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An AI (BARD) Generated Conversation with a Forensic Linguist

To assist those who wish to know more about Forensic Linguists and what they do, I asked BARD AI to construct a pretend conversation. It resulted in a situation I have actually worked on as a Forensic Linguist:

Scene: A forensic linguist's office, 16:16 PST, July 9, 2023.

Forensic Linguist: Hello, Ms. Smith. I'm Dr. Jones, a forensic linguist. I'm here to help you with your case.

Ms. Smith: Thank you for meeting with me. I'm really glad that I found you.

Forensic Linguist: I'm glad I could help. So, can you tell me a little bit about your case?

Ms. Smith: Sure. I'm a writer, and I recently received some anonymous hate mail. The letters are very threatening, and I'm starting to worry about my safety.

Forensic Linguist: I see. Well, I can help you analyze the letters and see if there's anything about them that can give us a clue about the sender.

Ms. Smith: That would be great. I'm really hoping that you can help me catch this person.

Forensic Linguist: I'll do my best. So, let's take a look at the letters.

(The forensic linguist and Ms. Smith spend the next hour analyzing the letters.)

Forensic Linguist: Well, I've analyzed the letters, and I have a few things to say. First, the sender is definitely someone who is familiar with your work. They're able to quote your writing verbatim, and they seem to know a lot about your personal life.

Ms. Smith: That's what I thought. I've been wondering if someone I know is behind this.

Forensic Linguist: It's possible. But it's also possible that the sender is someone who is just very interested in your work.

Ms. Smith: I guess that's possible. But either way, I'm still scared.

Forensic Linguist: I understand. But I think that if we can figure out who the sender is, we can take steps to protect you.

Ms. Smith: I hope so.

Forensic Linguist: Well, I'll keep working on this. I'll let you know if I find anything else.

Ms. Smith: Thank you. I really appreciate your help.

Forensic Linguist: You're welcome.

(The forensic linguist and Ms. Smith shake hands.)

Ms. Smith: (to herself) I hope Dr. Jones can catch this person. I'm so scared, but I'm also starting to feel a little bit better knowing that I'm not alone.




Before there were female ornithologists,


There were no female birds that sang.



Forensic Linguistics Summary


A quick summary of Forensic Linguistics:


  • Know what was said and why; what wasn’t said and why.
  • All communications are preceded by thought. Everything (said or not said) is the result of a decision.
  • Memories are physical-neuron connections (smells, sounds, sights, feelings, etc).
  • Telling the truth is easier/less stressful than lying/creating.
  • Calibrate to the individual: pace, rhythm, vocabulary, blinking rate, focus, mannerisms, hand movements, etc. An introductory session before the interview is critical to calibrate the individual.
  • Partial truths - we learn at an early age (2 - 4 yrs.) to tell partial truths; convince ourselves partial truths = whole truths ≠ lie.
  • If you tell me something, knowing it is misleading, is that telling the truth?
  • Everything contaminates - even questions.
  • A person can be truthful and not factual.
  • Pronouns reveal. My daughter vs. My other daughter vs. My youngest daughter.
  • Denials. “I deny … ≠ a denial; “I didn’t do it.” = a denial.
  • Past tense, active voice = credible for a past event. Passive voice, present tense, and change in voice = possible deception.
  • Communication Patterns are essential (calibrate); communication pattern changes reveal much information.
  • Question structure is very important. Avoid wiggle words; use only mutually-understood words.


The True Meaning of a Message


People often conceal their real message. Understanding the real message requires the listener to calibrate to the subject's communication patterns. A change in that communication pattern may be a clue as to the message's true meaning. For example, the subject may change his/her breathing pattern, speech pattern, word pronunciation, eye movement, handwriting, etc. and that change may signal a change in meaning, a different meaning than the literal meaning of the communication element(s) used. 

To understand the true meaning of communication between two people, the speaker and listener must mutually understand each and every communication element of the message. Each must know what was said and why and what wasn’t said and why not.




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