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    03.13.15 Professor Lawrence Solan quoted in The New York Times
    Larry Solan

    Professor Lawrence Solan provided analysis in a March 12, 2015, New York Times article “Wondering what the Fed’s Statements Mean? Be Patient,” about how the meanings of certain words vary in specific contexts. The story comes in light of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen’s use of the word "patient" at a Senate hearing last month.

    Solan cited three distinct situations in which the meaning of the word may differ: waiting in line at Staples to have a copy made, waiting to see a doctor, and waiting to get a mortgage approved. “Patient” in the first example might mean five minutes, perhaps a half-hour to an hour for the doctor, and several weeks for the mortgage.

    “When have you waited long enough to have been ‘patient’ so you can politely complain again in the doctor’s office, the copy shop or to your mortgage bank? There is no real answer,” Solan told The New York Times.

    Solan is director of the Law School's Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition, and his acclaimed book, The Language of Judges, is widely recognized as a seminal work on linguistic theory and legal argumentation. He holds both a law degree and a Ph.D. in linguistics. His scholarly works are largely devoted to exploring interdisciplinary issues related to law, language and psychology, especially in the areas of statutory and contractual interpretation, the attribution of liability and blame, and linguistic evidence. Solan has authored several books, numerous articles and book chapters, and he regularly lectures in the United States and abroad.  He has served as president of the International Association of Forensic Linguistics and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.

    Read the full article.

    Professor Solan was also quoted in the March 18 Boston Globe on the same topic.