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Dr Nicci MacLeod

Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics

Department: Humanities

Dr Nicci MacLeod is a Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at Northumbria University with a particular interest in forensic applications of linguistics and discourse analysis.

I joined Northumbria in 2018 having spent 12 years at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University in Birmingham, where I completed my PhD in 2010 on the topic of police interviews with women reporting rape. Since then I have been involved in a variety of research projects, from examining the language of 17th century quasi-legal texts all the way through to discursive patterns in Dark Web criminal communities. I teach on a number of BA English Language modules at Northumbria.

+44 (0) 191 243 7327


2018: Graduate Diploma in Law (University of Law, Birmingham)

2010: PhD Forensic Linguistics (Aston University, Birmingham)

2004: MA Forensic Linguistics (Cardiff University)

2003: BA (Hons) English Language (Bangor University)

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Broadly speaking my interests are in language and power, language and representation, and language and identity.

I am a discourse analyst with a particular interest in the language of policing, having spent my career examining (a) the discourse of investigative interviews and (b) online identity disguise by undercover operatives. Both of these strands have translated into training packages for investigators.


(Critical) Discourse Analysis

Forensic Linguistics/ Language and Law


Grant, T. and MacLeod, N. (under contract) Language, Identity and Undercover Policing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

MacLeod. N. (in press) 'Tell me in your own words…' reconciling institutional salience and witness- compatible language in police interviews with women reporting rape. To appear in M. Mason and F. Rock (eds) The Discourse of Police Investigation. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

MacLeod, N. & Wright, D. (in review) Forensic Linguistics'. To appear in S. Adolphs and D. Knight (eds) The Routledge Handbook of English Language and the Digital Humanities. Abingdon: Routledge.

MacLeod, N. (2018) Forensic Linguistics. D. Clayton (ed.) Language: a Student Handbook 2nd edition. London: The English and Media Centre, 193-205.

Grant, T. and MacLeod, N. (2018) Resources and constraints in linguistic identity performance – a theory of authorship. Language and Law/ Linguagem e Direito 5:1, 80-96.

MacLeod, N. and Grant, T. (2017) ‘go on cam but dnt be dirty’: linguistic levels of identity assumption in undercover online operations against child sex abusers. Language and Law/ Linguagem e Direito 4:2, 157-175.

MacLeod, N. (2017) Review: Discursive Constructions of Consent in the Legal Process. S. Ehrlich, D. Eades and J. Ainsworth (eds). Language and Law/Linguagem e Direito 4:2, 176-180.

MacLeod, N. and Grant, T. (2016) “You have ruined this entire experiment…shall we stop talking now?” Orientations to being recorded as an interactional resource. Discourse, Context & Media 14, pp. 63-70.

MacLeod, N. (2016) “I thought I’d be safe there”: Pre-empting Blame in the Talk of Women Reporting Rape. Journal of Pragmatics 96, 96-109.

Grant, T. & MacLeod, N. (2016) Assuming Identities Online: Linguistics Applied to the Policing of Online Paedophile Activity. Applied Linguistics 37 (1), 50-70.

MacLeod, N. & Haworth, K. (2016) Developing a Linguistically Informed Approach to Police Interviewing. In Lawson, R. & Sayers, D. (eds) Sociolinguistic Research: Application and Impact. Abingdon: Routledge, 151-170. 

Dando, C., Geiselman, E., MacLeod, N., & Griffifths, A. (2015) Interviewing Adult Witnesses, Including Vulnerable Witnesses. In G. Oxburgh, T. Myklebust, T. Grant and B. Milne (eds) Communication in Forensic Contexts: Integrated Approaches from Psychology, Linguistics and Law Enforcement. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 79-106.

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., & Fennell, B. (2012) Lexico-grammatical portraits of vulnerable women in war: The 1641 Depositions. Historical Pragmatics 13(2), pp. 259–290.

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. Pp. 113-128.

MacLeod, N. & Grant, T. (2012) Whose Tweet? Authorship analysis of micro-blogs and other short form messages. Proceedings of the International Association of Forensic Linguists’ 10th Biennial Conference.

Tomblin, S., MacLeod, N., Sousa Silva, R. & Coulthard, M. (eds) (2012)  Proceedings of The International Association of Forensic Linguists’ 10th Biennial Conference

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.


Affiliations and Memberships

International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL)

British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)

International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG)

Higher Education Academy (HEA)


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