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Volume 5, number 1 (June 1998)


Niels O. Schiller and Olaf Köster

The ability of expert witnesses to identify voices: a comparison between trained and untrained listeners 

This study reports the results of a speaker identification experiment in which the performance of phonetic expert witnesses and untrained listeners was compared. In a direct identification task participants from both groups were asked to identify the voice of a target speaker among five foils. Results showed that expert witnesses, who were experienced in speaker identification, performed significantly better than untrained listeners, who had no experience in phonetic speaker identification.
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Angelika Braun and Hermann J. Künzel

Is forensic speaker identification unethical – or can it be unethical not to do it?

This paper makes a case for forensic speaker-identification, but only if the practitioner is properly trained and carries out the task conscientiously. It could be argued (and has been argued) that it is unethical to engage in forensic speaker-identification until there is a well-established and fully automatic (i.e. machine-based) approach available: in other words phoneticians should not practise in this field at all until the subjective element of their task has been removed. The present contribution will focus on forensic speaker-profiling and identification. First, the specifics of the forensic task as opposed to the commercial speaker-identification (SI) task will be summarized, followed by a brief outline of the methods currently employed by forensic phoneticians. The applicability of automatic SI procedures will then be examined. It transpires that only in a small proportion of forensic cases does the material which is available from either the plaintiff or the investigating agency lend itself to the application of automatic methods. Therefore, it might seem unethical to apply these methods uncritically. However, in the vast majority of cases, other non-automatic methods have to be pursued. It is contended that the forensic phonetician has a moral obligation to aid the course of justice within the limitations which are imposed by the quantity and quality of the speech samples in question.
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Olaf Köster, Markus M. Hess, Niels O. Schiller and Hermann J. Künzel

The correlation between auditory speech sensitivity and speaker recognition ability

In various applications of forensic phonetics the question arises as to how far aural-perceptual speaker recognition performance is reliable. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the relationship between speaker recognition results and human perception/production abilities like musicality or speech sensitivity. In this study, performance in a speaker recognition experiment and a speech sensitivity test are correlated. The results show a moderately significant positive correlation between the two tasks. Generally, performance in the speaker recognition task was better than in the speech sensitivity test. Professionals in speech and singing yielded a more homogeneous correlation than non-experts. Training in speech as well as choir-singing seems to have a positive effect on performance in speaker recognition. It may be concluded, firstly, that in cases where the reliability of voice line-up results or the credibility of a testimony have to be considered, the speech sensitivity test could be a useful indicator. Secondly, the speech sensitivity test might be integrated into the canon of possible procedures for the accreditation of forensic phoneticians. Both tests may also be used in combination.
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David Woolls and Malcolm Coulthard

Tools for the trade

This paper describes and exemplifies the use of a series of computer programs, many of which have been specifically developed to analyse the short texts which are typical of much of the material with which forensic linguists work. The first part of the paper consists of a series of illustrations of how the programs could be used, or actually have been used, in cases of doubtful or disputed authorship, while the second half of the paper contains a more detailed description of the programs and information on how to obtain them.
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Peter French

Mr Akbar’s nearest ear versus the Lombard reflex: a case study in forensic phonetics

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Book Reviews

Book reviews
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User: WEIMING LIU
Session: 18888
Forensic Linguistics is published by the University of Birmingham Press.

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西北政法大学外国语学院刘蔚铭教授创建与维护

2002-05-062008-01-25