forensic linguistics
legal linguistics

How to Cite



This paper is concerned with four main aspects or parts of forensic linguistics: Forensic linguistics in speech mode and in writing, the special status of Arabic, linguistic problems and possibilities of translation for forensics, and Language Analysis for Determination of Origin (LADO). After presenting these issues in the introduction, we describe the language situation of Arabic, mainly in Israel, in the context of these four issues. The discussion is based on the literature concerning problems of translation and LADO in courts of justice in various countries, including Israel. We consider LADO as a developing field of forensic linguistics, and demonstrate by examples some problems that may rise from speech recordings of Arabic speaking asylum seekers. Based on this survey, we point out in the conclusion some research needs of general forensic linguistics and Arabic related forensic linguistics.


Al-‘Aqad, Mohammed H.A.. 2012. A comparative study between Arabic and Malay legal text: The case of legal Translation. Paper presented at the 12th Annual Research Postgraduate Conference, in Hong Kong.

Auer, Peter (ed.). 1998. Code-Switching in Conversation: Language, Interaction and Identity. London: Routledge.

Auer, Peter and Li Wei (eds.). 2007. Handbook of Multilingualism and Multilingual Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Bakshi, Aviad. 2011. Is Arabic an official language in Israel? The Institute for Zionist Strategies, Jerusalem. (accessed on 10.5.2013) (in


Barkat-Defradas, Melissa, Rym Hamdy and FranCois Pelegrino. 2004. De la caractérisation Linguistique à l’identification automatique des dialectes arabes. Paper presented at the MIDL, Paris, 29-30.11.2004 :51-56 in Paris, France. http://archives.limsi.Fr/2004/MIDL//actes/session%20II/Barkat-Defradas&Hamdi&Pellegrino_MIDL2004.pdf (accessed on 29.12.2005).

Bar-Asher-Tsaban, Tamar. 2012. Verdict: Case No. TA 2636-09. Jerusalem, magistrate’s court, 24.6.2012. (accessed on 13.7.2012).

Basim, Yahya Jasim. 2012. Author Attribution in Suicide Notes: Evidence from Applied Linguistics. Comparative Legilinguistics International Journal for Legal Communication. 10: 7-22.

Behnstedt, Peter and Manfred Woidich. (2005. Arabische Dialektgeographie: Eine Eunführung, Leiden: Brill.

Peter and Manfred Woidich. 2011, 2012. Wortatlas der arabischen Dialekte (2 volumes). Leiden, Boston: Brill.

Ben Rafael, Eliezer. 1994. Language, Identity, and Social Division: The Case of Israel. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Biadsy, Fadi, Julia Hischberg and Nizar Habash. 2009. Spoken Arabic dialect identification using phonotactic modeling. Paper presented at the EACTL 2009 Workshop and published in: Proceedings of EACTL 2009 Workshop on Computational approaches to Semitic Languages, Athens, Greece, 53-6 (accessed 29.11.2012).

Blanc, Haim. 1964. Communal dialects in Baghdad. Cambridge, Mass.: Distributed for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies of Harvard University Press.

Blommaert, Jan. 2009. Language, Asylum, and the National Order. Current Anthropology, 50 (4): 415-419. (Accessed 31.7.2012).

Broeders, A.P.A. 2010. Decision making in LADO – A view from the forensic arena. In Language and Origin: The role of Language in European Asylum Procedures: Linguistic and Legal Perspectives, eds. Karin Zwaan, Maaike Verrips and Pieter Muysken, 51-60. Nijmegen:

Wolf Legal Publishers.

Conklin Gardner, Barbara, Robert Gardner and Dennis Shortelle (eds.). 2002. Encyclopedia of Forensic Science: A Compendium of Detective Fact and Fiction. Westport, Conn., London: Oryx Press.

Coulthard, Malcolm and Alison Johnson. 2007. An introduction to forensic linguistics: Language in Evidence. London: Routledge.

Den Heijer, Johnanes. 2012. Introduction: Middle and Mixed Arabic: A new trend in Arabic studies. In Middle Arabic and Mixed Arabic: Diachrony and Synchrony ed. Liesebeth Zack and Arie Schippers. 1-26. Leiden: Brill.

