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Requesting ResponsibilityThe Morality of Grammar in Polish and English Family Interaction$
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Jorg Zinken

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210724

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210724.001.0001

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Building Occasions for Another’s Initiative

Building Occasions for Another’s Initiative

The Impersonal Deontic Declarative Trzeba x (“It is Necessary to x”)

(p.93) 6 Building Occasions for Another’s Initiative
Requesting Responsibility

Jörg Zinken

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the use of a declarative turn format built with an impersonal verb expressing deontic modality: trzeba x (“it is necessary to x”). The sequential analysis explores contexts and consequences of this format as a practice for REQUESTING. Trzeba x turns formulate an action as an objective necessity, and create an environment in which another can show initiative in dealing with the relevant work. Evidence comes from the multimodal design of trzeba x moves, the shape of aligning responses, and a comparison with interrogative and imperative REQUEST formats. The usage properties of trzeba x are further examined through comparisons with subjective modal turns in Polish (musimy x, “we must x”) and in English (we need x) as used in directing here-and-now actions. Whereas personalized modals convey that they are concerned with the organization of here and now contingencies, trzeba claims objective facts to mobilize and rationalize action.

Keywords:   deontic modality, modal verbs, impersonal verbs, collectivity, account, necessity, declarative sentence type, initiative, response mobilization, objectivity

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