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Miss Tanya Flanagan

Job: PhD student

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A



Personal profile

I am a PhD Researcher in Forensic Linguistics, with particular interests in persuasion, manipulation, and politeness theory. My research predominantly assesses these three areas within the context of domestic abuse. 

My academic background involves both language and literature, with my Bachelor’s degree and MA, taken at De Montfort University, both incorporating elements of the two disciplines. My PhD research follows on from my MA in English, whereby my project involved the assessment of abusive language, both in fiction and real-life experiences. My research now considers the role of language within the initial stages of abusive relationships, which linguistically analyses subtle abuse.  

My research is influenced by the literature of persuasion and politeness theory, and incorporates these two notions in the study of manipulation.

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs

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Research interests/expertise

My research expertise and interests involve notions of language power, manipulation, and persuasion, particularly within the context of domestic abuse.


BA (Hons) English Language with Literature , MA English

PhD project

PhD title

A Linguistic Assessment of Subtle Abuse


In the initial stages of relationships which involve domestic abuse, perpetrators convey positive images of themselves, through methods of politeness, persuasion, and charm. When abuse occurs, it is often extremely subtle, and a perpetrator's use of persuasion and manipulation aids to mask their abuse. These elements of abusive relationships allow perpetrators to hide their abusive traits, and victims therefore have little, if any, awareness that they are victims of abuse. My project aims to tackle this issue, by assessing the initial stages of abusive relationships, and identifying specific linguistic features within this stage, through the use of a critical discourse analysis, a persuasive analysis, and manipulation assessments. The intent of this study is to identify potential hallmarks of abuse before serious harm is caused, and to communicate these findings as abuse awareness.

Names of supervisors