On August 20, 2020, Faculty of Arts and Letters Dean Marilu R. Madrunio, PhD lectured on Forensic Linguistics via Zoom livestream on the UST Department of English Facebook page.

Madrunio, the pioneer of forensic linguistics research in the country, explained how Forensic Language covers legal language, authorship analysis, trademark disputes, copyright infringement, police investigation, interviews and interrogation, courtroom discourse, and courtroom interpretation, among others. In doing so, she shared examples of the strength of forensic language from crime scenes to food packaging.

According to Madrunio, through forensic language, a text message of a murder suspect was decoded upon cracking the message by the odd usage of punctuation of the victim. “There are some features in the text that are not really the linguistic features of original texts sent by the victim.” Madrunio said. The murderer attempted to send messages from the victim’s phone, but the forensic linguist decoded that the text messages bore differences through its punctuation.

Investigative Interviewing
“The aim of investigative interviewing is to obtain accurate and reliable accounts from victims, witnesses or suspects about matters under police investigation,” the former English Department Chair said. “Investigators must act fairly when questioning victims, witnesses, or suspects. Vulnerable people must be treated with particular consideration at all times.”

Madrunio cited Dr. Georgina Heydon’s lecture on Police Interviewing: “Interviewing is a complex process. Therefore, it is a complex process, it requires that learning and practice to ensure that high standards are achieved and maintained. People, both who are interviewed, are more likely to give accurate information if they trust professionalism of the interviewer,” Madrunio said.

Product confusion
Madrunio said she also took a case on the confusion between two vitamin products, Appetason and Appetens. “Appetason and Appetens are two brand names used by two different pharmaceutical companies that market in the Philippines,” she said. The case, which fell under trademark linguistics, determined whether the two brand names pose confusion among the public due to perceived similarities in the first few letters of the aforementioned brands. And the results of the survey covered respondents from a cross section of Philippine society.

Madrunio, the immediate past Dean of the Graduate School and former Program Lead of the English Language Studies program also in the Graduate School, is a prolific and noted linguist in the country. She was a Philippine representative in Summit of Leaders in TESOL Profession in Athens Greece. Moreover, she was Fr. Valentin Marin, O.P. Professorial Chair in Mass Communications at the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

Link to the webinar: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=767783844054926&ref=watch_permalink