University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

How to propose an action as objectively necessary: The case of Polish Trzeba x ("One needs to x")

Zinken, J and Ogiermann, E (2011) How to propose an action as objectively necessary: The case of Polish Trzeba x ("One needs to x") Research on Language and Social Interaction, 44 (3). pp. 263-287.

Zinken & Ogiermann Trzeba prepub.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (390kB)
[img] Text (licence)
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (1kB)


The present study demonstrates that language-specific grammatical resources can afford speakers language-specific ways of organizing cooperative practical action. On the basis of video recordings of Polish families in their homes, we describe action affordances of the Polish impersonal modal declarative construction trzeba x (“one needs to x”) in the accomplishment of everyday domestic activities, such as cutting bread, bringing recalcitrant children back to the dinner table, or making phone calls. Trzeba-x turns in first position are regularly chosen by speakers to point to a possible action as an evident necessity for the furthering of some broader ongoing activity. Such turns in first position provide an environment in which recipients can enact shared responsibility by actively involving themselves in the relevant action. Treating the necessity as not restricted to any particular subject, aligning responsive actions are oriented to when the relevant action will be done, not whether it will be done. We show that such sequences are absent from English interactions by analyzing (a) grammatically similar turn formats in English interaction (“we need to x,” “the x needs to y”), and (b) similar interactive environments in English interactions. We discuss the potential of this research to point to a new avenue for researchers interested in the relationship between language diversity and diversity in human action and cognition.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages > English
Authors :
Zinken, J
Ogiermann, E
Date : 9 August 2011
DOI : 10.1080/08351813.2011.591900
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published in [Jörg Zinken & Eva Ogiermann (2011): How to Propose an Action as Objectively Necessary: The Case of Polish Trzeba x (“One Needs to x”), Research on Language & Social Interaction, 44:3, 263-287. Research on Language and Social Interaction is available online at: . To link to this article:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 03 Feb 2012 17:05
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800