Candidates for the IAFL Executive Committee

Standing for Vice President of IAFL

Isabel Picornell, PhD

My name is Isabel Picornell. I am Director of a forensic linguistics consultancy (QED Limited) and an Honorary Research Fellow with the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, UK, where I did my PhD in forensic linguistics. I come from an investigative background; I am a Certified Fraud Examiner and my research involves the application of forensic linguistics theory and practice to real-world investigations. I’ve also taught at International Summer Schools in Forensic Linguistic Analysis and I co-run (together with Dr Ria Perkins) the Short Course in Forensic Linguistics at the University of Cologne (Germany).

I’ve been a member of IAFL since 2005. I was Membership Secretary between 2010-2013, and I’ve been Secretary since 2015. My term ends in July and I am standing for Vice-President of IAFL.

These are interesting times for forensic linguistics. Awareness of it is on the rise, and with it comes the responsibility of IAFL to do more to promote good research, good practice, and qualified practitioners. I am particularly interested in three issues and, as Vice President (and as President afterwards), I would work towards these goals:

  1. bringing more non-linguists into the IAFL fold, especially lawyers and the investigatory and regulatory sectors who stand to benefit from an increased knowledge of forensic linguists (although they are not forensic linguists themselves); and,
  2. increasingly promote forensic linguistics in parts of the world, particularly in Asia, where it already has a fledgling grip and is ripe for growth; and, finally,
  3. recognising appropriate qualifications within the IAFL membership, encouraging continuing professional development, and enhancing the value of IAFL membership.

My position, with one foot inside academia and another in the investigative industry, provides me with the knowledge to work towards the first; my Asian/European background assists me with the second; and my experience of being a regulated and certified fraud examiner helps me with the third.

I would be grateful for your vote as Vice President of IAFL in these elections.

Standing for Secretary of IAFL

Tammy Gales, PhD

I am an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Director of Research at the Institute of Forensic Linguistics, Threat Assessment, and Strategic Analysis at Hofstra University in New York. I have been an active member of the IAFL since 2007 and am pleased to stand for the position of Secretary.

Over the past two years, I have served as the Publicity Officer on the IAFL Executive Committee, where we have been committed to expanding the availability and understanding of forensic linguistics around the world. As Secretary, I envision a continuation of this goal through increased membership, especially in under-represented regions, and more open access to forensic data resources for research purposes.

In addition to serving on FL editorial boards (e.g., Language and Law / Linguagem e Direito), being a regular reviewer for FL and legal publications (e.g., International Journal of Speech, Language and Law), and overseeing approximately 20 MA theses and serving on 3-4 PhD committees annually – all of which focus on FL topics – I am currently serving or have served in a variety of capacities that relate to the duties required of Secretary for IAFL. Such responsibilities include:

  • serving on the Executive Committee of the International Linguistics Association and co-chairing their Lecture Series Committee, where we hosted talks by international scholars on a range of linguistic topics including those of legal and forensic interest;
  • serving as a member of the newly initiated Language and Law Consultancy housed at Brigham Young University, where we work to bring legal scholars and practitioners together with corpus linguists to help structure new ways to research questions of statutory interpretation;
  • chairing our Outcomes Assessment Committee at Hofstra for the past 5 years, which was recently instrumental in gaining our reaccreditation;
  • chairing and then serving as a member of the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Committee, where we monitor the status and progress of all graduate programs in our college; and
  • co-directing and being the sole adviser for our linguistics programs at Hofstra, which include approximately 150 students in our Major (BA), Minor, dual-degree BA-MA, MA in forensic linguistics, joint JD-MA, dual-MA with Aston University, and potential new Graduate-level online certificate program.

If elected to position of Secretary for IAFL, I will bring with me all of these successful experiences and serve the organization and membership to my fullest capacity. I greatly appreciate your consideration.

