Apparently I am not the only person who sees forensic linguistics as dangerously like the forensic sciences deemed in need of science by the NAS Report.
Just a week or two ago, The New Yorker published an article by Jack Hitt, a comedian (no kidding) and reporter. In it, the author contrasts subjective and qualitative work done by “the rock stars of the field” versus computerized and quantitative work done by yours truly, work that just makes the rock star “want to take a nap.” ROFL, or as one Federally-employed forensic scientist I know says about this state of affairs, “it would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.”
Law professor David A Harris posted a great commentary on his blog Failed Evidence .
Meanwhile a mystery writer posts that she thinks the subjective approach is glorious, and in fact, her fictional character is doing it too!
So which way are we going to go? Yes, the subjective, qualitative work can be done by just about anyone with an interest in language and access to dialect dictionaries, and No, the objective, quantitative approach isn’t flashy and story-based.
But if you were facing a trial, would you rather have on your side an expert whose method was endorsed by a mystery writer or a law professor?
And that’s how Failed Evidence got on my blogroll. I’ll be reading it faithfully, and learning a lot.