Dr Matt Davies

Senior Lecturer in English Language; Programme Leader, BA English Language (Single Honours)

I joined the University of Chester in 2009.


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


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

Postgraduate supervision:

I am currently co-supervising Masters thesis on the acquisition of Polish inflections, and a corpus approach to the discourse of political speeches

I welcome enquiries about research projects on:

  • Language and Power
  • Discourse Analysis / Stylistics
  • Language and the Media
  • Corpus Linguistics


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 ideological influence of the mass news media in the representation of individuals, groups and events. 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'. 

My first paper, 'The attraction of opposites: the ideological function of conventional and created oppositions in the construction of in-groups and out-groups in news texts', won the 2005 Longman Prize for Best Postgraduate Conference Paper presented at the annual conference of the international Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA). 

I am currently developing my expertise in the use of corpus linguistic 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 using this corpus software to investigate the use of oppositions in news texts, the representation of trade union activities in the UK press, and also the lyrics of Mark E Smith of The Fall.

I have recently spoken at a number of research seminars about the representation of trade union activities in the UK press, using a corpus linguistic approach.

Recent talks given:

See link to the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4wEk2bxIMY

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

Recent and forthcoming essays, articles and reviews:

  • Davies, M. (forthcoming). Stark choices and brutal simplicity: the blunt instrument of constructed oppositions in news editorials. In Jeffries, L. and O'Driscoll, J., The Routledge Handbook of Language and Conflict. London: Routledge.
  • Davies, M. & Nophakhun, R. (2018). Media ‘militant’ tendencies: how strike action in the news press is discursively constructed as inherently violent. In Hart, C. and Kelsey, D. (Eds.) Discourses of Disorder: Representations of Riots, Strikes and Protests in Language and Image. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Thirlby, J. & Davies, M. (2014) ‘The Great Phonics Debate: Are children benefiting from systematic synthetic phonics?’, Babel, Nov 2014: pp.35-39.
  • Davies, M. (2014) ‘Militancy or Manipulation: demonization of trade unions in the UK press’, Babel, Feb 2014: pp.19-24.
  • Davies, M. (2013) Oppositions and Ideology in News Discourse, London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Davies, M. (2012) 'A New Approach to Oppositions in Discourse: The Role of Syntactic Frames in the Triggering of Non-Canonical Oppositions'Journal of English Linguistics  40(1) 47-73.
  • 'Language and Power: A Resource Book for Students' (review), Language and Literature, 19 (2010), 221-224.
  • Davies, M. (2007) ‘The Attraction of Opposites: The Ideological Function of Conventional and Created Oppositions in the Construction of In-groups and Out-groups in News Texts'. In Stylistics and Social Cognition, ed. D. Bousfield, L. Jeffries and D. McIntyre (Rodopi, 2007).