LIN 260 Language and the Law (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to linguistic issues that influence interaction in a variety of legal contexts. It explores the role of language used in court cases and police investigations while paying special attention to particular discourse contexts such as courtroom talk, interpreter interactions and police interrogations/ interviews. Particular emphasis will be placed on recognizing and understanding ethical issues related to linguistic sources of disadvantage before the law for both educated and uneducated native speakers, minority speakers and non-native speakers of a given language. This course will help prepare students for careers in which a particular sensitivity to, and understanding of, the use of language is vital. By looking closely at areas studied by linguists, we will seek to uncover the role and the ethical nature of oral and written interactions that take place in the legal field. These linguistic issues affect the concept of justice as well as its application in the legal system and also influence how humans are perceived and, in turn, treated by those who apply the law (police officers, lawyers, judges, etc.). This course satisfies the GEP Ethics Intensive requirement as well as counts toward the Linguistics minor; it also satisfies a requirement in the Criminal Justice major/minor.