Tim Wharton lectures and researches in linguistics.
His main interest is pragmatics, the study of utterance interpretation. He is the author of Pragmatics and Non-Verbal Communication (2009) and has particular interests in how the ‘natural’, non-linguistic properties of utterances interact with linguistic ones, and how they can both be integrated within a theory of communication.
Tim leads the development of research in linguistics at the University of Brighton.
Dr Tim Wharton specialises in pragmatics, the study of utterance interpretation. In particular, his research explores how ‘natural’, non-linguistic behaviours – tone of voice, facial expressions, gesture – interact with the linguistic properties of utterances (broadly speaking, the words we say). Natural behaviours help us convey our intended meanings and yet the question of how they interact with language is often ignored by linguists. His main theses are outlined in his 2009 book, Pragmatics and Non-Verbal Communication, which charts a point of contact between pragmatics, linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science, ethology and psychology, and provides the analytical basis to answer some important questions: How are natural behaviours interpreted? What do they convey? How can they be best accommodated within a theory of utterance interpretation?
Tim's research increasingly reflects the cross-disciplinary nature of pragmatics and he is currently developing a proposal with colleagues from Northumbria University and Kingston University for a research project which will explore the relationship between pragmatics and intonation using a psychological theory of ‘expectation’, hitherto only applied to the study of the interpretation of music. Since intonation is the ‘music’ of speech, he envisages that the project will form part of a broader enterprise exploring explore affective dimensions of intonation, and also the relationship between prosody and music. In doing so, Tim aims to tie the musical and academic strands of his life together. Relatedly, Tim is also founder of the 'Beyond Meaning' research network project with colleagues from Université de Neuchatel and The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. The aim of the project is to develop an interdisciplinary, psychologically real theory of expressivity and creativity and it will involve linguists, philosophers and artists. The Beyond Meaning network helds its first international conference in September 2017.
Tim joined the University of Brighton in 2012. He completed his PhD in Linguistics at University College London and prior to his arrival at Brighton taught not only at UCL but also at the Universities of Sussex, Kingston University and the University of Hertfordshire. Before moving into academia, Tim had a career as a singer-songwriter. Later, as he moved into linguistics, Tim wrote and recorded a number of songs that are still used widely in CUP and OUP textbooks around the world for children who are learning English as a foreign language.
Wharton, Tim (2016) Relevance In: Callan, H., ed. International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology: Anthropology Beyond text. John Wiley and sons, New York, USA. ISBN 9780470657225
Wharton, Tim (2016) Paralanguage In: Barron, A., Steen, G. and Yueguo, G., eds. The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics. Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics . Routledge, London, pp. 69-75. ISBN 9780415531412
Wharton, Tim (2015) That bloody so-and-so has retired: expressives revisited Lingua, 175-6. pp. 20-35. ISSN 0024-3841
Wharton, Tim (2014) What words mean is a matter of what people mean by them Linguagem em (Dis)curso, 14 (3). pp. 473-488. ISSN 1518-7632
Wharton, Tim (2012) Linguistic action theories of communication In: Schulz, Peter and Cobley, Paul, eds. Theories and models of communication. Handbooks of Communication Science, 1 . Mouton de Gruyter, Amsterdam, pp. 241-256. ISBN 9783110240450
Wharton, Tim (2012) Pragmatics and prosody In: Allen, Keith and Jaszczolt, Kasia, eds. The Cambridge handbook of pragmatics. Cambridge handbooks in language and linguistics . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 567-585. ISBN 9780521192071
Wharton, Tim (2012) Prosody and meaning: theory and practice In: Romero-Trillo, Jesus, ed. Pragmatics, prosody and English language teaching. Educational linguistics . Springer, London, pp. 97-117. ISBN 9789400738829
Wharton, Tim (2011) Pragmatics and nonverbal communication: an exchange Gesture, 11 (3). pp. 383-394. ISSN 1568-1475
Wharton, Tim (2010) Recipes: beyond the words Gastronomica, 10 (4). pp. 67-73. ISSN 1529-3262
Wharton, Tim (2009) Pragmatics and non-verbal communication Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 9780521691444
Wharton, Tim (2008) 'Meaning' and 'showing': Gricean intentions and relevance-theoretic intentions Intercultural Pragmatics, 5 (2). pp. 131-152. ISSN 1612-295X
Wharton, Tim (2006) The evolution of pragmatics In: Brown, K., ed. The Elsevier Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ISBN 0080442994
Wharton, Tim (2003) Interjections, language and the 'showing/saying' continuum Pragmatics and Cognition, 11 (1). pp. 39-91. ISSN 0929-0907
Wharton, Tim (2003) Natural pragmatics and natural codes Mind & Language, 18. p. 447. ISSN 0268-1064
Dr Wharton’s 2009 book ‘Pragmatics and Non-Verbal Communication’ has been cited nationally and internationally and reviewed in a number of journals.
A most timely work... (N)ot only does Wharton achieve an innovative, brave and systematic re-analysis in coherence with the cognitive theoretic pragmatic paradigm he endorses, but also he raises many intriguing and stimulating questions, and suggests new and challenging directions for future work which will spark off much discussion and research.
(Padilla Cruz, M. (2010) Lodz Papers in Pragmatics,Vol. 5, No. 9: 293-305)
Meaning in face-to-face interaction is about more than words. This observation, which of course has been at the center of gesture studies since its beginnings, is still peripheral in some disciplinary circles. In the subfield of Gricean pragmatics, so-called “non-verbal” aspects of meaning have never been a focal concern, and it’s the aim of Tim Wharton’s book Pragmatics and Non-Verbal Communication to change that. It’s a worthwhile project… Scholars interested in the field of pragmatics will find their attention turned to a number of previously marginal phenomena; scholars interested in multimodal interaction will find central phenomena of interest given a fresh treatment.
(Cooperrider, K. (2011) Gesture, Vol 11, No. 1: 81-88)
His journal articles have received over 500 citations in journals/books straddling a range of disciplines, reflecting the cross-disciplinary nature of his work. A few recent examples include:
Full citation details can be found on Dr Wharton’s Google scholar page.
As well as his published work, Dr Wharton is in demand as a conference/seminar speaker. Below is a selected list of recent invited talks he has given:
Dr Wharton is Deputy Director of the renowned UCL Summer Course in English Phonetics for students, teachers and academics alike. As well as his Deputy-Directorial duties, he lectures and teaches seminars on the course.
Dr Wharton reviews regularly for a variety of journals, including: Journal of Pragmatics, Lingua, Pragmatics & Cognition, Dialectica,Canadian Journal of Philosophy.