The role of linguists and native speakers in language analysis for the determination of speaker origin


  • Tina Cambier-Langeveld Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands



language analysis, native speaker, forensic linguist, asylum seekers, speaker origin


In this paper, it is argued that proper conduction of Language Analysis for the Determination of the Origin of asylum seekers (LADO) requires not only linguistic expertise, but also the involvement of somebody with native competence in the language. Furthermore, awareness of the forensic aspects of LADO is crucial. Possible ways of combining native speaker competence and linguistic expertise are discussed. Eight cases are presented in which language analyses have been done by a trained native speaker under supervision of a linguist, and by a specialized linguist. These eight cases are of special interest because the correct outcome is now known. This paper shows that a person’s capability to make reliable judgments on the origin of a speaker cannot be inferred directly from his qualifications in linguistics, his language background or his professed confidence. This entails that testing of this capability is the only way to ensure good results.

Author Biography

Tina Cambier-Langeveld, Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands

TINA CAMBIER-LANGEVELD studied linguistics and holds a PhD in phonetics. She worked as an expert in forensic speech science at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) for six years. Since 2005 she is employed by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service, where she is involved with language analysis as a means to check the claims of asylum seekers on their national/regional origin, ethnicity and language background.



How to Cite

Cambier-Langeveld, T. (2010). The role of linguists and native speakers in language analysis for the determination of speaker origin. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 17(1), 67–93.