Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hate Mail Analysis Challenges Public Assumptions

Sample of hate letters
by blogger SLC

Various locations and people throughout the United Kingdom, from simple mosques to the prime minister, have recently received letters containing scathing racial and sexual insults. However, profiles developed by linguistic experts have one surprising thing to say - the writer is likely a woman.

"Men tend to suggest a more explicit threat and a demand for action but, while the nature of the letters were very nasty and would clearly have been received as threats, they were not explicit about what that threat might be. [. . .] One of the things that were striking about the letters was the heavy use of expressive adjectives, which is more typical of women than men."


Experts also think the suspect will likely have written more typical complaint letters to companies or politicians, and have asked for any who recognize certain unusual turns of phrase in the letters to come forward.

DNA evidence from the letters also supports the linguistic experts' theory.

19 comments:

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Anonymous said...

It is interesting to know that woman are just as capable of something so henious, and that basic assumptions cannot always be made when it comes to a case.
DH

Anonymous said...

It's also amazing that a person's handwritting style and how they write (ex. use of adj., etc.) can tell you so much about them.
DH

Anonymous said...

I think it is really interesting that just the use of words and phrases a person can tell what gender the person is and more about a writer.

AY

Anonymous said...

i find it hard to believe that you can tell that a woman wrote something over a man just by the times they use the term I or adjectives. There are some very feminate men out there who use it just as many times.

KHG

Anonymous said...

This article is quite interesting, but weird at the same time. I never knew that you could distinguish a man/woman by the choice of words they used. However, I feel that overall these are more so biased assumptions than logical.

Anonymous said...

This article is quite interesting, but weird at the same time. I never knew that you could distinguish a man/woman by the choice of words they used. However, I feel that overall these are more so biased assumptions than logical.

BMB

Anonymous said...

It ceases to amaze me how much forensic science can prove and disprove. It is astonishing that you can determine whether a male or female has sent hate mail by the content of their letters. But is this method really as accurate as investegators think? Using certain phrases could be used to throw off authorities because some criminals are just as smart as scientists. N.H.

Anonymous said...

I never noticed that you can tell if a man or a woman has written something based on their writing style. After I read this, I went through a few of my texts in my inbox and there was definately a difference in writing style that I never noticed before. Very thought provoking.

SEK

Anonymous said...

How plausible is it that one is able to tell the sex of the writer by the words used in a letter???
DJA

Amanda said...

I like this bit of news. I find it hard to believe that someone could guarantee that a woman wrote the hate mail, though. I think the linguisitcs expert should work with a psychologist on this one.

Anonymous said...

To me, it's amazing how certain letters can tell the gender of a person. Of course, men wouldn't dare write sweet stuff in threat notes or anything that seems a little unusual for a man to say. Women tend to talk about unnecessary stuff when trying to commit a crime because they wouldn't think of it as being wrong. Whether letters are written by male or female, the type of words used can determine the gender.

LDT

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