Roger W. Shuy - Public Service: Forensic Linguistics

Don Forchelli Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Education: B.A., Brandeis University, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, J.D., Harvard University Law School

Lawrence M. Solan


Courses: Insurance Law, Property, Contracts, Property, Remedies, Law and Language Seminar, Legislation and Statutory Interpretation

Professor Solan holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and his scholarly works are devoted to exploring interdisciplinary issues related to language and law. He is director of the Law School's Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition. Professor Solan's highly acclaimed book, The Language of Judges (1993), is widely recognized as the seminal work on linguistic theory and legal argumentation. His latest book, Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice, coauthored with Loyola Law School Professor Peter Tiersma was published by the University of Chicago Press in early 2005. He has also authored numerous chapters and articles on language and the law, including those published in the Georgetown Law Journal, William and Mary Law Review, Texas Law Review, Law & Contemporary Problems, and Law & Social Inquiry. He regularly lectures in this country and abroad on language and the law, statutory and contractual interpretation, and linguistic evidence. He has been a Visiting Professor in the Linguistics Program, and a Visiting Fellow in the Psychology Department, at Princeton University, and a Visiting Professor at Yale Law School. Prior to joining the faculty in 1996, Professor Solan was a partner in the firm of Orans, Elsen and Lupert, where he specialized in complex civil litigation, and he also was a Law Clerk to Justice Stewart Pollock of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He has served as president of the International Association of Forensic Linguistics, is on the board of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, and is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.


250 Joralemon Street
Room 918
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: 718 780-0357


Lawrence M. Solan
Don Forchelli Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Books, Chapters in Books, etc.:

  • "La Lingúística Forense en los Tribunales Norteamericanos,” in Lingüística Forense, Lengua y Derecho: Conceptos, Metodos y Aplicaciones (M. Turell ed. 2005) (co-author: P. Tiersma) (forthcoming)
  • "Vagueness and Ambiguity in Legal Interpretation," in Vagueness in Normative Texts (V.K. Bhatia, J. Enberg, M. Gotti, & D. Heller eds. 2005)
  • Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice (2005) (co-author: P. Tiersma) [also see website, ]
  • "Finding Ordinary Meaning in the Dictionary," in Language and Law: Proceedings of a Conference (M. Robinson ed. 2003)
  • "Ordinary Meaning in Legal Interpretation," in Pohjois-Suomen Tuomarikoulu (2002); reprinted in Ordinary and Legal Language (B. Pozzo ed. 2005)
  • "The Clinton Scandal: Some Lessons from Linguistics," in Language in the Legal Process (J. Cotterill ed. 2002)
  • "Perjury and Impeachment: The Rule of Law or the Rule of Lawyers?," in Aftermath: The Clinton Impeachment and the Presidency in the Age of Political Spectacle (L. Kaplan & B. Moran eds. 2001)
  • "Chomsky and Cardozo: Linguistics and the Law," in Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments (C. P. Otero ed. 1994)
  • The Language of Judges (1993)
  • "Does the Legal System Need Experts in English Syntax?," in The Language Scientist as Expert in the Legal Setting (W. Stewart & R. Reiber eds. 1990)
  • "Linguistic Principles as the Rule of Law," in Langue et droit -- Language and Law (P. Pupier & J. Woehrling eds. 1989)
  • "Parameter Setting and the Development of Pronouns and Reflexives," in Parameter Setting (T. Roeper & E. Williams eds. 1987)
  • "A Comparison of Null and Pronoun Anaphora in First Language Acquisition," in Studies in the Acquisition of Anaphora: Defining the Constraints (B. Lust ed. 1986) (co-authors: B. Lust, S. Flynn, C. Cross, & E. Schuetz)
  • "Language Acquisition Data and the Theory of Markedness: Evidence from Spanish," in Markedness (F. Eckman, E. Moravcsik & J. Wirth eds. 1986)
  • Pronominal Reference: Child Language and the Theory of Grammar (1983)
  • "A Metrical Analysis of Spanish Stress," in Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (W. Cressey & D. Napoli eds. 1981); trans. & reprinted as "Analisis Métrico del Acento Español," in Juana Gil (ed.), Panorama de la Fonología Español Actual (2000)
  • "Fixing Parameters: Language Acquisition and Language Variation," in Markedness and Learnability (J. Pustejovsky & V. Burke eds. 1981)
  • "The Acquisition of Structural Restrictions on Anaphora," in Language Acquistion and Linguistic Theory (S. Tavakolian ed. 1981)
  • "The Acquisition of Tough Movement," in Studies in First and Second Language Acquisition (F. Eckman & A. Hastings eds. 1979)
  • "Children’s Use of Syntactic Structure in Interpreting Relative Clauses," in Papers in the Structure and Development of Child Language (H. Goodluck & L. Solan co-eds. 1978) (co-author: T. Roeper)


