Getting others to share goods in Polish and Norwegian: Material and moral anchors for request conventions

Paweł Urbanik 1
  • 1 University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Paweł Urbanik
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • Email
  • Further information
  • Paweł Urbanik is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan, University of Oslo. His areas of research are Interactional Linguistics, Forensic Linguistics, Conversation Analysis, Pragmatics, and Polish and Norwegian grammar.
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar

Abstract

The paper examines the formation of requests for sharing goods in Polish and Norwegian by focusing on the use of imperatives and Can I-interrogatives in informal settings. The study first identifies the contextual, material and embodied configurations that contribute to the selection of constructions. Then, it explores the moral roots of the divergent use of formats in similar configurations across the two languages. Employing a multimodal interactional-linguistic approach to comparable conversational data from Polish and Norwegian reality show corpora, the study demonstrates that the selection of format relies on the object’s control status and the requester’s orientation to contingencies. Imperatives are selected when the object is controlled by the requestee and no contingencies are recognized. Can I-interrogatives mark orientation to contingencies and have two realization patterns: Depending on whether the object is controlled by the requestee or not, they are used as transfer or permission requests, respectively. The study also reveals cultural differences in the selection of imperatives and transfer interrogatives across the languages. The Polish participants most often treated sharing as the requestee’s social obligation, using imperatives in the environments in which their Norwegian counterparts chose transfer interrogatives and marked that the requestee’s readiness to share was not taken for granted.

  • Blum-Kulka, Shoshana, Juliane House & Gabriele Kasper. 1989. Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies. Norwood: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

  • Bolden, Galina. 2017. Requests for here-and-now actions in Russian conversation. In Marja-Leena Sorjonen, Liisa Raevaara & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Imperative turns at talk: The design of directives in action, 175–211. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Brownell, Celia A., Stephanie S. Iesue, Sara R. Nichols & Margarita Svetlova. 2013. Mine or yours? Development of sharing in toddlers in relation to ownership understanding. Child Development 84(3). 906–920.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Brownell, Celia A., Margarita Svetlova & Sara Nichols. 2009. To share or not to share: When do toddlers respond to mother’s needs? Infancy 14(1). 117–130.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Bruner, Jerome, Carolyn Roy & Nancy Ratner. 1982. The beginnings of request. In Keith E. Nelson (ed.), Children’s language: Volume 3, 91–138. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth & Margret Selting. 2018. Interactional linguistics: Studying language in social interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Craven, Alexandra & Jonathan Potter. 2010. Directives: Entitlement and contingency in action. Discourse Studies 12(4). 419–442.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Dixon, Sally. 2015. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!: Objects requests, ownership and entitlement in a children’s play session. Journal of Pragmatics 82. 39–51.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Drew, Paul & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.). 2014a. Requesting in social interaction. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Drew, Paul & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen. 2014b. Requesting – from speech act to recruitment. In Paul Drew & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Requesting in social interaction, 1–34. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Enfield, Nick J. 2013. Relationship thinking: Agency, enchrony, and human sociality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Enfield, Nick J. 2017. Distribution of agency. In Nick J. Enfield & Paul Kockelman (eds.), Distributed agency, 9–14. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Ervin-Tripp, Susan & David Gordon. 1986. The development of requests. In Richard L. Schiefelbusch (ed.), Communicative competence: Acquisition and intervention, 61–95. Beverly Hills: College Hills Press.

  • Etelämäki, Marja & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen. 2017. In the face of resistance: A Finnish practice for insisting on imperatively formatted directives. In Marja-Leena Sorjonen, Liisa Raevaara & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Imperative turns at talk: The design of directives in action, 215–240. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Faarlund, Jan Terje. 1985. Imperative and control. First person imperatives in Norwegian. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 8. 149–160.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Fehr, Ernst, Helen Bernhard & Bettina Rockenbach. 2008. Egalitarianism in young children. Nature 454. 1079–1084.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Fox, Barbara & Trine Heinemann. 2016. Rethinking format: An examination of requests. Language in Society 45(4). 499–531.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Fox, Barbara & Trine Heinemann. 2017. Issues in action formation: Requests and the problem with x. Open Linguistics 3. 31–64.