Judith ROSENHOUSE, General and Local Issues in Forensic Detailleur, Joachim and Massimiliano Spotti. 2012. Placing shibboleths at the institutional gate: LADO tests and the construction of asylum seekers’ identities Working Papers in Urban Language and Literacies. 99: 1-13.

Al-Dubaib, Ahmad Ben Muhammad. . 2001 (The Arabic Language in the

Globalization Era). Al-Riyad: Al-ʕAbika:n Library (in Arabic).

Eades, Diana. 2003. The participation of second language and second dialect speakers in the legal system. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 23: 113-133.

Evans, Betsy E. 2010. Aspects of the Acoustic Analysis of Imitation. In A Reader in Sociophonetics. Dennis R. Preston and Nancy Niedzielski (eds.), 379-392. New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Ferguson, Charles Albert. 1959. Diglossia. Word, 15: 325-403.

Fraser, Helen. 2009. The role of educated native speakers in providing language analysis for the determination of the origin of asylum seekers. International Journal of Speech Language and the Law. 16 (1): 113-138.

Hefer, Shira. 2007. Linguistic and cultural mediation of social services: State of oral translation in the legal system in Israel (An empirical research), Hed Ha-’ulpan He-Hadash, 91: 70-77

Holes, Clive. 2004. Modern Arabic: Structures, Functions, and Varieties (revised ed.) Washington,D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Al-Huqbany, M.N. 2008. Identifying the English language needs of Saudi police officers. ‘Ayn, Journal of the Saudi Association of Languages and Translation, 1(2): 55-97.

Ibrahim, Zeinab 2009. Beyond Lexical Variation in Modern Standard Arabic: Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Kaye, Alan S. and Judith Rosenhouse. 1997. Arabic dialects and Maltese In The Semitic Languages. ed. Robert Hetzron. 263-311. London: Routledge Publishing House.

Kniffka, Hannes. 2007. Working in Language and Law: A German Perspective. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Krumbacher, Karl. 1903. Das Problem der neugriechischen Schriftsprache, München (= Festrede in der öffentlichen Sitzung der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu

München, 1902).

Landau, Renana. 1999. The sentence at a sentence: forensic linguistics – the linguist at the service of jurists. ‘Iyyunim Ba-Mishpat (Law Studies) 22: 37-64 (in Hebrew).

The Language and National Origin Group. 2004. Guidelines for the Use of Language Analysis in Relation to Questions of National Origin in Refugee Cases. In Language and Origin: The role of Language in European Asylum Procedures: Linguistic and Legal Perspectives

eds. Karin Zwaan, Maaike Verrips and Pieter Muysken. 2010. 233-239. Nijmegen: Wolf

Lee, Jieun. 2011. Translatability of speech style in court interpreting. The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law. 18 (1): 1-34.

Liphshiz, Cnaan. 2008. Court interpreters fail non-Hebrew speakers, alleges translator group. Ha-Aretz online in English (accessed from the online Ha’aretz, daily newspaper, 14.7.12.)

Al-Maʕadeed, Somayya, Mohammed, Eman, D. Al-Kassis, and F. Al-Muslih. 2008. Writer identification using edge-based directional probability distribution features for Arabic words. paper presented in Computer Systems and Applications, 2008. AICCSA 2008.

IEEE/ACS International Conference, Al-Doha, Qatar, 582-590 (Accessed on 12.2.2013).

Marçais, William. 1930. La diglossie arabe. L'Enseignement Publique, 97: 20-39.

Mifsud, Manwel. 2008. Maltese. In Kess Versteegh (ed.) Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Vol. III, 146-159. Leiden: Brill.

Morris, Ruth. 1995. The moral dilemmas of court interpreting. The Translator, 1(1): 25-46. Comparative Legilinguistics 15/2013

Morris, Ruth. 1998. Justice in Jerusalem – Interpreting in Israeli Legal proceedings. Meta: Journal des Traducteurs/Meta: Translators’ Journal, 43 (1): 110-118.

