After crossing seas and walls, some asylum seeker arriving in Europe have to cross one more wired fence: one made of words.

Nine European countries apply a controversial linguistic test to check for the origin of undocumented asylum seekers. This technique, called LADO (Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin) has been questioned by courts and agencies in the UK and Sweden, after a chain of wrong nationality attributions.

A harsh academic battle is in place among linguists on which LADO method, if any, yields reliable results. However, the issue is not on the European Commission's agenda. On the contrary: the agreement signed by the European Union and Turkey on refugee management includes LADO in its toolbox.

Photo CC © Nora A-T

Team members

Michele Catanzaro

Michele Catanzaro (Rome, 1979) is a freelance science journalist based in Barcelona (Spain). 

Michele Catanzaro

Astrid Viciano

Astrid Viciano is a German journalist and MD who works as a staff reporter at the weekend science section of Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich.

Philipp Hummel

Philipp Hummel is a Berlin-based freelance journalist with a special interest in science politics and investigative research.

Elisabetta Tola

Elisabetta Tola is an Italian journalist and science communicator.

Grant of €8,100, allocated on 10/11/2015.



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