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CFL Staff

CFL Director, Professor Tim Grant has qualifications in both linguistics and psychology and is particularly interested in the interaction between forensic linguistics and forensic psychology. He is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Social Sciences, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Forensic Linguistics and Research Methods. His main research interests are in forensic authorship analysis and in the conversations which occur between attackers and victims in cases of serious sexual assault and rape. He has publications in both of these areas in both psychology and linguistics journals. His consultancy has largely involved the analysis of abusive and threatening communications in many different contexts including investigations into sexual assaults, murder and terrorist offences. It has also included cases of copyright infringement and academic plagiarism.

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Emeritus Professor of Forensic Linguistics, Professor Malcolm Coulthard is best known for his work on the analysis of spoken and written discourse and his 'An Introduction to Discourse Analysis' (1977/1985) is still widely used. He is the founding editor of The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law and was the Founding President of the International Association of Forensic Linguists. He is the author of 20 authored and edited books, as well as 50 articles and chapters in books, and has supervised numerous PhD dissertations on various aspects of language and law. Malcolm has been commissioned to write reports in almost 200 cases and has given expert evidence in courts in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong.

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Dr Krzysztof Kredens received his MA in English Studies and PhD in English Linguistics from the University of Lodz. Formerly a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the Department of English at Birmingham University, he is now a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the School of Languages and Social Sciences, and CFL Deputy Director. His academic interests include corpus linguistics, translation studies and social applications of linguistics. His main research interest lies with language and the law, as evidenced by his numerous publications and conference papers in the area. He is particularly interested in the linguistics of the individual speaker and its implications for forensic authorship analysis. He is a native speaker of Polish and provides expert linguist reports for both Polish and English.

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Dr Geoffrey Stewart Morrison conducts research in the fields of forensic speech science, and forensic inference and statistics. He has been Reader in Forensic Speech Science, Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University since July 2017. His past appointments include Simons Foundation Visiting Fellow, Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science Programme, Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences; Scientific Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs, INTERPOL; and Director of the Forensic Voice Comparison Laboratory, School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications, University of New South Wales. He has been a Subject Editor and Guest Editor for the peer-reviewed journals Speech Communication and Science & Justice. He has collaborated on research and development projects with law enforcement agencies in the Australia and Europe, and has forensic casework experience in Australia and the United States.

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Dr Kate Haworth has a PhD in Forensic Linguistics, and is also a barrister. She practised both civil and criminal law, and spent two years working in legislative drafting at the Parliamentary Counsel Office, Whitehall. Pursuing a long-standing interest in the language of legal contexts, she subsequently moved to the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics at the University of Nottingham, from where she received an MA in Applied Linguistics, before completing her ESRC-funded PhD thesis on police interview discourse and its roles in the judicial process. Her research interests include all aspects of language and the law, especially language as evidence. At Aston she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Forensic Linguistics, as well as pursues further research on police interviews.

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Dr Ria Perkins graduated from the Aston Master's programme in Applied Linguistics with Forensic Linguistics. Her PhD focused on native language identification in online Persian- English texts from 'eweblogistan'. She is moving on to research linguistic structures in English and Swedish language texts of online radicalisation. She is now working at Aston as a teaching associate.

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Current CFL PhD Students 

Emily Carmody was awarded her Bachelor’s degree in 2009 in English Language and Linguistics and Education and Human Development from Oxford Brookes University. During this time she developed a keen interest in Forensic Linguistics. After some years teaching and working in speech therapy, Emily returned to the subject, completing an MA in Forensic Linguistics at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University. She is currently working towards her PhD which involves linguistic investigations into child sexual grooming in various online environments.

Liubov Green has a lifelong passion for achieving excellence in linguistics. During her studies at university in Russia she conducted research in linguistics and took part in the annual scientific conferences, held by the university, devoted to linguistic issues. Upon completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Philology, she completed a Master’s in Applied Linguistics at the University of Birmingham, where she was inspired to carry out a research project in Forensic Linguistics. Her research focused on the role and challenges of the court interpreters in the UK. Upon successful completion of her MA programme she was determined to carry on her research in the field of courtroom interpreting further. This has led her to the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, where she continued research on the role of the courtroom interpreter in the legal system of England and Wales using the approach and paradigm of Social Constructionism.

Annina Heini completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics and Literature at the University of Bern, Switzerland in 2014. During this time, Forensic Linguistics was mentioned by a member of staff in passing and Annina developed an immediate interest in the subject. She was accepted at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University in Birmingham where she completed a MA in Forensic Linguistics over the following year. In the context of her PhD, she is currently researching the linguistics of police interviews with child suspects.

