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Language solutions to navigate legal contexts

Newly rated as a Y2 researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Unisa’s Dr Terrence Carney research interest is in forensic semantics or simply put, language and law. While he feels that a Y2 rating is an acceptable starting point, he is excited to join the ranks. The NRF’s Y rating recognises promising young researchers.

Dr Terrence Carney

While Carney is modest in his sentiments about the rating, irrespective of the grade, the NRF rating of individuals is based primarily on the quality and impact of their research outputs over the past eight years, taking into consideration the evaluation made by local and international peers. It identifies researchers who count among the leaders in their fields of expertise and gives recognition to those who constantly produce high quality research outputs.

In this eConnect feature, Carney participates in a quick Q&A regarding his new rating.

How do you feel about your NRF rating?

I received a Y2 rating, which is an acceptable starting point. However, I would like to urge the NRF to reconsider changing its current Y2 definition to be more in line with the C3 definition. Overall, I’m glad to have joined the ranks.

What is your field of research?

I work mostly within forensic linguistics, which combines applied linguistics and sociolinguistics to help solve issues relevant to the criminal justice and civil procedure systems.

What is your research focus?

I study lexical meaning, i.e. the meaning of words, in legal contexts.

What are your research objectives?

My aim is to always try to find linguistic means to help legal practitioners and scholars with their work.

Who or what inspires you in your research field?

I’m inspired by the language needs of everyday people, you and me, to navigate legal situations.

What factors influenced you to choose this field of research?

I was introduced to the field by chance. When I started at Unisa, I had to assist a colleague in teaching a language course to law students. It opened a new world to me. 

What are your research highlights and achievements?

My work has been cited by a court of law in the United States of America.

Publish date: 2021/05/03