quarta-feira, 28 de setembro de 2011

Forensic Linguistics - Malcolm Couthard

Depois do SHOW DE AULA que o Professor Doutor Vilmar de Souza nos deu no último módulo da Pós Graduação, fiquei curiosa quando ele falou acerca de Linguística Forense e citou Malcolm Couthard. Aqui está o resultado da minha breve pesquisa.

George Orwell once wrote that he would have liked to a job identifying authors by their writing styles, something he'd heard the Gestapo were doing. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Thorndyke did it in unreality (Holmes was very keen on spotting the word 'plow' in anonymous letters) - now it is being done in reality. On 19th April '97 at the University of Birmingham Guild of Graduates, Professor Malcolm Coulthard described the work that he and his colleagues in the Department of English were doing in the new academic field of forensic linguistics.
Combining the study of style with traditional handwriting analysis (not 'graphology'), and the new ESDA testing, English studies is starting to earn its keep. The business in which it has to work is less desirable, as the most demand for Professor Coulthard's skills are in the appeals against terrible miscarriages of justice. If the victims had not been 'verballed' and 'fitted up', there would not be work for the specialist. However, Professor Coulthard did mention some recent cases in which he has been called in by the police at the investigation stage.
The Professor began with some examples of how errors can slip into statements as typists transcribe tapes, and mishear words: the innocent 'German' as 'hallucinogenic' in a drugs case, and 'show de man ticket' as 'shot a man to kill' in a black man's case. The typist made an error we all might make (we try to make sense of what we cannot hear clearly), but the typist makes sense of it in her world (which tends to incrimination).
Then came a case in which ESDA analysis (where a machine using graphite shows up the impression of earlier pages on another) proved a victim's claim to be true - he had agreed one statement, and later (on the next page of the pad, which went into evidence) the police had forged another, in which the victim admitted his guilt. The impressions of the first statement were found on the second, but only years later.
Going on to one of the confessions of the Birmingham Six, Professor Coulthard asked why a suspect would admit to carrying "one white plastic carrier bag" of explosive, and describe another bomber as carrying "two white plastic carrier bags". He explained, because the words were those of the police (who were sure the explosives were in white plastic carrier bags), clearly, because no one in ordinary speech would use and repeat those abnormally long phrases. The Professor was able to explain this usage, with other evidence: no one at all spoke that way at the trial, nor could examples be found in the University of Birmingham COBUILD database of language usage.
Finally, came the case that gave the professor the title of his lecture: "'Let Him Have It, Chris': On the role of the Forensic Linguist as Expert Witness". In another revealing examination, of the use of the word 'then' in the 'confession' of Derek Bentley, hanged in 1953, Professor Coulthard was able to show that Bentley's words were those of the police. 'Chris Craig and I then ...', 'the policeman then ...', Bentley said over and over. But outside police reports no one puts 'then' after the subject of a sentence - it is the police whose reports are obsessed with sequence. The words that were used to convict him, were not those of Derek Bentley. Again, the Professor could verify this against the COBUILD database.
After an engrossing ninety minutes, Professor Coulthard took questions from the floor. It soon became clear that people had experience of the poor way in which justice functions, but felt powerless to act. Others could not understand how the authorities could do such things. And others, still, unfortunately, could.
A new academic journal, Forensic Linguistics, is now published by Routledge, but will soon move to the University of Birmingham Press. With revelations of the state of the FBI laboratories in the USA, that journal looks likely to be read around the world.


This review appeared in the University of Birmingham Guild of Graduates West Midlands Branch Newletter

The Borgias

Em pleno Renascimento, Roma se encontra em uma fase de grande decadência. Sob o papado de Inocêncio VIII, a cidade é controlada por corruptos e tomada de pilantras de toda espécie.

Quando o papa morre, tem-se o ambiente perfeito para a ascensão de Rodrigo Bórgia no Vaticano. Não ser o preferido nem ter a maioria dos votos não é obstáculo para um político hábil em matar, caçar, perseguir, extorquir e humilhar.

No primeiro álbum da série Bórgia, se vê justamente as artimanhas de Rodrigo para, a despeito de sua vida desregrada e polêmica, conquistar o cargo de líder do Cristianismo - que, naquela época, significava praticamente um reinado sobre tudo que era conhecido.

