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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Jelena Timotijevic’s research interests centre on reconciling two strands in research on language, communication and society. One strand focuses on various models of linguistic communication, more specifically 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 second strand is concerned with language use in much broader, socio-cultural and socio-political contexts. Bridging gaps between the two might be described as follows: if we begin with the intentions of the individuals who create the discourse (so central to the work on meaning within an inferential model), then macro-level sociolinguistic and sociopolitical phenomena can be seen as resulting from an accumulation of the individual micro-level acts.

One of Jelena's research directions attempts to link elements of 'contemporary' philosophy of language (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 social, political, cultural elements of our lives) are reflected and resemble what some contemporary philosophers of language 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 building on and improving the theoretical premises of an analytical framework for examining manifestations of discourse called Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). By giving primacy to the historical and social character of language, and thus situating analyses of discourse within a historical materialist tradition (following Marx and Voloshinov), it is possible to ground assessments of meaning and use of language in a more general communicational principle akin to Integrationist linguistics.

Specific themes in Dr Timotijevic’s research centre around the discourse of political protest and civil disorder, discourse of nationalism; migration and marginalities. Further, an exploration of work of another Marxist thinker, Vygotsky, in the context of Sociocultural theory and its relevance in language teacher education research, have recently become a particular are of interest in Jelena's research. Jelena continues to actively engage in the topics that stem from her PhD work in contrastive linguistics, namely in examining modality and modal meanings in English and German, as well as use of corpus linguistics. She now pursues this area of work through an examination of modal meanings in political discourse.

Jelena is on the editorial board of the Language Sciences Journal, and International Journal of English and Cultural Studies. She is also on the Scientific Committee for the Second International Conference on Language Education and Research, Athens, 2020.

Supervisory Interests

Jelena is currently supervising two PhD students who are focusing on Critical Discourse Analysis as an analytical framework for examination of language data.

She welcomes PhDs in the following areas:

  • Political discourse analysis, namely: confilct, protest and social movements; migration studies, discourse of nationalism, using Critical Discourse Analysis, Integrationism, Activity Theory as a form of history writing
  • Marxism and Philosophy of Language, including Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory applied to the research in Language Teacher Education, namely in the context of the role of emotion and cognition  in language teaching and learning.
  • Intercultural Pragmatics; Contextualism and its varieties
  • Semantics/pragmatics interface and theoretical application to grammatical phenomena, mainly modality, tenses, reported speech. These can be applied to one language, or contrastively.

Scholarly biography

Jelena's scholarly biography crosses discpilines and boundaries. Language and Communication in the context of political discourse are at a centre of her interest. Jelena has attempted to investigage some of these questions using Marxist accounts of language use and communication; she has worked on bridging gaps between such theoretical accounts and more contemporary positions on meaning and use of language. As a linguistics scolar also interested in language instruction and teaching, Jelena has recently started research using Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory to examine the role of emotion and cognition in Language Teacher Education.

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 a Principal Lecturer in Linguistics and Philosophy of Language, and a course leader for the Language in Context MA.


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. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 3 Mar 2009

External positions

Visiting Professor, University of Kragujevac

1 Sep 2019 → …


  • HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
  • Marxist philosophy of language
  • social movements
  • Protest
  • JC Political theory
  • JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
  • Political discourse analysis
  • discourse of nationalism
  • discourse analysis
  • migration discourse
  • B Philosophy (General)
  • Philosophy of language
  • political philosophy
  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • Intercultural communication
  • Pragmatics


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