The Testimony Of Language

The words and syntax of a speaker are as revelatory of identity as a fingerprint, a ballistics test, and a DNA sample are to a criminologist.  The critical inquiries of the scholar, or the practiced eye of the native speaker, will as readily deduce the origin of a written text from an examination of its lexicon and constructions, as might a forensics scientist derive a wealth of information from a study of a fragment of bone, a scrap of tissue, or a tuft of hair.  While this truth has not often been appreciated, it remains one that has been consistently demonstrated.  We will discuss three examples that illustrate our proposition.

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