P.O. Box 2173
Alameda, CA 94501 USA
510-534-0614
joe@devney.com

 
Linguistic Consultant  
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Linguistic Background

I have been involved professionally with words and language for a long time. I have been a professional technical writer in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1995, and worked hard to be at the top of my field. In 2008, I earned an M.A. in Linguistics from Georgetown University and a certificate in Forensic Linguistics from Hofstra University. My Master of Arts (with a concentration in Language and Communication) included a course in Language and Law, which focused on linguistic analysis of statutory language and contract language. The Forensic Linguistics certificate was all about analyzing criminally oriented communications: ransom notes, stalker letters, and so forth.

As a forensic linguist, my aim is to work with both lawyers and law enforcement on cases in which language is an important part. Because of my background as a writer, I am very familiar with the written word. Some linguists specialize in audio analysis (“forensic phonetics”), but that is outside my areas of expertise.

My experience in large corporations and my education in Sociolinguistics gives me insights into language in the business world that few people have.

Sample work

Jury instruction. I analyzed the California jury instruction that tells jurors how to determine if a convicted murderer should receive the death penalty. I rewrote it, using a knowledge of what makes text more comprehensible to the reader. This sample shows the "before" and "after" versions.

Analyzing an anonymous text . What can be learned about an anonymous text through linguistic analysis? I this example report, I analyze whether the text is what it purports to be, and make some observations about the authors of the text. I can apply similar analysis to unsigned (or falsely signed) communications in the corporate or legal spheres. (I have a one-hour presentation I can give to groups to explain some of these techniques.)

 
 

 

Professional Associations
I am a member of the following organizations:

Resume
My linguist resume
My academic Curriculum Vitae .

New!
Read my Lingistics blog, Linguistics for the Real World.