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Dr Sheryl Prentice

Research Associate:Native Language Influence Detection 6

Research overview

I am primarily a corpus linguist, currently specializing in the forensic investigation of extremist language and ideology to inform counter-terrorism strategy. I have previously engaged in corpus research on Scottish and English relations, having conducted studies on online Scottish nationalism and the representation of Scottish actors in the historic English press.


I am currently working as a Senior Research Associate in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University. This work presently involves expanding the lexicon of the UCREL Semantic Analysis System (USAS) and exploring discursive representations of EU maritime security. I have recently submitted a multi-disciplinary PhD, crossing the fields of Linguistics, Psychology and Computing, which contributes to the Time, Response and Audience Constructed Evaluation of Extreme Counter-Messages project. The thesis combines the USAS framework with corpus linguistic, statistical and experimental methodologies to measure the extent of (dis)similarity between online extreme and non-extreme messages.

Previously, I have worked as a research associate on the Understanding the Language of Extremism and its Potential for Predicting Risk project, which sought to uncover common characteristics of Islamic extremist language using a combination of corpus linguistic and content analyses. Prior to this, I worked on the transcription of the Lancaster Newsbook Corpus, and have published corpus-based discourse analysis papers on issues of representation in the historic press, as well as nationalistic and extremist ideology. Both my thesis and previous publications feature novel applications of corpus linguistic methods and semantic coding frameworks.

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, my research interests centre around the fields of corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, forensic linguistics (particularly the study of extremism) and language and the media.


My background is in Linguistics, having obtained a First Class BA Hons in English Language and an MA in Language Studies from Lancaster University, UK.

Additional Information

I am a member of the Investigative Expertise Unit, part of Security Lancaster (Lancaster University UK), a centre of excellence in security research.

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