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. At present, I am focusing on two key areas: the language of cyber security and the language of migration.
For this project I am exploring the communication of cyber risk from two perspectives:
1) Challenges faced by cyber practitioners and cyber security training and awareness specialists in communicating risk, prioritising information and explaining technical issues to non-expert audiences.
2) Challenges faced by industry employees and the general public in understanding, interpreting and evaluating information relating to cyber risk.
This involves creating a fully annotated corpus of cyber materials, which will then be analysed from three perspectives: genre (the way the texts are structured/organised), register (the language contained within the texts) and multi-modality (the use of visuals to convey key information and ideas). The final stage of the project will involve working with industry partners and policy makers to carry out a series of focus group studies to examine the relationship between language use and decision-making. Specifically, what sort of linguistic factors influence the way in which readers understand and assess risks, threats and consequences.
The language of migration
The second area of research I am currently involved in relates to the digitisation, annotation and analysis of historical migrant letter collections. I am especially interested in how a transhistorical and comparative approach to analysing such letter collections can help us to understand the migrant experience today. For example, I am currently working on an interdisciplinary project that uses two large letter corpora (around 10,000 letters by German and Irish migrants to America during the late 18th to early 20th century) to explore how the two groups integrated into American life and culture in similar and/or different ways. To do this, we are using computational tools to look for patterns in the language which reveal something about how the migrants conceptualised ‘home’ and ‘community’, how they self-identified (as Irish, German, American, for example), how they maintained relationships with those back home, and, importantly, if/how their experiences and perceptions changed over time. Whilst my background is primarily in corpus linguistics (I completed my PhD in corpus linguistics at the University of Birmingham), my research approach is very much interdisciplinary and I have been fortunate to work with colleagues in the fields of history, migration studies and international relations, both in Europe and the US.
I would be interested in supervising doctoral work in any of the areas mentioned above.
My academic support and feedback hour is Thursdays 3-4, or by appointment.