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Dr Jaspal Singh

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and English Language at the Open University. My teaching and research interests revolve around the interconnections between language and culture. Taking inspiration from classic western and eastern philosophy, hip hop and other Black diasporic traditions, I arrive at a type of research that complexifies standard approaches in the social sciences. For example, I aim to problematise research ethics and common-sense writing strategies. Before joining the Open University, I was Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics at the School of English, the University of Hong Kong. I completed my PhD at the Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University under the supervision of Dr Frances Rock. I studied Linguistics, Philosophy and Medieval and Modern History at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. I'm currently using the pronouns he, his and him.

My latest books are avaialble throught the OU Library:

Williams, Quentin and Jaspal Naveel Singh (eds.) (2023) Global Hiphopography. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Singh, Jaspal Naveel (2022) Transcultural Voices: Narrating Hip Hop Culture in Complex Delhi. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. *** Shortlisted for the 2022 Book Prize of the British Association for Applied Linguistics ***


Research interests

Applied linguistics, linguistic ethnography, critical sociolinguistics, global hip hop linguistics, raciolingusitics, decoloniality. 

Read about my current research project on Global Patwa: Raciolinguistic appropriations of Jamaican language features in British, German and Indian reggae cultures

I'm convenor of the Applied Linguistics and Literacy Research Group (ALLRG)

Teaching interests

I'm serving as MA Pathway Lead (Applied Linguistics) and I am part of a team producing a new MA programme in lingusitics. 

Impact and engagement

I am member of the OU Black History Month steering committee, the Open University Palestine Solidarity Group and the WELS Language Matters Group.

You can read a short piece about my ethnographic research in the Indian hip hop scene on Open Learn.

I am member of the conference team for Archiving Hip Hop: 50 Years of History in the Making, which took place on the OU campus in Milton Keynes on 28 and 29 September 2023. 

I am on the editorial board of the academic journals Gender and Language and Language in SocietyTogether with Anna De Fina and Ana Deumert, I am editor of the Encounters Book Series at Multilingual Matters. 

Between 2019 and 2021, I served as Secretary of DiscourseNet, an international and non-hierarchical association for everyone interested in discourse studies.

Externally funded projects

Global Patwa: Raciolinguistic appropriations of Jamaican language features in British, German and Indian Reggae Cultures
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Feb 202431 Aug 2025BRITAC British Academy

To understand racism and improve race-relations in contemporary multicultural societies, there is an urgent need for empirical research that critically investigates the role of language in the construction of race. Focusing on the case of Global Patwa, i.e. linguistic appropriations of Jamaican Englishes by non-Jamaican reggae performers, the proposed research develops the emerging field of raciolinguistics and provides nuanced understandings of the continued effects of British colonialism and emerging south-south relationships across the postcolony. The findings raise critical awareness of race and racism and inform about the implications of using racially marked language across global spaces.


The lingusitic landscapes of Lamma Island: Autoethnography, polycentricity and urban-rural nexus in Hong Kong (2023-11-17)
Militello, Jacqueline Marie White; Theng, Andre Joseph; Kong, Yik Lam Charmaine and Singh, Jaspal Naveel
Sociolinguistic Studies, 17(4) (pp. 377-402)

[Book Review] Graphic politics in eastern India: Script and the quest for autonomy Nishaant Choksi. London: Bloomsbury. 2021 (2023-06)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 27(3) (pp. 312-315)

[Book Review] Youth language practices and urban language contact in Africa. Rajend Mesthrie, Ellen Hurst‐Harosh and Heather Brookes (Eds.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2021. 205pp (2022-12-14)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 26(5) (pp. 675-679)

The Enregisterment of Esh in Global Beatboxing Culture (2022-08)
Singh, Jaspal and Campbell, Cameron
Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 32(2) (pp. 408-430)

Commentary: Epistemological Positionalities (2021-12)
Singh, Jaspal
Applied Linguistics, 42(6) (pp. 1168-1175)

Language, gender and sexuality in 2020: forward Global South (2021-07-13)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel
Gender and Language, 15(2) (pp. 207-230)

