So, what’s a forensic linguist?

(blogger’s note – sorry I’ve been away – been really sick lately and didn’t get to come back to blogging – properly until just now)

One of the biggest questions I get asked is ‘what’s a forensic linguist then?’, especially when I’m talking animatedly about my interests and the stuff I get up to when not writing novels and studying.

OK, I’ll correct that – forensic linguistics *is* something I study – it was going to be my Masters degree choice, until the UK put higher education up out of even my reach, so I’m saving some more before I go do it.

Broadly speaking, Forensic Linguistics is the study of language as it relates to crime.  There are several types of crime that deal specifically or are based around language – so it makes sense that there’s a study of criminalistics and psychology that looks at language.  From blackmail to bullying, email fraud to graffiti and gang language, it’s all in there.  It might seem a bit odd to specialize down into something quite so exclusive but it works well for me, and gives me a change to indulge my grammar madness once in a while.   And that’s where my interests lie.
I took it one step further though – and applied it to working as a writer (and blog about it weekly for various sites and at Literary Forensics) because if you can apply psychology to character design – why not also tailor language and other areas?  If you’re using psychology to sell, isn’t there an area of linguistics that will help?

So that’s what forensic linguistics is – it makes me a bit of a grammar nut, it has to be said – as well as interested in the various areas of dialect, slang and colloquialisms and how language is used in the wider world – not just by writers.  It’s also taught me a lot about how I write and how I could improve, which is a great thing, in my opinion.

So – anything you’d like to know?  Anything you’d like to ask?

So, what would you like to know?

It’s very easy, when you come on board as an ‘expert’ to say ‘well, this is what I know,’ and ignore what other people want to know, so I thought I’d come at it from another side.

My name is Kai, and I’ve been writing for close to 30 trackable years (since I was four ;)).  I’m on the verge of a couple of big moves in my writing career, just finished a three year (+1 for sickness) course in Creative Writing and Psychology.  I’m a grammar and linguistics geek, and quite happily make my life’s work, words.

I thought I’d ask though – is there anything you want to know?  Anything at all?
Be it a character question, or something more esoteric, such as a knotty problem with a plot, I’d love to help you!  Just say the word.