Thursday, August 30, 2012

Forensic linguistics: Is there "anonymous" writing?

Here's something that should be of interest to writing, reading, and data-analytics folks: Forensic Linguistics.

"According to forensic linguists, the experts who investigate a text’s originator, if they have an individual’s known writings, they can detect with up to 95% accuracy that person’s authorship of any other document."

I had professors in college years ago who swore they could tell when someone had her boyfriend write her paper for her, etc., because the writing style was just so different from how the person usually wrote. This age-old gut instinct analysis is now getting some help from the IT world.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks --you can find some downloadable papers on computational forensic linguistics at under the Research menu.

    Love your comment about "age-old gut instinct analysis is not getting some help from the IT world." Yes, that instinct can work when a professor has had access to a student's writing on a weekly basis over a semester, in the same way that eyewitness id is great when the victim actually knows the person. But in most legal settings the person has no contact with the suspected writer, and a very limited amount of data, so the gut instinct turns into just guessing. That is why the computational approach is needed.