the increasing need for reliable forensic linguistic evidence, an information assurance expert who spotted the connection between plagiarism and security. When you join TALE, you are in good company!

TALE’s provisional and student members include academic linguists, industry linguists and who are learning how to become forensic linguists, after already earning their degrees in linguistics from respected academic departments. Graduate and undergraduate students in respected departments of linguistics, psychology, cognitive science and computer science are also eligible to join TALE, as long as their training is in a main field of linguistics. TALE’s provisional and student members in the SLIP track are working in SLIP environments or enrolled in academic programs earning degrees in intelligence analysis, security, information assurance, and criminal justice.

Each member agrees to abide by TALE’s Code of Ethics, a document that details the principles for handling forensic linguistic evidence responsibly and respectfully.


An important function of TALE is the development of standards for forensic linguistic evidence, including standards for

    • methods,
    • data collection,
    • training and education, and
    • ethical practice as expert witnesses.

Annual Dues are a modest $50 for membership ($25 for students and professional in developing countries) and in the United States are tax-deductible in support of ILE, a tax-exempt research organization under 501(c)3. Annual dues defray the cost of

      • hosting and maintaining the ILE website for TALE Announcements,
      • maintaining the Telling TALE  forensic linguistics blog,
      • publishing and editing the LESLI journal,
      • providing support for ILE research projects and research associates, including
      • mini-grants and access to research tools for research associates in developing countries.

We invite you to join TALE and support the development of forensic linguistics into a truly mature forensic science.