A new task for the forensic linguist has recently arisen in the context of online investigations, for example in operations against online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Investigators often find themselves having to take over of an individual’s online identity for the purposes of intelligence gathering and/or securing an arrest, and language has a central role to play in this process. In this chapter I discuss the relationship between language and identity and describe the role of the forensic linguist in preparing undercover officers for the task described above. I detail the input that trainee online undercover investigators receive at the levels of structure, meaning, and interaction, and consider the effectiveness of this input for their analysis and assumption of alternate identities. This context provides a novel application of linguistic theory and forensic linguistic research, and it is hoped that this work will pave the way for future meaningful collaborations between forensic linguistics academics and investigative practitioners.
|Title of host publication||The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics|
|Editors||Malcolm Coulthard, Alison May, Rui Sousa-Silva|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Nov 2020|