Study at CFL





Research at the CFL

CFL research over the last five years has attracted more than £1,000,000 of funded projects from Research Councils, the Ministry of Defence and from private companies. Amongst these varied projects there have been two principal research themes.

The first main theme addresses the development of theory and method in forensic text analysis. To meet criteria for the admissibility of evidence to Court, forensic methods must be shown to be reliable methods and well-founded in theory. Theoretically we have developed robust discussions of the concept of idiolect and linguistic uniqueness; such work is important in developing an understanding of how certain we can be in drawing conclusions in authorship attribution work. We have also developed and evaluated methods for the analysis of longer texts, texts of a few hundred words and short messages, such as SMS text and twitter. Such methods have been applied to cases of stalking, fraud and murder.

Within this theme we have also focused on identification of non-native writers of English first language. These projects are being used to develop online systems for the identification of individuals, for example, involved in terrorist conspiracy.

The second main theme of our research focuses on investigative interviews and on the use of interpreters. We have examined witness interviews and the manipulation by interviewers of rape-victim witness-talk and the evidential function of suspect interviews. Of particular interest is the transformation and reformulation of interview data as it passes from interview-room to courtroom with inherent conversion from spoken to written format, and back to spoken as the interview is used as evidence in Court. Such research reveals potential flaws in the use of interviews and their interpretation as evidence but also how these can be largely overcome through increased awareness of the linguistic factors involved.

Additionally we have shown how the role of the interpreter in legal settings is rarely acknowledged and poorly understood. These insights have produced training for interviewers and policy changes leading to improved practice.   

Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship

Dr Tatiana Tkacukova joined the CFL to work on the Research and Training Project “Pro Se Language Use” under the EC funding scheme of Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development with the overall budget of EURO 231,283 for the period of August 2013 -- July 2015. The project deals with communication needs of litigants in person and challenges they experience in court during their interaction with witnesses, judges and opposing counsels. The research complements studies on legal aspects of self-representation in court by addressing the research gap on communication aspects of litigation in person and the way the roles of judges and opposing counsels change in cases where at least one party is unrepresented. The research aims to contribute to current discussions on implementing inquisitorial features in the adversarial proceedings with litigants in person and training judges to accommodate the needs of litigants in person. The practical outcomes of the project are to (1) compile a Handbook for Litigants in Person on witness examination questioning, opening/closing speeches and interaction in court and (2) prepare a Report for the Judiciary on language and communication needs of litigants in person.  

Selected Publications of CFL Staff

Professor Tim Grant

For Professor Grant's most recent publications click here.

  • Grant, T. (2010). TXT 4N6: Idiolect free authorship analysis? In M. Coulthard & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics (pp. 508-522). London: Routledge.

  • Oxburgh, G.E., Myklebust, T. & Grant, T. (2010) The question of question types in police interviews: a review of the literature from a psychological and linguistic perspective. The International Journal of Speech Language and Law 17, 1, 45–66 doi:10.1558/ijsll.v17i1.45

  • Christine J. Hammond, C.J., Bond, J.W. Grant, T.D. (2009) The Effects of Substance Use on Offender Crime Scene Behavior Journal of Forensic Sciences , 54, 2, 376-381 doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2008.00974.x

  • Grant, T. D. (2008). Approaching questions in forensic authorship analysis. In J. Gibbons & M. T. Turell (Eds.), Dimensions of Forensic Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Norton, R., & Grant, T. 2008 Rape myth in true and false rape allegations Psychology, Crime & Law 14, 4, 275-285 DOI: 10.1080/10683160701770286

  • Woodhams, J., Grant, T.D. & Price, A.R.G. (2007) From marine ecology to crime analysis: Improving the detection of serial sexual offences using a taxonomic similarity measure. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 4, 2.

  • Sheridan, DLP & T Grant, T (2007) Is cyberstalking different? Psychology, Crime & Law 13  (6), 627-640

Dr Krzysztof Kredens

For Dr Kreden's most recent publications click here.


  • Bogucki, L. and Kredens, K. (eds.), (2010) Perspectives on Audiovisual Translation, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Mein.