Natan, Gilad. 2012. The Knesset Report: The Policy toward Infiltrators, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Israel and European countries. Research and Information Center, The Knesset, Jerusalem, 28.5.2012. (accessed 10.3.2013)

Olsson, John. 2004. Forensic Linguistics: Introduction to Language, Crime and the Law. London, New York: Continuum.

Pinto, Meital. 2010. Who is afraid of language rights in Israel? In Multiculturalism in Israel. eds.

Ohad Nachtomy and Avi Sagi., 26-51. Academic Studies Press (in Hebrew).

Rabin, Chaim. 1951. Ancient West-Arabian. London: Taylor’s Foreign Press.

Rieschild-Robertson, Verna. 2007. Influences of language proficiency, bilingual socialization, and urban youth identities on producing different Arabic-English voices in Australia. Novitas-

ROYAL, 1 (1): 34-52.

Rosenhouse, Judith 1998. Women's speech and language variation in Arabic dialects. Al-‘Arabiyya, 31: 123-152.

Rosenhouse, Judith. 2010. LADO and Arabic: The case of Iraqi Arabic as an introduction to the Middle East. In Kerin Zwaan, Maaike Verrips and Pieter Muysken (eds.) Language and Origin: The role of Language in European Asylum Procedures: Linguistic and Legal Perspectives. 145-156. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Wolf Legal Publishers.


Schuster, Michal and Miriam Shlesinger. 2007. Access of essential services to language minorities.

In Dina Feldman, Yael Danieli Lahav and Shmuel Haimovitz (eds.) The Accessibility of the Israeli Society for Persons with Disabilities on the Threshold of the 21st Century.639-662. Jerusalem: Ministry of Justice

Sévenier-Gabriel, Neri. 2007. Court Interpreting in Criminal Judicial Proceedings in Israel: A Study in Professionalism, unpublished MA Thesis, Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University

Sévenier-Gabriel, Neri. (2013) Personal Communication.

Shlesinger, Miriam. 1991. Interpreter latitude vs. due process: Simultaneous and consecutive interpretation in multilingual trials. In Empirical Research in Translation and Intercultural Studies, ed. Sonja Tirkkonen-Condit. 147-155. Tubingen: Gunter Narr.

Shlesinger, Miriam, Elda Weizman and Francine Kaufman. 2006. From vocational training to an academic discipline: History of the department of translation. D. Schwarz (ed.) Mera‘ yon le-ma’as (From Concept to Enterprise), Ramat Gan: University of Bar-Ilan Press, Vol. 1, 449-462.

Shuy, Roger. 1993. Language Crimes: The Use and Abuse of langugae Evidence in the Courtoom. Cambridge, Mass., USA, Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Spolsky, Bernard Dov and Elana Shohamy. 1999. The languages of Israel: Policy, Ideology, and Practice. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Stern, Yedidya Z. 2004. State, Law and Halakhah, Part 3. Religion and State: The Role of Halakhah, (Policy Paper no. 48) Jerusalem: The Israeli Institute of Democracy.

Türkel, Jaakov. 2002. Egalitarianism in accessibility to legal services (accessed on: 22.8.2012)

Judith ROSENHOUSE, General and Local Issues in Forensic UNCHR. 2012. Asylum levels and trends in industrialized countries, 2011: Statistical overview of asylum applications… The UN Refugee Agency. (accessed on 5.3.2012)

Vicente, Angeles. 2009. Gender and language boundaries in the Arab world: Current issues and perspectives. Estudios de dialectologia Norteafricana y Andalusi. 13: 7-30.

Voigt, Rainer. 2009. The Semitic Languages. In Kees Versteegh (ed) Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics. Vol. 4:170-79. Leiden: Brill.

Al-Wer, Enam. 2002. Education as a speaker variable. In Aleya Rouchdy (ed) Language Contact and Language Conflict in Arabic. Variations on a sociolinguistic theme. 41-53. London:


Al-Wer, Enam. 2007. Jordan. In Kees Versteegh (ed.) Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Leiden: Brill, Vol. 2: 498-505.

Zwaan, Karin, Maaike Verrips and Pieter Muysken. (eds) 2010. Language and Origin: The role of Language in European Asylum Procedures: Linguistic and Legal Perspectives. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers.Acknowledgments