Standing for Publicity Officer of IAFL

Rui Sousa-Silva, PhD

Forensic Linguistics has expanded significantly over the last decades, not only in English-speaking countries, but also elsewhere; new forensic linguistics courses have emerged throughout the world, the role of forensic linguistics experts has gained more relevance and visibility, the cooperation between the academy and legal institutions has gained prominence and linguists have gained more credibility than ever. This is due, in no small part, to the work of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL). However, these developments also bring along new challenges, for the IAFL and for forensic linguists, in general. The so-called ‘CSI effect’, for example, has attracted general interest to the area, so that some people now believe that speaking a language suffices to act as a forensic linguistics expert. Only the IAFL, as a worldwide organisation, has the tools to counter this. This can be achieved, not only by working towards a certification procedure, but also – with a more immediate effect – by attracting more qualified academics and practitioners to the Association. As an IAFL member from a non-English speaking country, and in fact the first qualified forensic linguist in Portugal, I have seen the discipline grow in the whole world, in general, and in Portuguese-speaking countries, in particular. This is due, in part, to my talks and publications, in English and in Portuguese, as well as to the successful conferences that I organised so far: the 3rd European Conference of the IAFL, in 2012, and the 13th Biennial Conference of the IAFL, in 2017. These conferences attracted over 100 and 200 participants, respectively, from all over the world – although the 3rd European conference was planned to be a ‘regional’ conference. Importantly, too, the publication (biannually) of the international bilingual journal Language and Law, which I am very pleased to co-edit with Malcolm Coulthard, has given new audiences, including those from low-income regions, an unprecedented access to the field as the journal is absolutely free for readers and authors. In parallel, news pieces in media outlets in which I featured have allowed the general public to discover the potential of forensic linguistic analysis. The IAFL undeniably has an extraordinary growth potential, but it is my belief that a solid, proactive and overarching publicity plan will optimise that potential and bring the IAFL to whole new levels. I therefore stand for IAFL Publicity Officer, hoping that I will be in a position to serve the Association.

Standing for Treasurer of IAFL

Ria Perkins, PhD

I am a Research Fellow at the Center for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, and the director of my own consultancy company, Hapax Consulting Ltd.. Since completing my PhD I have been actively involved in research, casework, teaching and training in forensic linguistics.

I have been a member of IAFL since 2009, when I started my PhD, and have seen the value that the association can bring to members at a range of stages throughout their career. I was am also a founding member of the Germanic Society of Forensic Linguistics (GSFL). I have held various positions on the Executive Council including; Student Liaison (2013-2015), Writing Officer (2015-2017), and Development Officer (2017 – present).

I work closely with the current IAFL treasurer, and am located in the same city in the same country – ensuring that there will be a smooth transition period.

If elected I will make it a priority to organise an audit with an external accountancy company, so that IAFL can ensure, and demonstrate that it is conducting its monetary affairs legally and transparently.  I will utilise my experience to accurately track and report our financial situation.

Standing for Ordinary Member of IAFL

Marilu Rañosa-Madrunio, PhD

I am an educator and author in the field of English and applied linguistics.

In the academe, I am better known for my current post as dean of the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where I oversee almost a hundred master’s and doctoral degree programs and certificate courses. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) is the oldest existing university in Asia having been established in 1611.

With my background as past president of the Linguistic Society of the Philippines (LSP), and a conference organizer of the 15th International Association of World Englishes (IAWE) in Cebu, Philippines, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to pioneer in the teaching and development of the emerging field of forensic linguistics in the Philippines. This was after undergoing the training/workshop conducted by the International Summer School in Forensic Linguistic Analysis (ISSFLA) that took place in Malaysia in 2012.

I have helped apply the practical side of linguistics in resolving one trademark case in the Philippines.  I have also mentored graduate and undergraduate students who engaged in the study of credit card terms and conditions for a top Philippine/Asian bank by simplifying it,  analyzing consumer product warnings, examination of vulnerable and non-vulnerable witnesses as well provided training for legal professionals on legal writing through the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), the training arm of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Three years ago, I took the lead in holding the 2nd IAFL regional conference in Manila, the second to be held in Asia. The keynote speaker was the  Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Honorable Justice Antonio Carpio.

I look forward to being given the chance to share my time and knowledge with the global community of forensic linguists as a member of the IAFL Executive Committee.

Dana Roemling, MA

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Finnish & English Studies from Cologne University (Germany), which I completed with a thesis on the authenticity of suicide notes. I hold a Master of Arts in Linguistics from Duesseldorf University. My thesis was in language and law, focussing on vagueness within statutory interpretation.

I am currently working as a product manager in IT and am studying law part-time at the University of Hagen. Together with Iman Nick I have founded the Germanic Society for Forensic Linguistics in December 2012. I have served as Vice President and webmaster for several years. I have also been in charge of Membership, as well as co-organising the Roundtables, the yearly conference of the GSFL until the end of 2016.

Having found new time to help this field, I would like to get involved with the IAFL more and help out, if I can. I heard there are preparations for a newsletter under way, which sounds like something I could help with, given my experience with the GSFL and my work in IT.