Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 11:34:16 EST
From: RonButters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: FBI, voice identifcaiton, and dialect

In a message dated 3/11/98 9:09:56 AM, abatef[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]COMPUSERVE.COM wrote:

I'd be interested to know if the FBI (if it was them) still uses dailec=
geography as evidence, and whether this stemmed from Labov's work.

Anyone know? Is there a list of "shibboleth" words that still works in
determining place of origin?

In addition to Labov's 1988 article, I recommend the following: (1). Sher=
ry=0AAsh's 1988 article, "Speaker Identification in Sociolinguistics and =
Criminal=0ALaw" (NWAV-16 Proceedings), (2). Bethany Dumas's article in th=
e Winter 1990=0AAMERICAN SPEECH ("Voice Identification in a Criminal Law =
Context"), and (3).=0A"Linguistics in the Courtroom," by Penelope O. Pick=
ett, M. F. S. (_FBI Law=0AEnforcement Bulletin_ (October 1993, pp. 6=969)=
; quote:
"_Author/Speaker Assessment_
"In analyzing communications to determine demographic and psychologi=
cal=0Acharacteristics of the author/speaker, the linguistic examiner look=
s at the=0Asame features as in the comparison examination, e.g., vocabula=
ry selection,=0Asyntax, phraseology, etc. The examiner basically does the=
same type of=0Acomparison examination, but in author/speaker assessments=
, uses population=0Astandards as the comparative material.
"Unfortunately, a comprehensive, centralized set of population stand=
ards=0Adoes not exist, even though linguists, sociologists, psychologists=
, and others=0Ahave conducted various studies on the various factors. [No=
te 3: Studies have=0Abeen conducted on such factors as word frequency cou=
nts, dialects, accents,=0Aregional expressions, social setting influence =
on language, sex, and age=0Adifferences in language usage, occupational j=
argon, word associations,=0Apsychological influences on language, and ide=
ational disturbance.]"=0A