Overstandin: Upscaling reading positions and rescaling texts/signs (2021)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel
Applied Linguistics Review, 12(3) (pp. 445-462)

Loudness registers: Normalizing cosmopolitan identities in a narrative of ethnic othering (2020-04)
Singh, Jaspal
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 24(2) (pp. 209-227)

Ciphers, ‘hoods and digital DIY studios in India: Negotiating aspirational individuality and hip hop collectivity (2020)
Dattatreyan, Ethiraj Gabriel and Singh, Jaspal
Global Hip Hop Studies, 1(1) (pp. 25-45)

Negotiating sustainability across scales: Community organizing in the Outer Hebrides (2018)
Singh, Jaspal and Bartlett, Tom
AILA Review, 30 (pp. 50-71)

Cultural interventions: Repositioning hip hop education in India. 36(1): 55-64. (2016-12)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel and Dattatreyan, Ethiraj Gabriel
Linguistics and Education, 36(1) (pp. 55-64)

‘How many of us remember 1984?’: Narrating masculinity and militancy in the Khalistani rap bricolage. (2013)
Singh, Jaspal
Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory, 9(3) (pp. 339-360)

Transcultural Voices: Narrating Hip Hop Culture in Complex Delhi (2021-10-29)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel
ISBN : 9781800413818 | Publisher : Multilingual Matters | Published : Bristol

‘Purifying’ Hindi Translanguaging from English and Urdu Emblems: A Sociolinguistic Decolonization of the Hindu Right? (2023-07-07)
Singh, Jaspal
In: Deumert, Ana and Makoni, Sinfree eds. From Southern Theory to Decolonizing Sociolinguistics: Voices, Questions and Alternatives. Studies in Knowledge Production and Participation (5) (pp. 18-38)
ISBN : 978-1-78892-655-3 | Publisher : Multilingual Matters | Published : Bristol

Transcultural decoloniality, global hip hop and reflexive narrative analysis (2023)
Singh, Jaspal Naveel
In: de Barros, Solange M. and Resende, Viviane eds. Coloniality in Discourse: A Radical Critique (pp. 136-154)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

The Sociolinguistic Saffronisation of India (2021)
Singh, Jaspal
In: Theodoropoulou, Irene and Tovar, Johanna eds. Research Companion to Language and Country Branding. Routledge Studies in Language and Identity (pp. 57-71)
ISBN : 9780367343590 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Migration, hip hop and translation zones in Delhi (2021)
Singh, Jaspal
In: Lee, Tong King ed. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and the City (pp. 308-325)
ISBN : 9781138348875 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Appropriate meaning: Discursive struggle and polyphonic semiosis in Indian hip hop (2020-02-12)
Singh, Jaspal
In: Zizek, Boris and Piepenbring, Hanna N. eds. Formen der Aneignung des Fremden. Intercultural Studies. Schriftenreihe des Zentrums für Interkulturelle Studien (ZIS) (pp. 129-144)
ISBN : 978-3-8253-7925-4 | Publisher : Universitätsverlag Winter | Published : Heidelberg

Delhi to Bronx: Transkulturelle Historizität als transformatives Potential (2016-01-15)
Singh, Jaspal
In: Kämper, Heidrun; Schmidt-Brücken, Daniel and Warnke, Ingo H. eds. Textuelle Historizität: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf das diskursive Apriori. Diskursmuster / Discourse Patterns (12) (pp. 261-284)
ISBN : 978-3-11-044419-3 | Publisher : Mouton De Gruyter | Published : Berlin

Global Hiphopography (2023-07-28)
Williams, Quentin and Singh, Jaspal Naveel eds.
ISBN : 978-3-031-21955-9 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

Institutionality: Studies of Discursive and Material (Re-)ordering (2022-06-03)
Porsché, Yannik; Scholz, Ronny and Singh, Jaspal Naveel
Porsché, Yannik; Scholz, Ronny and Singh, Jaspal eds.
Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse
ISBN : 978-3-030-96968-4 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham

Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication (2016)
Singh, Jaspal; Cserzo, Dorottya and Kantara, Argyro eds.
ISBN : 1-4438-9056-1 | Publisher : Cambridge Scholars | Published : Newcastle upon Tyne