  • Goffman, Erving. 1979. Footing. Semiotica 25(1–2). 1–30.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Gordon, David & Susan Ervin-Tripp. 1984. The structure of children’s requests. In Richard L. Schiefelbusch & Joanne Pickar (eds.), The acquisition of communicative competence, 295–322. Baltimore: University Park Press.

  • Gurven, Michael. 2004. To give and to give not: The behavioral ecology of human food transfers. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27. 543–583.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Gurven, Michael & Adrian V. Jaeggi. 2015. Food sharing. In Robert Scott & Stephan Kosslyn (eds.), Emerging trends in the social and behavioral sciences: An interdisciplinary, searchable, and linkable resource, John Willey & Sons. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0133 (accessed 28 July 2019).).

  • Hay, Dale F. 1979. Cooperative interactions and sharing between very young children and their parents. Developmental Psychology 15(6). 647–653.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Hay, Dale F. & Kaye V. Cook. 2007. The transformation of prosocial behavior from infancy to childhood. In Celia A. Brownell & Claire B. Kopp (eds.), Socioemotional development in the toddler years: Transitions & transformations, 100–131. New York: Guilford Press.

  • Hepburn, Alexa & Galina B. Bolden. 2013. The conversation analytic approach to transcription. In Jack Sidnell & Tanya Stivers (eds.), The handbook of conversation analysis, 57–76. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Holler, Judith & Stephen C. Levinson. 2019. Multimodal language processing in human communication. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 23(8). 639–652.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • House, Bailey R., Joan B. Silk, Joseph Henrich, H. Clark Barrett, Brooke A. Scelza, Adam H. Boyette, Barry S. Hewlett, Richard McElreath & Stephen Laurence. 2013. Ontogeny of prosocial behavior across diverse societies. PNAS 110(36). 14586–14591.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Hutchins, Edwin. 2005. Material anchors for conceptual blends. Journal of Pragmatics 37. 1555–1577.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Johannessen, Janne Bondi. 2016. Prescriptive infinitives in the modern North Germanic languages: An ancient phenomenon in child-directed speech. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 39(3). 231–276.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Kaplan, Hillard & Kim Hill. 1985. Food sharing among ache foragers: Test of explanatory hypotheses. Current Anthropology 26(2). 223–239.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Levinson, Stephen C. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Levinson, Stephen C. 2013. Action Formation and Ascription. In Jack Sindell & Tanya Stivers (eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 103–130. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Lindström, Anna. 2005. Language as social action: A study of how senior citizens request assistance with practical tasks in the Swedish home help service. In Auli Hakulinen & Margret Selting (eds.), Syntax and lexis in conversation: Studies on the use of linguistic resources in talk-in-interaction, 209–230. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Mondada, Lorenza. 2014. The local constitution of multimodal resources for social interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 65. 137–156.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Mondada, Lorenza. 2016. Conventions for multimodal transcription. https://franzoesistik.philhist.unibas.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/franzoesistik/mondada_multimodal_conventions.pdf (accessed 07 April 2019).

  • Mondada, Lorenza. 2017. Precision timing and timed embeddedness of imperatives in embodied courses of action. Examples of French. In Marja-Leena Sorjonen, Liisa Raevaara & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Imperative turns at talk: The design of directives in action, 65–101. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Moravcsik, Julius M. 2004. The ties that bind. Budapest & New York: Central European University Press.

  • Neville, Maurice, Pentti Haddington, Trine Heinemann & Mirka Rauniomaa. 2014. Interacting with objects: Language, materiality, and social activity. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Jon Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Ogiermann, Eva. 2009. Politeness and in-directness across cultures: A comparison of English, German, Polish and Russian requests. Journal of Politeness Research 5. 189–216.

