"Speaking of Crime introduces insights drawn from linguistics and psychology-of-language research that throw light on a number of issues in our criminal process. It does an excellent job of synthesizing and reviewing the relevant literature and sets out interesting 'true crime' case illustrations of the lessons to be learned from the science of language, many of which have yet to be properly taken into account by the legal process."
(Michael Risinger, Seton Hall Law School)
"Solan and Tiersma bring a thorough knowledge of the law together with their expertise in the language sciences to a critical analysis of how language is used—and misused—in the criminal justice system. This book is a must for both scholars and practitioners."
(Sam Glucksberg, Department of Psychology, Princeton University)
"Speaking of Crime deepens our understanding not only of how language and cognition work in the legal system, but also of the nature of erroneous judgments and wrongful convictions in the American criminal justice system. Solan and Tiersma's analysis advances our understanding of how to achieve the system's most fundamental goals--improving the fairness of legal procedures while better separating the innocent from the guilty. This book deserves therefore to be read not only by linguists and criminologists, but also by judges and policy makers."
(Richard Leo, Department of Criminology, University of California, Irvine)
"An important book in the emergent field of language and the law, Speaking of Crime is essential reading for everyone whose interests intersect these areas: judges, attorneys, legal scholars, and sociolinguists. Solan and Tiersma look at a large number of important cases--from the Lindbergh kidnapping to the Clinton impeachment--to argue that a more sophisticated understanding of the workings of language by the professionals involved might have created very different, and more just, outcomes. Their discussion of the ways in which linguistic analysis affects our understanding of rights, crimes, and verdicts should be read by everyone."
(Robin Lakoff, Department of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley)
"Speaking of Crime is an engaging, insightful and gracefully written tour of how language and cognitive psychology influence criminal law doctrine and practice. It belongs in the library of anyone who teaches, studies, or practices criminal justice."
(Jerome H. Skolnick, Center for Research on Crime and Justice, New York University School of Law)
"In this fascinating study, Lawrence Solan and Peter Tiersma lead readers on an intriguing journey into this unexplored terrain. . . . The text focuses on discrete legal issues and seeks to demonstrate for each how the study of language can shed light on the operation of the criminal justice system. . . . The authors' brisk analysis demonstates that incorrect preconceptions or conclusions regarding language often lead to results that are not supported by the evidence. For those convinced of the need to reform the criminal justice system, these observations will provide yet more ammunition, as well as engrossing anecdote.."
(Harvard Law Review
"The basic argument is that scientific research in linguistics, and to a lesser extent in cognitive psychology, can assist law enforcement, attorneys, judges, and juries in arriving at more reliable determinations of guilt and innocence. . . . Reading this book is a good place for students and professionals to begin thinking about how a deeper understanding of the science of language can improve the performance of the criminal justice system."
(Mary W. Atwell Law & Politics Review
"An eminently readable overview of what the science of linguistics has to offer criminal law. . . . Any reader interested in the psychology of language--and all lawyers should fall into that class--would be well-served to read this book."
(Kenworthey Bilz Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology