Oct
15
2008

Thx 4 the confession

What can messages on your cell phone say about you? They can potentially reveal your age, gender or even your identity. Linguistic forensics is being increasingly used as an investigation tool and as evidence in court, including in cases where suspects claimed text messages as alibis. In a recent case, text messages from a missing woman’s phone were used in the conviction of her ex-boyfriend for her murder. Experts determined that the style of suspicious text messages from her phone pointed toward him as the author rather than her. They looked at, among several differences, her consistent use of the spelling “myself” versus the use of “meself” in the questioned texts.

Dr. Tim Grant is researching the linguistic analysis of text messaging and has developed a method to quantify stylistic differences between two texts. He also has put together a database of 7000 texts so far. He hopes his research will determine the base rate for specific texting features and show similarities among groups of individuals that frequently text each other. You can contribute your text messages to his research at a link in the article below.

Txt Crimes, Sex Crimes And Murder: The Science Of Forensic Linguistics

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

A similar technique was used to analyze the first book of the Bible, Genesis. I think the result was that the analysis pointed to three or four different authors.

posted on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:46pm
bryan kennedy's picture

I wonder how this sort of analysis is affected by auto correcting systems like spell checkers. I am a horrible speller by nature, but thanks to the smart devices I use to text and write comments on websites I can fix my errors with ease.

posted on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 11:19am
Tiger134's picture
Tiger134 says:

I'd be interested in knowing how much it throws off the results... I mean.. you could be trying to type "meself" and end up with "meatball" =P

posted on Fri, 10/17/2008 - 12:23pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

using text talk makes it easer for people like me who cant spell

posted on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 12:19pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

Who woulda though that txting could say so much???

posted on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 7:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think this article is so true. My mom has a trackfone and it is so boring. But i friends have chocolates and stuff.

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 12:06pm
lmen1001's picture
lmen1001 says:

Thst's kind of creepy. Useing text messages to tell how killed someone is kind of weird.

posted on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 12:11pm
janet.montes's picture
janet.montes says:

This is So CREEPY....I started texting when I was in middle school and I love to use it but I never knew that so little can mean so much to someone else.

posted on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 12:17pm
tis-chick-s0-fly's picture
tis-chick-s0-fly says:

This is really scary. I like to text but I don't text a lot anymore because their really no point, plus you should focus on school if your still in school. I mean it okay to text here and there, but all the time it just taking you away from learning.

posted on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 8:43am
Some guy's picture
Some guy says:

Alot of kids in my school text in class, it's pretty pointless.

Besides, why text to people in an incomprehensible language when you could type 6 or 9 numbers and actually be able to talk to that person for real?

posted on Tue, 11/25/2008 - 2:20pm
amina's picture
amina says:

it is soooooooooooooooo promising to think of SMS linguistic analyisis as a novice tool of investigation in crimes...... it is very intresting!! i m a student who is trying to find a subject about SMS for her master thesis about ...how would be fantastic if i can contribute sth to this genre of research!! :)

posted on Mon, 12/01/2008 - 7:09am

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