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Workshop 1: The linguist as an expert witness

20 May, 14:30 - 15:30 (room M-648)

Presenters: Eilika Fobbe (Germany), Antje Wilton (University of Siegen, Germany)

Discussant: Aneta Pavlenko (Temple University, USA)

In this workshop, we would like to explore the interface between linguistics as a scientific discipline and linguistics as a specialised field of knowledge which is called upon in legal and judicial contexts. Occasionally, linguists are required to give testimony either personally in court as an expert witness or by writing a report. Giving a qualified opinion on a linguistic issue which then serves to inform a nonlinguist’s decision with often far-reaching consequences is a highly responsible task, for which linguists working as researchers at a university are not routinely trained. We would like to take a closer look at the specific challenges and requirements to be met by a linguist working as an expert witness, providing examples from real court cases for participants to discuss and analyse. Questions addressed in this workshop are for instance:


  • in what legal contexts and to which purpose is linguistic expert knowledge required?
  • how does linguistic knowledge link with other areas of expertise (e.g. psychology) in those contexts?
  • what do non-linguists involved in legal contexts know about language and communication?
  • how can linguistic knowledge be transferred to nonlinguists?
  • what are the dos and don’ts when working as an expert witness?
  • are there any qualifications or certificates available for linguists to consolidate their expert status?

Workshop 2: The art of communication in applied linguistics

20 May, 16:00 - 17:00 (room M-648)

Organized by Daniel Perrin (AILA) and Aneta Pavlenko (AAAL)

The important work applied linguists do plays a vital role in shaping the contemporary global world, yet the jargon in which this work is couched is often impenetrable to outsiders. As a result, applied linguists are often invisible in public debates about language, multilingualism, language policies and language teaching. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss how we can advance our mission by communicating better with our colleagues in other fields, politicians, the media and the public at large. We will talk about specific strategies that can help attendees explain applied linguistics research, disseminate linguistically informed views on relevant social and political issues, share their enthusiasm about their work, write blog posts in clear, concise and compelling language, conduct media interviews with confidence, and position themselves as a trusted resource on their university campus and in the community at large. Workshop helps national AILA affiliates to develop their visibility.