Vlad Mackevic developed an interest in Forensic Linguistics during his undergraduate studies at Aston. He finished his Bachelor's degree in International Relations and English in 2011 and, after having done an MA in Translation Studies at the University of Bristol and worked in the UK and abroad, he returned to Aston to pursue a PhD. His research interests are authorship analysis and authorship profiling. He focuses on native language identification within the same language family, looking at the differences between the ways native speakers of Slavic languages (Russian and Polish) interact in English.

Former CFL Members

Isobelle Clarke completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Communication with English Language Teaching at the University of Hertfordshire and received the Dean award for the highest first class honours. During her second year of the Bachelor’s degree, she took a module called ‘Language, Law and Politics’, which drew on several aspects of Forensic Linguistics. This module led her to pursue the MA in Forensic Linguistics at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University. Isobelle was awarded a distinction and the Centre for Forensic Linguistics prize and is now working towards her PhD, which involves investigating the linguistics within Twitter trolling. Isobelle completed her first year of her PhD at Aston University, but has followed her supervisor Jack Grieve to the University of Birmingham to finish her PhD.

Dr Yvonne Fowler came to Aston having spent many years training public service interpreters. Her research focused on prison video-link court hearings and how these difficult interactions are further disrupted where an interpreter is required to assist in the delivery of justice. She is now working at CFL as a Research Associate.

Dr Jack Grieve received a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University. Formerly a Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics at University of Leuven, he is now a Lecturer in Forensic Linguistics in the School of Languages and Social Sciences. His academic interests include quantitative corpus linguistics, sociolinguisics and forensic linguistics. In particular, his research focuses on dialectology and authorship attribution, including quantitative methods for data collection and data analysis.

Hulya Kocagul came to Aston with an interest in authorship analysis. The main objective of her study is to make an empirical research to find out the best potential method to analyse individualise writing style in Turkish for authorship identification. She continues her research in CFL.

Dr Samuel Larner came to Aston with an interest in authorship analysis. His PhD examined the potentially idiolectal use of formulaic sequences and showed how habitual patterns of use may be used as markers of authorship. He now works as a lecturer and is researching and teaching in forensic linguistics.

Dr Nicci MacLeod holds an MA (Distinction) in Forensic Linguistics from Cardiff University - where she was also awarded the Dell Hymes Commendation for Sociolinguistics - and a PhD from Aston University. She was employed as Research Fellow on the project 'Language and Linguistic Evidence in the 1641 Depositions' at the University of Aberdeen, before returning to Aston in 2010 as a Research Associate in the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. She has worked on projects in the areas of authorship analysis of short form texts, modelling online identities, and the BAAL funded Applying Linguistics to Police Interviewing. She is currently employed on the ESRC-funded project Assuming identities Online. Her research interests lie in the linguistic performance of identity and the manifestation of power through linguistic structures, particularly in legal and investigative contexts.

Dr Andrea Nini’s research focuses on dialectology, sociolinguistics and the quantitative analysis of language as well as on the application of this knowledge to forensic data. His main research interest within forensic linguistics is authorship profiling, or the determination of the demographics of an anonymous author using linguistic analysis.

Dr Eva Ng's research focused on the interactional dynamics in Hong Kong courts, where interpreting services are routinely provided for the linguistic majority instead of the linguistic minority and the interpreter usually has to work with court actors who share his/ her bilingual knowledge. She is a lecturer of Translation at the University of Hong Kong and was previously a staff court interpreter in Hong Kong.

Dr Isabel Picornell is a fraud examiner working from the Channel Islands. Her research examined linguistic cues to deception in written witness statements and devised a method for identifying deceptive linguistic strategies. She recently provided an expert report on such deception in a UK asylum appeal.

Olumide Popoola was awarded an LLB (Law) from King's College London in 1994. Following ten years as an advertising researcher and brand planner, he developed an interest in Linguistics firstly through teaching Legal English and Business Communication in the UK and Eastern Europe. A desire to broaden his knowledge of the interface between business, law and linguistics led him to study the Distance MSc in Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, from which he graduated in 2014 following a research focus on corpus linguistic approaches to trademark infringement. For his PhD, Olu is researching corpus-based methods for deception detection in a range of criminal and civil forensic contexts.

Dr Rui Sousa Silva came to CFL from the University of Porto with an interest in plagiarism. He studied cross-cultural attitudes to plagiarism and the detection where a translation might be claimed as an original work. He has returned to Porto to further develop forensic linguistics in the Portuguese context and language.

Dr Tatiana Tkacukova was a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics. She has received her PhD in English Language and Linguistics from Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Her research focuses on communication difficulties of litigants in person and how their needs can be accommodated in court (for more on the project see www.linglaw.org). Her other research interests include authorship analysis, investigative interview techniques and court interpreting. She is a public service interpreter for Czech, Ukrainian, Russian and English and a treasurer of the International Association of Forensic Linguists.

© Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, 2015