Stylistic variation within genre conventions in the Enron email corpus: developing a textsensitive methodology for authorship research

Authors

  • David Wright University of Leeds

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v20i1.45

Keywords:

authorship analysis, idiolect, corpus linguistics, style, genre, email, Enron, likelihood ratios

Abstract

Over recent years there has been much theoretical discussion regarding idiolect and its usefulness in forensic authorship analysis. This article, drawing on email data from the former American energy company Enron, offers an empirical investigation into identifying individuals’ idiolects through analysing author distinctive variation within two conventions of the email genre – greetings and farewells. The first part of a two-stage analysis identifies a number of forms which distinguish between authors in a four-author corpus. Using likelihood ratios, the second stage of analysis finds that some of the greeting and farewell forms identified, and combinations of forms, remain distinctive and individuating of their author when tested against the 126-author ‘Enron Sent Email Author Reference Corpus’, and highlights the diagnostic power of less frequent variants. The results from this article offer both theoretical and methodological contributions as well as a baseline of population results for forensic authorship casework involving emails.

Author Biography

David Wright, University of Leeds

David Wright is a doctoral student in English Language at the School of English, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

Published

2013-07-09

How to Cite

Wright, D. (2013). Stylistic variation within genre conventions in the Enron email corpus: developing a textsensitive methodology for authorship research. International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, 20(1), 45-75. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v20i1.45

Issue

Section

Articles