International Association of Forensic Linguists

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The International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL) is a professional organization consisting primarily of linguists working in fields related to the area of language and law, or forensic linguistics. Areas of expertise include (but are not limited to) authorship attribution, disputed confessions, trademark issues, legal language, etc. In addition to linguists, the association has members from other professions related to language and the law, particularly members of the legal profession. Currently, the president of the IAFL is Janet Cotterill (Cardiff University), and the vice-president is Ronald Butters (Duke University).

The IAFL holds biennial international conferences and edits the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law (formerly Forensic Linguistics), a peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles on any aspect of forensic language, speech and audio analysis. The board of editors includes language experts; Ronald Butters, Diana Eades, Paul Foulkes and Peter French.


In 2008, lawyers hired by the one-man company Nemesysco threatened with legal actions unless the article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science",[1] published in International Journal of Speech Language and the Law in 2007, was withdrawn.[2] The publisher Equinox decided to withdraw the article from the online version of the magazine, and offered the company to publish a letter in the journal, an offer they never took.[3] In the article, a commercial product sold by the company was criticized as based on pseudo-science, and the company was not given the chance to comment before the article was published. The withdrawal resulted in criticism of the publisher for not understanding how to manage a scientific journal.[4] The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences branded the company's behavior a "serious assault on research freedom".[5]


  1. ^ Eriksson, Anders; Francisco Lacerda (2007). "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously". International Journal of Speech Language and the Law. Equinox Publishing. 14 (2): 169–193. doi:10.1558/ijsll.2007.14.2.169. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  2. ^ "Lie Detector Company Threatens Critical Scientists With Suit". Slashdot. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  3. ^ Joyce, Janet (2008-12-04). "Note from Publisher". Equinox Publishing. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  4. ^ Bojs, Karin (2009-01-27). "They try to suppress research". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  5. ^ "Serious assault on research freedom". Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-11. [dead link]

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