Language analysis and counter-analysis in asylum applications

What we cover

We offer analyses of speech to help determine background or place of socialisation, and counter-analyses of language origin reports by experts and government contractors. We can carry out analyses of existing speech samples as well as targeted elicitation of speech samples that are tailored to the individual case.

Our unique expertise

We are the only university-based team of language analysts for asylum cases. Our team members are researchers with formal university qualifications in linguistic analysis as well as first hand knowledge and expertise of the languages concerned. They draw directly on their knowledge of the languages, and on their research on the dialects of these languages. Our team is led by a senior researcher, Professor Yaron Matras, and includes native speakers of Sorani and Kurmanji Kurdish and of Arabic who have postgraduate university degrees in Linguistics and have worked as assistants on university research projects on investigating regional variation in language. As a research group, our team has developed the world’s only online databases on regional variation in the dialects of Kurdish, Arabic, and Romani. We are in the unique position of being able to compare speech samples from clients with data from our own research databases and to offer a reliable, objective and genuinely verifiable analysis and interpretation. We have also carried out research examining the methods used by government contractors in language analysis and are able to critically assess the vulnerabilities of such analyses, where applicable.

Our language specialism

We specialise in the dialects of Kurdish, Arabic, and Romani, and are able to draw on first hand knowledge and research expertise on these languages, developed as part of large-scale research projects funded by national and international research councils. We are also able to support queries and analysis at different levels for a variety of other languages of Europe and the Middle East.

Our procedures and rates

Prospective clients should contact us on and will be asked to formally register as clients with the University of Manchester. An authorised cost calculation along with the University’s terms and conditions will then be issued. Invoicing is carried out by the University of Manchester. Our rates follow sector relevant guidelines issued by the Legal Aid Agency for England. We use a variety of rates depending on which staff members are involved for which sub-task, their expertise and experience. We carry out pro bono work for charitable organisations on a discretionary basis.