  • Kredens, K. and Roszkowski, S. (eds.), (2007) Language and the Law: International Outlooks, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Mein.

  • Walinski, J., Kredens, K. and Roszkowski, S. (eds.), (2007) Corpora and ICT in Language Studies, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Mein.

Book chapters and pages.

  • Kredens, K. and Coulthard, M. “Corpus Linguistics in Authorship Identification”, (2012) In Tiersma, P. and Solan, L., The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law.

  • Kredens, K. and Morris, R. (2010) “’A Shattered Mirror?’ Interpreting in legal contexts outside the courtrooom”, In Coulthard, M. and Johnson, A., The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics.

  • Coulthard, M., Grant, T. and Kredens, K. (2010) ”Forensic Linguistics”, In Wodak R., Johnstone, B. and Kerswill, P (eds.) Handbook of Applied Linguistics, Thousand Oaks and London: SAGE Publications.

  • Kredens, K. (2006) “On the status of linguistic evidence in litigation”, In: P. Nowak and P. Nowakowski (eds.) Language, Communication, Information 1(1), Sorus Publishers, Poznan.

  • Kredens, K. “Language corpora in forensic linguistics”, (2005) In: B. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (editor) Introduction to corpus linguistics [in Polish], Lodz University Press, Lodz.

  • Kredens, K. (2002)“Towards a corpus-based methodology of forensic authorship attribution: a comparative study of two idiolects”, In: B. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (editor) PALC’01: Practical Applications in Language Corpora, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Mein.

  • Kredens, K. (2002) “Idiolect in authorship attribution”, In: Folia Linguistica Anglica 4, Lodz University Press, Lodz.

Dr Kate Haworth

For Dr Haworth's most recent publications click here.

  • Haworth, K. (2013 forthcoming) 'Audience design in the police interview: the interactional and judicial consequences of audience orientation'. Language in Society 42(1).

  • Haworth, K. (2011) ‘Police Interviews’, in C. Chapelle (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, Wiley-Blackwell

  • Haworth, K. (2010) ‘Police interviews as evidence’, in M. Coulthard & A. Johnson (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics, London: Routledge

  • Haworth, K. (2009) ‘Police-suspect interviews’, in L. Cummings (ed.) Pragmatics Encyclopedia, London: Routledge

  • Haworth, K. (2006) 'The dynamics of power and resistance in police interview discourse', Discourse & Society 17(6): 739-759

Dr Jack Grieve

For Dr Grieve's most recent publications click here.

  • Grieve, J., Asnaghi, C., Ruette, T. Site-restricted web searches for data collection in regional dialectology. Forthcoming in American Speech.

  • Grieve, J. A comparison of statistical methods for the aggregation of regional linguistic variation. Forthcoming in Benedikt Szmrecsanyi and Bernhard Wälchli (editors) Aggregating dialectology, typology, and register analysis: Linguistic variation in text and speech. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.

  • Grieve, J. A multidimensional analysis of regional variation in American English. Forthcoming in Tony Berber Sardinha and Marcia Veirano Pinto (editors) Multi-Dimensional Analysis, 25 years on: A Tribute to Douglas Biber. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Grieve, J., Speelman, D. and Geeraerts, D. (2013) A multivariate spatial analysis of vowel formants in American English. Journal of Linguistic Geography 1: 31-51.

  • Grieve, J. (2013) A statistical comparison of regional phonetic and lexical variation in American English. Literary and Linguistic Computing 28: 82-107.

  • Grieve, J. (2012) Sociolinguistics: Quantitative Methods. In Carol A. Chapelle (editor) The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Grieve, J. (2012) A statistical analysis of regional variation in adverb position in a corpus of written Standard American English. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 8: 39-72.

  • Grieve, J. (2011) A regional analysis of contraction rate in written Standard American English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 16: 514-546.

  • Grieve, J. Speelman, D. and Geeraerts, D. (2011) A statistical method for the identification and aggregation of regional linguistic variation. Language Variation and Change 23: 193-221.

