Jan Svartvik PhD

jan-svartvikThe corpus linguist who invented the term “forensic linguistics”

Jan Svartvik is one of the world’s most productive linguists in the field of English linguistics and corpus linguistics. He was a professor of English at Lund University from 1970 – 1995, after receiving his doctorate from the University of Uppsala. Throughout his academic career, Professor Svartvik also held appointments in linguistics at other universities, including the University of Durham, University College London, where he worked with Randolph Quirk on the Survey of English Usage, and Brown University where he collaborated with Professor W. Nelson Francis, another leader in corpus linguistics and, with Henry Kucera, the developer of the Brown Corpus. Professor Svartvik was a leader in the development of the London-Lund Corpus. Dr. Svartvik is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities and Academia Europaea.

As a sole author, co-author, or editor, Professor Svartvik has published, to name a few of his most important works,  A Comprehensive Grammar of the English LanguageA Communicative Grammar of English, English: One Tongue, Many Voices, Engelska -öspråk, världsspråk, trendspråk, Engelsk Universitetsgrammatik, Investigating Linguistic Acceptability, Studies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk, Politikens bog om engelsk – fra øsprog til verdenssprog, English Corpus Linguistics, Errata: Papers in Error Analysis, On Voice in the English Verb, The London Lund Corpus of Spoken English: Description and Research and Computational Experiments in Grammatical Classification, as well as The Evans Statements: A Case for Forensic Linguistics (Gothenburg Studies in English, 1968).

The Association for Linguistic Evidence honors Dr. Svartvik for his pioneering work in forensic linguistics.  In The Evans Statements, Professor Svartvik coined the term “forensic linguistics” to describe his application of standard analytical and quantitative methods in linguistics to a forensic issue –the authorship of investigative statements. Dr. Svartvik’s analysis serves as a model for work in forensic linguistics, as he demonstrates careful syntactic and quantitative analysis in authorship identification. We honor Dr. Svartvik in expectation that scholars attracted to forensic linguistics will follow his lead in careful research, objective and replicable methodology, and standard linguistic analytical techniques. His work truly does make a case for how forensic linguistics should be defined and practiced.