Great dynasties of the world: The Borgias

Ian Sansom on a clan still synonymous with badness

The most notorious family in Italian history was Spanish. Rodrigo Borgia – who went on to become one of the baddest of the bad popes – was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1431. In his classic book, The Bad Popes (1969), ER Chamberlin calls Rodrigo the "Spanish Bull". Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici, Pope Leo X, and no shrinking violet himself, famously compared Rodrigo to a wolf. "Now we are in the power of a wolf, the most rapacious perhaps that this world has ever seen. And if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us all."
Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather (1969), spent 20 years working on a novel about the Borgias, The Family (2002), and describes Rodrigo in fine purple prose as "a mountainous man, tall enough to carry his weight". He is, to all intents and purposes, Don Corleone, the Godfather.
Rodrigo Borgia's uncle, Alfonso de Borja, was Pope Callixtus III. Through family preferment, Rodrigo became first a bishop, then a cardinal, then vice-chancellor of the Holy See. His position in the church allowed him to become fabulously wealthy and to take numerous mistresses, with whom he fathered a number of children. With his favourite, Vannozza dei Cattanei, he fathered a son, Cesare, born in 1475, and a daughter, Lucrezia, in 1480. These two became their father's helpmeets. Lucrezia was just 12 when her father bribed his way to becoming pope – reputedly with four mules carrying sacks of silver – and by the time she was 13 he'd married her off to Giovanni Sforza, a member of a powerful family who Rodrigo regarded as useful allies. When the Sforzas proved not to be useful allies, Rodrigo simply announced that Giovanni was impotent and had the marriage annulled. Historians agree that it was Giovanni who then began to spread rumours of the Borgias' incest and orgies, for which they became renowned.
Lucrezia's second husband, Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglie, fared even worse than the hapless Giovanni. When Alfonso was found to be dispensable, Cesare had him strangled by a henchman. Lucrezia, apparently, was heartbroken.
Unsentimental and undeterred, her father and brother then managed to get Lucrezia married off to Alfonso d'Este, eldest son of the Duke of Ferrara – again, a marriage of political and papal convenience. The writer Kathryn Hughes has described Lucrezia as "handed round like a parcel to suit her father's political game". The Encyclopaedia Britannica puts it rather more nicely: "Though legend has associated her with her father and her brother Cesare in extremes of iniquity, she can in fact hardly be accused of more than resignation to their will."

Sarah Bradford, in Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy (2004), debunks many of the myths surrounding Lucrezia – there probably was no poison ring, though it does seem likely that her brother Cesare did indeed stage the infamous chestnut banquet in 1501, in which naked courtesans scrambled around for chestnuts, to the delight of onlooking prelates, a scene vividly brought to life in the 2006 Spanish film, Los Borgia.
The Borgias have become a byword for badness: they are the great dynasty of the debauched and the depraved. Lucrezia in particular remains an icon of transgressive womanhood. Lord Byron was obsessed with her – he stole a lock of her hair. In 2008, researchers at the National Gallery of Victoria, in Australia, discovered that an overlooked painting by Dosso Dossi, Portrait of a Youth, is, in fact, a portrait of Lucrezia. She is holding a knife.

The Borgias virou seriado.Clique aqui para ler sobre.

Lost Girls - As Terras do Nunca - Livro Dois

Por mais de um século, Alice, Wendy e Dorothy nos guiaram pelo País das Maravilhas, pela Terra do Nunca e pelo reino de Oz durante nossas infâncias.
Agora, como todos nós, essas três garotas perdidas cresceram e estão prontas para nos guiar novamente, só que, desta vez, pelos reinos do nosso despertar sexual.
Através dos seus conhecidos contos de fadas, elas compartilham conosco suas mais íntimas descobertas de desejo em seus diversos aspectos, revelações que resplandecem em meio às nuvens negras da guerra que se anuncia ao redor de um luxuoso hotel austríaco.
Recorrendo à rica herança da literatura erótica, Lost Girls, é a redescoberta do poder da escrita e arte extasiante numa sublime união que só seria possível nos quadrinhos.
Requintada, séria e Humana, Lost Girls é uma obra surpreendente que desafia a própria noção da arte limitada pela convenção social.
Trata-se de ficção erótica em toda a sua excelência numa belíssima edição de colecionador.
Obra imprópria para menores de 18 anos. Contém cenas de sexo.

Frenesi Polissilábico: O Diário de Nick Hornby - Um Leitor Que Perde as Estribeiras Mas Nunca Perde a Esperança

Acho que esse é um bom livro para começar a escrever aqui.

"Assistir a programas de televisão, shows e competições esportivas muitas vezes pode trazer um prazer inenarrável, e acabar por substituir, sem culpa e hipocrisia, a leitura de um bom livro? A compulsão por comprar livros pode abarrotar o apartamento... e só? Afinal, com que velocidade pode-se ler tanto em tão pouco tempo? E a chegada de um bebê pode atrapalhar o exercício da leitura? Não para o britânico Nick Hornby, para quem a leitura vence qualquer grande batalha. Em Frenesi Polissilábico: O Diário de Nick Hornby - Um Leitor Que Perde as Estribeiras Mas Nunca Perde a Esperança, ele demonstra verdadeira paixão pelos livros e revela que é possível, sim, conciliar o prazer da leitura com a atribulada vida moderna. (Clique aqui para comprar o livro).
Autor de best-sellers como Febre de Bola, Alta Fidelidade e Um Grande Garoto, dessa vez Nick Hornby fala de sua relação com os livros e, mais importante, do ato de ler, tônica de sua coluna mensal ?Stuff I?ve been reading? publicada na revista britânica The believer. Frenesi polissilábico reúne as colunas de crítica literária do autor de setembro de 2003 a novembro de 2004. Nesta mistura bem-humorada de diário, roteiro, bate-papo, resenha e ensaio, Hornby elogia sem parecer condescendente e critica sem soar arrogante. O livro também inclui trechos de obras de autores clássicos e contemporâneos que mais chamaram a atenção de Hornby, como Anton Chekhov e
Charles Dickens."  Hornby também cita o livro Na Natureza Selvagem - Jon Krakauer, que virou filme.

"Leia qualquer coisa, contanto você fique louco para pegar o livro novamente."