Helena Woodfield

Helena Woodfield

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: A linguistic approach to analysing and identifying language features of fake news.
Supervisors: Jack Grieve and Matteo Fuoli
PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics


  • BA Linguistics. SOAS University of London
  • MA Forensic Linguistics, Aston University


Doing my Undergraduate degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies gave me a fundamental basis in a broad variety of areas of linguistic study ranging from formal logic and semantics, to Arabic and Persian grammar, and language policy and revitalization. This provided me with the basis on which to choose a specialization that has direct impact on the way that we seek justice and use language as evidence. Going on to study Forensic Linguistics at the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University further expanded my toolkit to embrace the “big issues” which are prevalent in our society; for example how language is used in child grooming scenarios, the language used in investigative police interviews, and the way that individuals create deceptive language.

I have since used this forensic training in helping to code and screen data for projects which are looking for ways to identify the native language of people speaking English – primarily Persian speakers of English

Doctoral research

PhD title
A linguistic approach to analysing and identifying language features of fake news.


My main research interest lies in deception detection, focusing on fake and deceptive news, mostly the more sinister kind, but also including satire. My research hopes to identify, through the use of Biber’s Multidimensional Analytic framework (1988), key linguistic features or dimensions which could help to indicate the veracity of news articles. Currently I am working on known cases of deception in the news where journalists have been exposed as having fabricated articles, but where there is a history of “truthful” work for comparison.