  • Grieve, J., Biber, D., Friginal, E. and Nekrasova, T. (2010) Variation among blog text types: A multi-dimensional analysis. In Alexander Mehler, Serge Sharoff and Marina Santini (editors) Genres on the Web: Corpus Studies and Computational Models. New York: Springer-Verlag.

  • Biber, D., Grieve J., and Iberri-Shea, G. (2010) Noun phrase modification. In Günter Rohdenburg and Julia Schlüter (editors) One Language, Two Grammars? Differences between British and American English. Cambridge University Press.

  • Kolb, T., Friginal, E., Lee, M., Tracy-Ventura, N. and Grieve, J. (2008) Teaching writing within forestry. Proceedings of the 7th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources, Oregon State University.

  • Grieve, J. (2007) Quantitative authorship attribution: an evaluation of techniques. Literary and Linguistic Computing 22: 251-270.

  • Tabadaa, M.and Grieve.J, (2004) Analyzing appraisal automatically. Proceedings of AAAI Spring Symposium on Exploring Attitude and Affect in Text: 158-161..

Dr Nicci MacLeod

For Dr MacLeod's most recent publications click here.

  • MacLeod, N. (2013) ‘Forensic Linguistics’ In: C.A. Chapelle (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • MacLeod, N. (2013) ‘Solan, Lawrence M.’ In: C.A. Chapelle (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • MacLeod, N. & Grant, T. (2012) ‘Whose tweet?: authorship analysis of micro-blogs and other short form messages’. Electronic Proceedings of the International Association of Forensic Linguists’ 10th Biennial Conference, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, July 2011.

  • MacLeod, N., & Fennell, B. (2012) ‘Lexico-grammatical portraits of vulnerable women in war: the 1641 Depositions’ Journal of Historical Pragmatics 13 (2).

  • MacLeod, N. (2012) ‘Rogues, villaines & base trulls: Constructing the other in the 1641 Depositions’. In E. Darcy, A. Margey & E. Murphy (eds) The 1641 Depositions and the Irish Rebellion London: Pickering & Chatto.

  • MacLeod, N. (2011). ‘Risks and benefits of selective (re)presentation of interviewees’ talk: Some insights from discourse analysis’. British Journal of Forensic Practice 13 (2), 95 - 102.

  • MacLeod,N. (2009) ‘‘Well did you feel jealous?’ Control & ideology in police interviews with rape complainants’ Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines 3 (1), 46 – 57. http://eprints.aston.ac.uk/15225

Dr Tatiana Tkačuková

  • Tkačuková, T. (2010) “Cross-Examination Questioning: Lay People as Cross-Examiners.” In M. Coulthard and A. Johnson (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics. London and New York: Routledge.

  • Tkačuková, T. (2011) “Lay People as Cross-Examiners: A Linguistic Analysis of the Libel Case McDonald's Corporation v. Helen Steel and David Morris.” The International Language of Speech, Language and the Law 17(2). 307–310.

  • Tkachuk, T. (2007) “Linguistic Analysis of Lay Advocacy: Do Lay People Stand a Chance when Representing themselves in Court?” Proceedings of the Second European IAFL Conference on Forensic Linguistics / Language and the Law. Barcelona: University Pompeu Fabra. 239–247.

Dr Yvonne Fowler

  • Fowler, Y. (1997) The Courtroom Interpreter: Paragon and Intruder ? In The Critical Link: Interpreters in the Community. Eds. Silvana Carr, Roda Roberts, Aideen Dufour and Dini Steyn. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

  • Fowler, Y. (2003) Taking an Interpreted Witness Statement at the Police Station: What did the Witness Actually Say ? In The Critical Link 3. Eds. Louise Brunette, Georges Bastin, Isabelle Hemlin, Heather Clarke. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

  • Fowler, Y. (2007) Formative Assessment: Using Peer and Self-Assessment in Interpreter Training. In Critical Link 4. Eds. Cecilia Wadensjö, Birgitta Englund Dimitrova, Anna-Lena Nilsson. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

  • Fowler, Y. (2013) Interpreting into the Ether: a Study of Videolink and Court Interpreters. In Critical Link 6. Eds. Christina Schäffner, Krzysztof Kredens, and Yvonne Fowler. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.


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