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About Dr Matt Davies

Until recently I was External Examiner for English Language at Newman University, Birmingham (UK) and previously was External Examiner for English Language at Dublin College University, Ireland.

As member of PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association), I regularly deliver papers at their international conferences and until recently was a member of the PALA committee as editor of the PALA newsletter, Parlance.

I was co-organiser (with my colleague Professor Deborah Wynne) of the successful 'Spectres of Class' conference which was hosted by the University of Chester on 15-16 July 2011.

Students on the EN6301 Language Debates module, for which I am module convenor, contribute to a blog which explores various aspects of ongoing public and academic controversies in the domains of English Language and Linguistics. Feel free to comment on any of the 200+ blogs by clicking on this Language Debates link.

I am currently a member of the Faculty Ethics Committee, the Faculty Learning and Teaching Advisory Group and the English department’s Schools Liaison Working Group.


I have taught on a range of English Language and Linguistics courses over the years, including Language and Power, Child Language Acquisition, Syntax, Phonetics and Phonology, Metaphor, Language and Text / Stylistics, History of English, and Language in Education. Modules I currently teach on and/or convene include:

  • EN5306 The Power of Language
  • EN6301 Language Debates
  • EN6314 Discourse and Ideology in the News
  • EN6310 Dissertation
  • EN7402 Approaches to Discourse Analysis
  • EN7407 Contemporary Issues in English Language and Linguistics

Postgraduate supervision:

I am currently supervising several Masters theses including an MRes (28,000 words) on the acquisition of Polish inflections in young bilingual children.


My monograph - Oppositions and Ideology in News Discourse - was published in 2013 and reflects many of my research interests. These centre on the relationship between language and power, including the representation of individuals, groups and events in the mass news media. My book 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'. The continuing fallout from the 2016 UK referendum on membership of the European Union indicates the dangers of simplistic ‘yes’ / ‘no’ binaries. I follow up this research in a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Language in Conflict (2019) called ‘Stark choices and brutal simplicity: the blunt instrument of constructed opposition in news editorials’.

I am currently researching, and have delivered conference papers on, the use and meaning(s) of ‘snowflake’ and ‘political correctness’ in the UK press, using corpus linguistics techniques. This involves using software which processes large databases of text (millions of words) in order to help language researchers verify or challenge instinctive theories about language use. In my current research I am also using this corpus software to investigate the use of oppositions in news texts, the representation of trade union activities in the UK press, and the lyrics of Mark E Smith of The Fall.

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


BA, PGC NCTJ, PGCE (Manchester), MA (Lancaster), PhD (Huddersfield), FHEA.