Emma Moreton

I am a researcher and teacher in Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Liverpool. My publications to date use a mixed methods approach (combining corpus and critical discourse analysis tools and techniques) to explore how language is used in different contexts. My current project explores the language of cyber security, specifically challenges faced by cyber practitioners and cyber security training and awareness specialists in communicating cyber threats, as well as the challenges faced by industry employees, policy makers and the general public in understanding, interpreting, and evaluating information relating to cyber threats. The project aims to explore how language, in the context of communicating cyber threats, has an impact on decision-making and human behaviour.  Often cyber threats are discursively presented in terms of ‘power-struggles, war-fighting and military action’ (Sexton 2016) – exaggerated language, relying on metaphor systems developed in a pre-cyber era, which may encourage stakeholders to ‘adopt unsuccessful strategies’ (Levi et al. 2015). This project, therefore, seeks to address how cyber threats are communicated; how linguistic markers of threat correspond to perceived and actual threats; what impact the language of risks and threats has on different stakeholder groups in terms of their decision-making; and finally, what the most effective (language) strategies for communicating cyber threats are.