The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities
(023) 8059 2199

Dr Darren Paffey PhD, BA

Lecturer in Spanish and Linguistics, Director of UG Admissions

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Dr Darren Paffey is a Lecturer in Spanish and Linguistics in Modern Languages at the University of Southampton.

I hold a BA (Hons) in French & Spanish Linguistics and a PhD in Spanish Sociolinguistics, both from the University of Southampton. I have lived in Santiago, Chile where I also taught English and researched bilingual education policy.

As well as my current teaching and research responsibilities, I am the Employability Co-ordinator for Modern Languages.  Outside of the university, I serve on the Executive Committee of the Association for the Study of Spanish in Society, was an External Examiner for the University of Surrey for four years, and was organiser of the International Sociolinguistics Symposium in 2010.





Research interests

My research interests focus on language ideologies, the politics of language and (critical) discourse analysis as a method of investigating these, as well as issues of political and media discourse, language planning, language policy and migration within the Spanish-speaking world (see list of publications).

My PhD thesis investigated the ideologies, policies and agencies involved in language standardisation and other contemporary language debates in Spain, focusing particularly on the Real Academia Española.

I now have a developing research interest in the interface between social media and political discourse, investigating how issues of power, authority and voice are constructed and expressed by grassroots movements as well as the politicians through the innovative discursive practices of social media.  My latest project looks at the current educational protests and reforms in Chile, and the relationship between the discourse of the protestors and that of the President.

Previous projects that I have worked on include:

  • LINEE, a European Commission-funded project in which he investigated the practices and ideologies underlying the acquisition by migrants of official languages in the UK and Spain;
  • Volver a México, in which Darren carried out fieldwork in Mexico (as part of the MEXSU research team) to explore the return of Mexican migrants from the USA, and their accounts of the flows of linguistic capital in such transnational migratory movements;
  • Tales of Return, an investigation into the memories and experiences of Spanish returnee migrants from France and Great Britain in the 20th century;
  • and Testing Regimes, which focused on language, migration and citizenship policies across Europe.


Book Chapters


Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching
I teach on a number of modules in Spanish sociolinguistics, as well as teaching Stage 6 Spanish-English Translation seminars. I convene 'An Introduction to Languages of the Spanish-Speaking World', and 'Power and Discourse in Spanish-Speaking Societies', and also teach on 'Barrios and Borders: Language and Identity among US Latinos', 'Reading the City', 'Applications of Linguistics', and 'Research Skills’.

Postgraduate supervision
I welcome proposals for doctoral research in a range of sociolinguistic areas, particularly on topics relating to the politics of language in Spain and Latin America.

My particular interests include:

  • Political discourse
  • Media discourse
  • Language ideologies
  • Language policy
  • Language and globalisation
  • Language and migration
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Chile, Mexico, Colombia
Dr Darren Paffey
Building 65 Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number:65/3067

Telephone:(023) 8059 2199

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