The use of stylistic analysis as internal evidence for author identification has been a part of the practice of document examination since the beginning of the 20th century.
Stylistic analysis is the scientific study of patterns of variation in written language and is utilized as a systematic linguistic approach to author identification.
Author-specific linguistic patterns are present in unique combination in the style of every writer, and these underlying patterns can be objectively described and often measured by careful observation and analysis, making author identification possible in many cases.
Questions of authorship are often left unresolved by the more commonly used techniques of document examination, because evidence from paper, ink, typewriting, or handwriting is not available, or
because the scrivener was someone other than the writer. In such a case, the analysis of language style can be used as a front-line approach in the examination of a questioned writing.
In cases of disputed authorship, the examiner analyzes and describes the style of writing of a document of questioned authorship and compares and contrasts its language to that of documents known to be written by a given author. Results of this analysis may be that authorship is assigned to the author in question, that the suspect author is excluded from possible authorship of the questioned material, or that the data are found inadequate to arrive at a conclusion regarding authorship.
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