Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

Dr. Jörg Zinken

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Porträt Jörg Zinken

I have a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Bielefeld, which I completed in 2002. Since then, I have been working as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. I have also been a Fellow at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and the University of California at Los Angeles. We have three young children who are now getting thoroughly acquainted with Lake Constance.

Research Interests

My research was initially (in my PhD days) concerned with patterns of metaphor use across languages (Zinken, 2007). An interest in how people do things through language in actual situations and a cross-linguistic perspective still characterise my work. I have been doing research on how grammatical structures constrain and shape action in everyday interaction (Zinken & Ogiermann, 2011); on how writing style helps predict the outcome of psychotherapy (Zinken et al. 2011; 2010); and on how spatial concepts are or are not recruited for communication about time in different cultural settings (Richmond et al., in press; Sinha et al., 2011; Zinken, 2010).
The focus of my current work is on developing a new approach to the study of the relationship between grammatical diversity and cultural diversity (Zinken, 2012; Zinken & Ogiermann, 2011). Using methods from Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics, I examine how grammatical practices in different languages are involved in different forms of social life. In the long run, I hope that this leads us to a comparative science of social action. This work has been supported through grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, and, most recently, the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz.

Position within the Center

Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz (September 2012–August 2013)

Research project “Linguistic relativity of situated action”

Selected Publications

Zinken, J. (in press). Late cooperation. The moral meaning of the wez-V2 (take-V2) double imperative in Polish. In N. Thielemann (ed.), Approaches to slavic interaction. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Richmond, J, Wilson, C. J., & Zinken, J. (in press). A feeling for the future: How does agency in time metaphors relate to feelings? European Journal of Social Psychology.

Zinken, J. (2012). Situated action is the primary locus of linguistic relativity [Comment on Sidnell & Enfield: Language diversity and social action. A third locus of linguistic relativity]. Current Anthropology, 53(3), 326-327.

Zinken, J. & Ogiermann, E. (2011). How to propose an action as an objective necessity. The case of Polish trzeba x (‘one needs to x’). Research on Language and Social Interaction, 44(3), 263-287.

Zinken, J., Blakemore, C., Michałowska, K., Butler, L., & Skinner, T. (2011). Narrating psychological distress: Associations between cross-clausal integration and mental health difficulties. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32, 263–274.

Sinha, C., da Silva Sinha, V., Zinken, J., & Sampaio, W. (2011). When time is not space: The social and linguistic construction of time intervals and temporal event relations in an Amazonian culture. Language and Cognition, 3(1), 137-169.

Zinken, J. (2010). Temporal frames of reference. In P. Chilton & V. Evans (Eds.), Language, cognition, and space (pp. 479-498). London: Equinox.

Zinken, J., Zinken, K., Wilson, J. C., Butler, L., & Skinner, T. (2010). Analysis of syntax and word use to predict successful participation in guided self-help for anxiety and depression. Psychiatry Research.

Zinken, J. (2008). The metaphor of ‘linguistic relativity’. History & Philosophy of Psychology, 10(2), 1-10.

Zinken, J. (2007). Discourse metaphors: The link between figurative language and habitual analogies. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(3), 443-464.