“A Chat With Roger W. Shuy”

Date: Nov 7, 2005, 7 PM Pacific (GMT -8)

Dr. Roger W. Shuy is the
world’s leading authority on forensic linguistics. He makes a passing reference to Psycholinguistics in the transcript of the chat: http://wordsmith.org/chat/forensic-linguistics.html

Dr. Shuy’s degrees are in English:
Ph.D.: Case Western Reserve University, 1962, English and Linguistics
M.A.: Kent State University, 1954, English
B.A.: Wheaton College (Illinois), 1952, English

He equates psycholinguistics to language learning. He appears to paint psycholinguistics as a subset of linguistics, separate to other areas like pragmatics and sociolinguistics.

He states that linguists are better than lawyers at analyzing language, and that forensic linguistics is more prominent in England and Australia than it is in the US. A short excerpt of the chat transcript is appended.

says Psycholinguistics
or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and understand language.

The Columbia Encyclopedia says psycholinguistics is the study of psychological states and mental activity associated with the use of language.

I would expect an expert in the field of Psycholinguistics to have academic credentials in the fields of Psychology and possibly Neurobiology.

I have little doubt about the meaning of Forensic Linguistics, and I can see that degrees in English would be desirable in the broad area of the study of the English language. On the other hand, Psycholinguistics appears to be highly specialized. Simple linguistics (semantics) tells us that the prefix psycho pertains to Psychology (or the mind).

I am going to keep looking to see if I can find an expert in Psycholinguistics.

Tony Shaw - PasadenaCan you help us distinguish between linguistics and semantics?Roger W. ShuyGood question, Tony. Linguistics is the scientific study of language at
all levels: the sound system (phonetics and phonology), the way words
are formed (morphology), the way sentences are formed (syntax), the way
sentences go together to make larger units (discourse analysis), the
dictionary meaning of words (semantics), the way meaning is conveyed in
other ways (pragmatics), the relationship of language to society and
culture (sociolinguistics), language learning (psycholinguistics) and
the history of language changes. Semantics is an important part of
linguistics, but only one part.Roger W. ShuyWeezy, good lawyers use language very effectively. If they’re smart,
they’ll size up a jury first in voir dire and then watch their reactions
during the trial. However good they are with language though, they can’t
analyze it the way linguists do.weezy — central PA USAI would agree with that — but can lawyers learn to be better at
analyzing language?Oliver Butterfield - KelownaI haven’t studied this, but my guess is that Canadian courts would not
permit a forensic linguist to testify as an expert. Judges here (and I
believe in England) like to think that they themselves are the experts
in the English language. ..

Roger W. ShuyOliver, forensic linguistics is more prominent in England and Australia
than it is in the US.