Second Language Speakers in the Interrogation Room: SLA Tools in Service of Social Justice

Prof. Aneta Pavlenko, University of Oslo

Aneta Pavlenko, University of Oslo

With regret we are informing you that this event has been postponed until Fall 2020 out of concern for the safety of our community due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This action is consistent with public health guidance to limit non-essential large gatherings.


Applied linguists are often asked about the relevance of their research for the ‘real world’. What exactly do we apply linguistics to? What difference, if any, do we make? In this talk, I will discuss forensic linguistics as an area where applied linguists are increasingly making a difference through research and expert testimony. Drawing on my experience as forensic expert and on my research collaborations in the USA and in Norway, I will discuss police interviews as an area of research where greater understanding of difficulties experienced by second language (L2) speakers can bring about more informed police procedures and public policies.


Pavlenko, A. (2008) ‘I’m very not about the law part’: nonnative speakers of English and the Miranda warnings. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 1, 1-30.

Pavlenko, A., Hepford, E. & S. Jarvis (2019) An illusion of understanding: How native and non-native speakers of English understand (and misunderstand) their Miranda rights. The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 26, 2.


Presenter Bio: Aneta Pavlenko, Research Professor at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan at the University of Oslo and Past President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics. Her research focuses on the relationship between bilingualism, cognition, and emotions. She has also done work in forensic linguistics, sociolinguistics, and language policy. She is the winner of the 2009 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research and 2006 BAAL Book of the Year award and author of numerous articles and ten books, including The Bilingual Mind and What it Tells us About Language and Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Thinking and Speaking in Two languages (Multilingual Matters, 2011), The Bilingual Mental Lexicon (Multilingual Matters, 2009), Bilingual Minds: Emotional Experience, Expression, and Representation (Multilingual Matters, 2006), and Emotions and Multilingualism (Cambridge University Press, 2005).


Funding: Anonymous Fund