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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up to the end of April 2014. Records will no longer be updated after this date.

Sharing responsibility across languages and cultures: English, Polish, and mixed couples dealing with everyday chores

  • Start date: 05 January 2009
  • End date: 04 January 2010

Does the particular language somebody speaks make a difference for the way they lead their life? The project addresses this question in a new way, by studying how linguistic activities are accomplished in two different languages: English and Polish. Specifically, it focuses on the sharing of responsibilities for everyday chores. Because some of the relevant verbs in Polish are not marked for person, subjectivity in talking about daily chores is often left unmentioned in Polish. The following could be a fragment of a typical Polish conversation, translated literally: “One still has to send the letter” / “Oh well, then itself will take and send later”. From an English perspective, the 'job' of agreeing "who does what" has not been done here. It might be that in Polish the point of conversation about daily chores often is not to agree "who does what", but to remind of a shared responsibility. Eighteen couples participating in this study will video-tape their breakfast conversations. Sequences in the conversation in which daily chores are addressed will be analysed using the methods of Conversation Analysis. We will also interview couples to find out more about the values which inhere in a particular way of sharing responsibilities.