Language analysis: the need to include both linguistic expertise and

Language analysis: how to include both linguistic expertise and native competence, and
T Cambier-Langeveld & A. Samson
In 2004 the Language and National Origin Group published guidelines for the practice of
language analysis for the determination of origin in refugee cases. In these guidelines, it is
argued that linguistic expertise should always be involved in such language analyses.
Restrictions and limitations of language analysis are also listed and explained.
We agree with the main points of the guidelines and we are actively involved in
making our customers aware of the limitations of language analysis as a means to determine
the origin of asylum seekers. We also recognise the dangers of language analyses by native
speakers without (the involvement of) linguistic expertise, and would strongly disapprove of
such practice. However, there are also risks attached to language analyses by linguistic
experts without (the involvement of) native competence of the language involved. These latter
risks are not addressed in the guidelines, but will be addressed in this presentation.
Beside the issue of the qualifications of the person performing the analysis, there is
another issue which has come to play an increasingly large role in the way we organise and
control our use of language analysis. This concerns the testing of the analist’s ability to
distinguish between relevant language varieties and also between authentic and nonauthentic
speech features.
In this presentation, we will discuss one workable solution in which all the
requirements mentioned above are met. This is a construction where the expertise of a linguist
and the language competence of a native speaker are both involved yet not united in one
person. We will explain in the presentation how this is implemented in practice and what the
advantages and disadvantages are of this construction.