Volume 37, Issue 6 (November 1992)
Linguistic Evidence Indicative of Authorship by a Member of the Deaf Community
Documents authored by Deaf Americans were examined in order to determine if linguistic evidence indicative of this group of people is present. The native language of deaf people is not English, but rather American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is a visualgestural language with its own principles of syntax. The evidence examined includes vocabulary, syntax, and word usage. Such characteristics are class evidence and are not a means of identification, but rather an investigative tool. Such information may be of assistance to the field investigator in either developing a suspect or limiting the number of initial suspects in a case.
This research revealed that the use of ASL syntax and idioms and the problems associated with the use of English as a second language are indicative of authorship by a member of the Deaf Community. The results of this research will be of assistance to Document Examiners should they need to determine if a document was authored by a deaf individual.