Office for Country Information and Language Analysis (Immigration and Naturalization Service – IND), The Netherlands

Our unit employs four linguists with a permanent position: a forensic phonetician (PhD), a linguist and Arabist (PhD), a descriptive linguist (PhD) and a language typologist (MA). The unit is part of the «Office for Country Information and Language analysis», which is charged with the collection of reliable information on relevant countries of origin, enabling it to answer background questions from decision makers in asylum cases.

The linguists work with freelance language analysts, who generally have native competence of a language relevant for asylum cases, and who have a language background in a relevant country. We currently have a database of some forty analysts. Most of our cases are concerned with Somali, Arabic, Kirundi and West- African varieties of English.

Our analysts undergo a selection procedure in which their ability (talent) to recognise relevant language varieties is tested, and an assessment is made of their ability to communicate about language, i.e. to provide relevant linguistic examples. Testing continues after the selection procedure. Information provided by analysts about distinctive features of language varieties must in part be verifiable from other sources, e.g. publishes sources or information from other experts, as known by the supervising linguist.

The linguist provides specific training and extensive feedback to analysts on a one on one basis. Individual analyses are discussed with the linguist at the office, and each report is signed by both analyst and linguist. Double-checks and cross-checks are done in order to ensure quality and objectivity of analyses.

In the Netherlands, counter expert reports are submitted quite regularly. It is the task of the linguists to provide statements of reply to these reports, after consulting the analyst on relevant points if necessary.

Dernière modification 24.11.2009

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