ALS 2017 Pre-conferences

Language Variation and Change – Australia (LVC-A)
Organisers: Catherine Travis, James Walker, Celeste Rodr'guez Louro

LVC-A is a biennial meeting of scholars interested in the quantitative study of linguistic variability situated in its social context. Following on from LVC-A 1 (2013) and LVC-A 2 (2015), LVC-A 3 will bring together the latest language variation and change research currently being conducted in Australia and the region. We invite abstracts for work that presents an accountable empirical analysis, utilising a viable statistical method (so that observations are not due to chance but evaluated for statistical significance), and an interpretation and explanation that makes reference to (socio)linguistic theory. Research on any language, on a range of linguistic structures, is welcome. LVC-A 3 will be held as a pre-conference ALS2017 workshop; please follow the ALS guidelines for abstract preparation, and submit directly to . Papers not accepted for LVC-A3 will be forwarded to the main ALS program for consideration.

Forensic transcription and translation: How the law gets it wrong, and how linguistics can help set things right
Helen Fraser and Diana Eades

Our successful workshop at ALS 2016 introduced linguists to general problems regarding use of language and speech as evidence in criminal trials.

This year’s workshop looks in more detail at two particular areas, both related to covert recordings (conversations captured without the knowledge of participants) used as evidence in court.

For covert recordings to provide reliable evidence, it is essential to be sure who is speaking and what they are saying – both surprisingly difficult even with clear audio, and far more so when, as is often the case, the audio is of poor quality and/or contains speech in languages other than English.

Over the past thirty years, the law has developed processes and practices for handling transcription and translation of covert recordings. Unfortunately this has been done with no consultation of linguists, resulting in some serious anomalies and substantial injustice.

This workshop aims to bring the issues to the attention of linguists, outline current developments, discuss how better collaboration between linguists and lawyers can help improve the system, and consider what linguistics itself can learn from the process.

The detailed program is underway and will be posted later. In the meantime we welcome contact from anyone with experience or expertise relevant to this topic. Helen Fraser , Diana Eades