Marianne Mason

Marianne Mason 

Department: Foreign Language

Areas of expertise:

  • Language and the Law/Forensic Linguistics
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Translation and Interpretation Studies

Mason's teaching includes translation strategies and community interpreting. She is the coordinator of the Translation and Interpretation Minor for the Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department. Her current research focuses on language at the center of the American justice system. In the United States, the Miranda warning informs laypersons who are subject to police questioning of two fundamental constitutional rights: the right against compelled self-incrimination and the right to counsel. The project examines legal institutions’ historical interpretation and enforcement of linguistic actions invoking constitutional rights; laypersons’ knowledge of how discourse is used to achieve linguistic goals in institutional settings; and the effect of Miranda case law on police-layperson custodial exchanges. The project argues that despite the role of discourse in shaping legal outcomes, the validity and widely accepted use of linguistic analysis to understand a legal process is yet to be fully and uniformly embraced by the courts and those who enforce the law. 

Mason received her doctorate in linguistics from the University of Georgia. She is a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and co-editor of the book, The Discourse of Police Interviews, published by the University of Chicago Press.


Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass,, 540-568-7487.

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