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Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Divjak, Dagmar

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Volume 26, Issue 1


Cognitive grammar, speech acts, and interpersonal dynamics: A study of two directive constructions in Polish

Agata Kochańska
Published Online: 2014-12-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2014-0090


The present study offers an analysis of two directive constructions in Polish: the V2sg.imp.imperf + midat ‘me’ construction and the (Proszę ‘I request’) + Vinf construction. The two constructions are problematic for speech act theory in that they may be used in a range of different contexts, where they convey different illocutionary forces and produce different interpersonal effects. Hence, it remains unclear how, or indeed whether at all, the illocutionary force and the interpersonal effects of utterances employing the two constructions may be tied to their respective grammatical make-ups. This, in turn, raises two related questions: (i) what motivates the use of each construction in specific contexts? and (ii) how can hearers interpret the construction's specific import in specific interactive circumstances?

The claim made in this study is that each construction imposes a particular schematic construal upon the conceived scene, including also ground elements, such as the speaker, the hearer, and their interactive circumstances. The conventional schematic meaning of each construction is motivated by the meanings of its components. Being schematic, the construal conventionally associated with each construction is compatible with a whole range of specific actual interactive circumstances. However, in each specific usage event the intended specific import of the construction may easily be interpreted, given the interactive and interpersonal information saliently present in the context.

Keywords: speech acts; directives; cognitive grammar; illocutionary force; interpersonal dynamics

About the article

Received: 2013-02-21

Revised: 2014-07-16

Accepted: 2014-07-20

Published Online: 2014-12-19

Published in Print: 2015-02-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 26, Issue 1, Pages 61–94, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2014-0090.

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