Skip to content

About Dr Matt Davies

My academic interests include: exploring the relationships between language and power (drawing on critical discourse analysis approaches and corpus linguistic techniques); conflicts and controversies in the public and academic realms of English language discussions; and investigating historical and contemporary representations of Chester as part of the English Language team’s Cestrian English project.

I have been promoting the use of innovative digital assessment techniques, such as on-line blogs and pre-recorded video presentations. Feel free to comment on any of the 200+ blogs on a module I convene by clicking on this Language Debates link. I also set up and oversee the voluntary on-line student magazine C.E.L.L.MATES (Chester English Language and Literature….Mates). You can read about my student blog mission in this Times Higher Education article (2021).

I was very flattered to receive the university-wide ‘1839 Award for Most Inspiring Lecturer’, as voted for by students in 2021.

I am currently External Examiner for the MA Language in Context at the University of Brighton, having previously been EE for English Language BAs at Newman University and Dublin City University.

I recently achieved Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.



I specialise in discourse analysis but have taught a range of English language and linguistics subject matter over the years including the history of English, child language acquisition, phonetics and phonology and syntax. Modules I currently convene and / or teach on are:

  • EN7402 Approaches to Discourse Analysis
  • EN7407 Contemporary Issues in English Language and Linguistics
  • EN7405 Dissertation
  • EN6301 Language Debates
  • EN6314 Discourse and Ideology in the News
  • EN5306 The Power of Language
  • EN5303 Creativity in English
  • EN5206 Spreading the Word: Crafting Texts for Public Engagement

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised many projects involving critical discourse analysis and / or corpus linguistic approaches to news discourse and other texts whose purpose is to present certain ideological views of the world.

I welcome enquiries about research projects involving:

  • Critical Discourse Analysis, especially in news discourse
  • Constructed oppositions in discourse
  • Conflicts and controversies in English language and linguistics
  • Corpus linguistic approaches to song lyrics


My research continues to centre on the relationships between language and power, including the representation of individuals, groups and events in the mass news media. My recent publications explore the stylistic conventions used to hide ideology in news reports (Davies 2020), the textual construction of artificial binary oppositions in general election newspaper editorial columns (Davies 2019), and the representation of trade unions in the UK press (Davies and Nophakun 2018). My monograph - Oppositions and Ideology in News Discourse (2013) - investigates the ways that news discourse has a tendency to represent the world in simple binary opposites, e.g., as a struggle between ‘good' and ‘evil'.

My latest project involves exploring historical and contemporary representations of Chester in publications such as tourist guidebooks and trade adverts, as part of the English Language Cestrian English research strand, in collaboration with the Cheshire Records and Local studies archives team.

I have recently delivered conference papers on representations of Chester in tourist guidebooks (with my colleague Dr Clara Neary), and the uses and meaning(s) of ‘snowflake’ and ‘political correctness’ in the UK press, using corpus linguistic techniques.

I have been experimenting with corpus linguistic analyses of song lyrics, and my attempt to shed some light on patterns of meaning in the lyrics of Mark E Smith of The Fall is being published in a book on The Fall (Always Different, Always the Same: Critical Essays on The Fall) in late 2022.

Recent talks given:

See link to the video here

Lectures on corpus approach to the demonization on trade unions in the UK press (as invited speaker):

  • University of Lancaster, February 2016
  • University of Leeds, October 2015
  • University of Reading, April 2014
  • Liverpool Hope University, Feb 2014
  • Huddersfield University, Feb 2014
  • Queen’s University, Belfast, Nov 2013
  • University of Sussex, November 2013

Other presentations:

  • ‘A class act? How the UK press demonize trade union action whilst denying its class basis’. Discourses of Disorder Symposium, University of Newcastle, 15 October 2015.
  • ‘Reckless Spending and Sensible Saving? Or the Other Way Round? Constructed oppositions in news editorial columns in the 2010 and 2015 UK general election campaigns’. Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) conference, University of Canterbury, UK, July 2015.
  • 'A corpus linguistic approach to representations of industrial action in the UK press'. Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) Conference, Heidelberg July 2013.
  • 'Class Struggle denied? How the UK press demonize workers on strike'. Spectres of Class Conference, University of Chester, July 2011.
  • ‘The syntactic framing and triggering of binary oppositions in the discourse of the UK 2010 General Election campaign'. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines (CADAAD) conference, University of Lodz, September 2010.
  • ‘Blue skies and pain: the function of unconventional oppositions in Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here'. English Research Day, University of Chester, UK, December 2009.
  • ‘The Wonderful and Frightening World of WMatrix and the lyrics of Mark E Smith'. International conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), Roosevelt Academy, Middleburg, Netherlands, July 2009.
  • ‘Constructed oppositions in news discourse and their contribution to Critical Discourse Analysis'. Language, Ideology and Power group (LIP), Lancaster University, November 2008.
  • ‘‘Opposite spotting: The identification and function of unconventional oppositions in discourse'. International conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), University of Sheffield, UK, July 2008.
  • ‘Linguistic opposition and conflict'. Panel member in ‘Language and Conflict' workshop, SS17 Sociolinguistics Symposium, Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 2008.
  • ‘The construction of ‘us' and ‘them' in news discourse', Centre for Governance and Democracy Research Day, University of Huddersfield, UK, March 2008.
  • ‘The role of syntactic frames in the triggering of unconventional oppositions'. International conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), Kansai Gardai University, Japan, July 2007.
  • ‘Islands of pink in a vast expanse of rural sludge: Constructing political opposites in the news'. International conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), University of Joensuu, Finland, July 2006.
  • ‘Oppositions and the reporting of protest marches in the UK press'. Perspectives on Conflict Conference, University of Salford, Sept 2005.
  • ‘The ideological construction of ‘us' and ‘them' in the British Press'. International conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), University of Huddersfield, UK, July 2005.

Published Work


Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy, PhD Linguistics (Huddersfield), PGCE 11-18 (Manchester), MA Language Studies (Lancaster), BA Humanities (Manchester)