Hostage Speeches Written by Iran

Noah Schachtman:

This won’t exactly come as shocking news.  But it’s interesting, nonetheless:  The latest British hostage letter wasn’t actually written by a native English speaker.  Its combination of "out-of-tune" phrases and awkward syntax leads to University of Pennsylvania linguistics professor Mark Liberman to believe that Leading Seaman Faye Turney’s "confession" was "largely dictated by [the] Iranian captors."

No, not shocking at all. Still, it’s interesting that there are techniques for quickly “proving” that which we overwhelmingly suspect to be true.

Much more analysis and linkage at Noah’s and at the dozen or so links to original sources.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    If they have enough written material known to have been written by Faye Turney, there have been computer programs around for decades that could analyze the likelihood of authoricity.