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Jelena Timotijevic


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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Jelena Timotijevic’s research interests centre on reconciling two apparently disparate strands in linguistics research, in order to contribute in meaningful ways to research in meaning and use of language. The two, broad, areas are an examination of language in a narrow and in a wider social context. The former tends to address a (micro-) level analysis, which focuses on various models of linguistic communication, and at Brighton in particular, the focus has been on an inferential model of communication that has a range of implications for the study of meaning, and how we conceive the distinction between semantics (the study of linguistic meaning) and pragmatics (the study of speaker meaning). The latter strand is concerned with language use in a much broader, socio-cultural (macro-) level. The reconciliation might be described as follows: if we begin with the intentions of the individuals who create the discourse (so central to work on meaning within an inferential model), then macro-level sociolinguistic phenomena can be seen as resulting from an accumulation of the individual micro-level acts.

Jelena’s first research direction attempts to link elements of 'contemporary' philosophy (in particular a Radical Contextualist approach to communication as understood by Francois Recanati) that addresses issues of communication as an inferential activity, with Marxist philosophy of language. More specifically it looks at whether Marx and Engels' examination of 'context' and 'circumstances' (in other words extra-linguistic information) are reflected and resemble what some contemporary philosophers consider essential when attempting to answer questions on how we 'know' language and what it means to 'know' language, and importantly how we communicate. The significant aspect here is the role of discourse, in the sense of language in a wider context described above.

The second element of Jelena’s research interest is the application of an analytical framework for examining manifestations of discourse called Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). The notion of 'critique' of discourse is understood differently within the CDA programme; many adhere to different approaches to examination and analysis: through literary criticism, Frankfurt school of thought, Marxism, and others. The 'strand' of CDA Jelena uses and focuses on is inherent in the Marxist tradition, predominately developed by a sociolinguist called Normal Fairclough: his work on social conflict and its detection through linguistic and discourse manifestations is situated within the Marxist tradition and enables critical language researches to examine discourse in a way that also enables us to move forward from examination to perhaps offering solutions.

Specific themes in Dr Timotijevic’s research centre around the discourse of nationalism in the post-communist transformation states of southeast Europe; discourse of normalisation in the context of migration and marginalities; and discourse of political protest and civil disorder. Jelena’s initial interests stem from her PhD work in contrastive linguistics, namely in examining modality and modal meanings in English and German. She now pursues this area of work through an examination of modal meanings in political discourse.

Supervisory Interests

Jelena welcomes PhDs in the following areas:

  • Philosophy of Language - Contextualism and its varieties
  • Related to the above, issues surrounding semantics/pragmatics interface and theoretical application to grammatical phenomena, mainly modality, tenses, reported speech. These can be applied to one language, or contrastively.
  • Political discourse analysis, primarily in the area of disocurse of nationalism, conflict, migration studies - using Critical Discourse Analysis

Scholarly biography

Jelena's scholarly biography crosses discpilines and boundaries. Language and Communication are at a centre of her interest, in particular how a theory of utterance interpretation can help explain how we convey meanings to each other. Jelena has attempted to investigage some of these questions through an investigation of grammatical phenomena (both in English and contrastively), as well as explore how discourse studies might perhaps be accommodated within a theory of utterance meaning in context. 

Jelena has taught at the University of Brighton since 2000. Prior to this, she worked in the area of quality assurance and curriculum development for FE and HE sector. She is the academic programme leader for English language and Linguistics provision in the university, and a course leader for the MAs in Linguistics, English language and Philosophy of Language; she is the course leader for the UG provision in Linguistics.  


Approach to teaching

Approaches to teaching, and courses' content, are closely linked to her research interests. Through both theory and practice-based modules students develop high-level critical, evaluative and research skills; they examine and make links between published research and natural language data. This 'hands-on' experience enables students to enage in data analysis and application of theory to data. Through stimulating and effective teaching practice, students have developed extra-curricular interests and produce stimulating and challenging projects in linguistics and English language. 

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  • 14 Similar Profiles
studies (academic) Social Sciences
discourse Social Sciences
self awareness Social Sciences
sociolinguistics Social Sciences
Serbia Social Sciences
Yugoslavia Social Sciences
nationalism Social Sciences
language Social Sciences

Research Output 2008 2018

  • 4 Chapter
  • 1 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN
  • 1 Article
Open Access
Philosophy of Language
Karl Marx

The sociolinguistic transition of the discourse of nationalism in Serbia from Tito to neoliberal crash in the 2000s

Timotijevic, J., 2016, Sociolinguistic Transition in Former Eastern Block countries: Two Decades after the Regime Change. Sloboda, M., Laihonen, P. & Zabrodskaja, A. (eds.). Frankfurt am Main, Berlin: Peter Lang, Vol. 4. p. 207-231 24 p. 5

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Another look at modals and subjectivity

Timotijevic, J., 2009, Modality in English Theory and Description. Salkie, R., Busuttil, P. & Van der Auwera, J. (eds.). Berlin, Germany: Mouton de Gruyter, p. 105-123 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Are modals polysemous, or do they have a single meaning?

Timotijevic, J., 2008, Linguistics in the Making. Jenset, G., Heggelund, O., Dyvik Cardona, M., Wold, S. & Didriksen, A. (eds.). Oslo: Novus Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Helping students link their academic study with reflective self-awareness through engagement with Personal Development Portfolios

Timotijevic, J. & Moriarty, J., 2008, Exploring the Hinterlands: Mapping an Agenda for Institutional Research in the UK.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

studies (academic)
self awareness
development planning