  • "Private Language, Public Laws: The Central Role of Legislative Intent in Statutory Interpretation," 93 Geo. L.J. 427 (2005)
  • "The New Textualists’ New Text [Symposium: Statutory Interpretation]," xx Loy. L. (2005) (forthcoming)
  • "Author Identification in American Courts," 25 Applied Linguistics 448 (2004) (co-author: P. Tiersma)
  • "Cops and Robbers: Selective Literalism in American Criminal Law," 38 Law & Soc’y Rev. 229 (2004) (co-author: P. Tiersma)
  • "Pernicious Ambiguity in Contracts and Statutes [Symposium: “Law &”: Philosophical, Psychological, Linguistic and Biological Perspectives on Legal Scholarship]," 79 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 859 (2004)
  • "Cognitive Foundations of the Impulse to Blame [Symposium: Responsibility and Blame: Psychological and Legal Perspectives]," 68 Brook. L. Rev. 1003 (2003)
  • "Falling on Deaf Ears: Scientists Say that Earwitnesses are Unreliable. Why aren’t Courts Listening?," 2 Legal Aff. 71 (Nov./Dec. 2003), available at (co-author: P. Tiersma)
  • "Hearing Voices: Speaker Identification in Court," 54 Hastings L.J. 373 (2003) (co-author: P. Tiersma)
  • "Introduction [Symposium: Responsibility and Blame: Psychological & Legal Perspectives]," 68 Brook. L. Rev. 925 (2003)
  • "Jurors as Statutory Interpreters [Symposium: The Jury at a Crossroads: The American Experience," 78 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 1281 (2003)
  • "Statutory Inflation and Institutional Choice," 4 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 2209 (2003)
  • "Introduction [Symposium: Cognitive Legal Studies: Categorization and Imagination in the Mind of Law]," 67 Brook. L. Rev. 941 (2002)
  • "Should Criminal Statutes Be Interpreted Dynamically?," 2002 Issues in Legal Scholarship, Dynamic Statutory Interpretation Art. 8 (2002), at
  • "The Linguist on the Witness Stand: Forensic Linguistics in American Courts," 78 Language 221 (2002) (co-author: P. Tiersma)
  • "Causation, Contribution and Legal Liability: An Empirical Study," 64 Law & Contemp. Probs. 265 (2001) (co-author: J. Darley)
  • "Convicting the Innocent Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Some Lessons About Jury Instructions from the Sheppard Case," 49 Clev. St. L. Rev. 465 (2001)
  • "Introduction [Symposium: The Jury in the 21st Century: An Interdisciplinary Conference]," 66 Brook. L. Rev. 971 (2001) (co-author: S. Herman)
  • "The Written Contract as Safe Harbor for Dishonest Conduct [Symposium: Theory Informs Business Practice]," 77 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 87 (2001)
  • "Why Laws Work Pretty Well, But Not Great: Words and Rules in Legal Interpretation," 26 Law & Soc. Inquiry 243 (2001) (reviewing Steven Pinker, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (1999))
  • "Can the Legal System Use Experts on Meaning," 66 Tenn. L. Rev. 1167 (1999); reprinted in 49 Def. L.J. 775 (2000)
  • "Let Us Never Forget Our Humanity: Reflections on Justice Stewart Pollock," 31 Rutgers L.J. 741 (2000)
  • "Un Effect du Principe C Chez l'Enfant Francophone," 45 Can. J. Linguistics 49 (2000) (co-author: H. Goodluck)
  • "Refocusing the Burden of Proof in Criminal Cases: Some Doubt About Reasonable Doubt," 78 Tex. L. Rev. 105 (1999)
  • "Law, Language and Lenity," 40 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 57 (1998)
  • "Linguistic Experts as Semantic Tour Guides," 5 Forensic Linguistics 87 (1998)
  • "Book Review," 4 Forensic Linguistics 305 (1997) (reviewing Bernard S. Jackson, Making Sense in Law (1995))
  • "Learning our Limits: The Decline of Textualism in Statutory Cases," 1997 Wis. L. Rev. 235
  • "Judicial Decisions and Linguistic Analysis: Is There a Linguist in the Court?[Northwestern University / Washington University Law and Linguistics Conference: What is Meaning in a Legal Text?]," 73 Wash. U. L.Q. 1069 (1995)
  • "When All is Lost: Why it is Difficult for Judges to Write About Concepts," 1 Graven Images 154 (1994)
  • "When Judges Use the Dictionary," 68 Am. Speech 50 (1993)
  • "Focus and Levels of Representation," 15 Linguistic Inquiry 174 (1984)
  • "Contrastive Stress and Children’s Interpretation of Pronouns," 23 J. of Speech & Hearing Res. 688 (1980)
  • "A Reevaluation of the Basic Operations Hypothesis," 7 Cognition 85 (1979) (co-author: H. Goodluck)

Other materials

  • "Language and Law: Definitions in Law," in Elsevier Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2005) (forthcoming)
  • "Catch Phrase [Commentary]," Phila. Inq., May 7, 2003. [co-author: P.M. Tiersma]
  • "Forum: Forensic Science, No Consensus," 20 Issues in Sci. & Tech. 6 (Winter 2003) (co-author: P.M. Tiersma)
  • "Patriotism and Free Speech: It’s OK to Support the Troops and Still Oppose the War," [ Opinions]
  • "Pointing Fingers" (March 19, 2003) [ Opinons]
  • "Presidents and Scandals: Bush and Uranium, Clinton and Sex, Reagan and Iran-contra: What Do They Have in Common?," at (July 22, 2003)
  • "Wrist Slaps are No Deterrent," Nat’l L.J., Sept. 22, 2003.
  • "Think It Through: a Constitutional Scholar Explains Why Congress Is Wise to Go Slow on Anti-Terror Laws That Would Erode Individual Rights," at  (Oct. 5, 2001).
  • "A Cinderella Affidavit: Thriller and Biting Commentary on Legal System," N.J. L.J., May 3, 1999, at 20. (reviewing Michael Frederickson, Cinderella Affidavit)
  • "Fault Lies Not Only in Starr But in Law," Nat'l L.J., Apr. 20, 1998, at A19.
  • "The Louise Woodward Trial: Why Louise Woodward Was Convicted," at 

Updated on 15 Oct. 2005

This website was created by LIU Weiming on 6 May, 2002.