  • Ogiermann, Eva. 2015. Direct off-record requests? – ‘Hinting’ in family interactions. Journal of Pragmatics 86. 31–35.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Rossano, Federico & Katja Liebal. 2014. “Requests” and “offers” in orangutans and human infants. In Paul Drew & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Requesting in social interaction, 335–363. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Rossi, Giovanni. 2012. Bilateral and unilateral requests: The use of imperatives and mi X? Interrogatives in Italian. Discourse Processes 49(5). 426–458.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Rossi, Giovanni. 2015. Responding to pre-requests: The organization of hai x ‘do you have’ sequences in Italian. Journal of Pragmatics 82. 5–22.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Rossi, Giovanni & Jörg Zinken. 2017. Social agency and grammar. In Nick J. Enfield & Paul Kockelman (eds.), Distributed agency, 79–86. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. 2007. Sequence organization in interaction. A primer in conversation analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Schmidt, Marco F. H. & Jessica A. Sommerville. 2011. Fairness expectations and altruistic sharing in 15-month-old human infants. PLoS ONE 6(10). e23223. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023223 (accessed 28 July 2019).

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Searle, John. 1969. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. London: Cambridge University Press.

  • Sidnell, Jack & Nick J. Enfield. 2012. Language diversity and social action: A third locus of linguistic relativity. Current Anthropology 53(3). 302–333.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Silk, Joan B. & Bailey R. House. 2016. The evolution of altruistic social preferences in human groups. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371. 20150097. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2015.0097 (accessed 28 July 2019).

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Sorjonen, Marja-Leena, Liisa Raevaara & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen. 2017. Imperative turns at talk: The design of directives in action. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Takada, Akira & Tomoko Endo. 2015. Object transfer in request-accept sequence in Japanese caregiver-child interactions. Journal of Pragmatics 83. 52–66.

  • Terasaki, Alene Kiku. 2004. Pre-announcement sequences in conversation. In Gene H. Lerner (ed.), Conversation analysis: Studies from the first generation, 171–223. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

  • Tomasello, Michael. 2009. Why we cooperate. Cambridge & London: A Boston Review Book & The MIT Press.

  • Tuncer, Sylvaine & Pentti Haddington. 2019. Object transfers: An embodied resource to progress joint activities and build relative agency. Language in Society 1–27. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Urbanik, Paweł. 2017. Requests in Polish and Norwegian informal conversation: A comparative study of grammatical and pragmatic patterns. Unpublished PhD thesis. Oslo: University od Oslo, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies.

  • Urbanik, Paweł & Jan Svennevig. 2019. Managing contingencies in requests: The role of negation in Norwegian interrogative directives. Journal of Pragmatics 139. 109–125.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Warneken, Felix & Michael Tomasello. 2006. Altruistic helping in human infants and young chimpanzees. Science 311(5756). 1301–1303.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Warneken, Felix & Michael Tomasello. 2009a. Varieties of altruism in children chimpanzees. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13(9). 397–402.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Warneken, Felix & Michael Tomasello. 2009b. The roots of human altruism. British Journal of Psychology 100. 455–471.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wierzbicka, Anna. 2003. Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Wootton, Anthony. 1981. Two request forms of four year olds. Journal of Pragmatics 5. 511–523.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wootton, Anthony. 1997. Interaction and the Development of Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Yamamoto, Shinya & Masayuki Tanaka. 2009. How did altruism and reciprocity evolve in humans? Perspectives from experiments on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Interaction Studies 20(2). 150–182.

  • Zinken, Jörg. 2015. Contingent control over shared goods. ‘Can I have x’ requests in British English informal interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 82. 23–38.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Zinken, Jörg. 2016. Requesting responsibility: The morality of grammar in Polish and English family interaction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Zinken, Jörg & Eva Ogiermann. 2013. Responsibility and action: Invariants and diversity in requests for objects in British English and polish interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction 46(3). 256–276.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

Search