PD Dr. Jörg Zinken

Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache
- Standort Augustacarree -
Augustaanlage 32
D-68165 Mannheim

Büro: AC/03

zinken (at)

Tel.: +49 621 / 1581 – 475
Fax: +49 621 / 1581 – 200



PD Dr. Jörg Zinken


Researcher in the Pragmatics Department

'Privatdozent' at the University of Heidelberg


Project lead "Pragmatics and language diversity" and "Norms, rules and morality across languages (NoRM-aL)"

Researcher in the project "The interactive constitution of meaning", sub-project "Interpretations"

Qualifications and Positions

  • 2018 'Habilitation' at the University of Hamburg
  • Since October 2014, Researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the German Language
  • 2013 Reader in Language and Communication, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth
  • 2003 Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth
  • 2002 Ph.D. in General Linguistics, Universität Bielefeld

Research Interests

  • Conversation Analysis
  • Social interaction in a comparative and typological perspective
  • Construction of comparable video corpora of informal interaction in diverse languages
  • Analysis of situated modal meanings (permission, possibility, necessity)
  • Reasons for syntactic complexity in language use
  • A "relational" reformulation of linguistic relativity
  • Action categories and continuities
  • 'Interpretation' and understanding social action

Recent publications

  • Zinken, J. (2020). The Comparative Study of Social Action: What You Must and What You Can Do to Align with a Prior Speaker. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 53(4), pp. 443-462.

  • Zinken, J. (2020). Recruiting assistance and collaboration in Polish. In S. Floyd, Simeon, G. Rossi & N. J. Enfield (Eds.), Getting others to do things. A pragmatic typology of recruitments (pp. 281-324). Berlin: Language Science Press (Studies in Diversity Linguistics 31) DOI:

  • Zinken, J., Rossi, G., Reddy, V. (2020). Doing more than expected. Thanking recognizes another’s agency in providing assistance. In C. Taleghani-Nikazm, E. Betz & P. Golato (Eds.), Mobilizing Others. Grammar and lexis within larger activities. (= Studies in language and social interaction 33) (pp. 253-278). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins.

  • Zinken, J. & Costall, A. (2019). Diversity and Invariance in Human Social Action. Karl Duncker's “Situational Meanings” and the Schema of Linguistic Relativism. Paradigmi, 37(3), 491-506.

  • Floyd, S., Rossi, G., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Dingemanse, M., Kendrick, K. H., Zinken, J., &  Enfield, N. J. (2018). Universals and cultural diversity in the expression of gratitude. Royal Society Open Science, 5: 180391. PDF
  • Zinken, J. & Reddy, V. (2018). The practice of everyday life provides supporters and inviters of morally responsible agency. Invited commentary on John M. Doris, "Précis of Talking to Our Selves: Reflection, Ignorance, and Agency", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41, p. 53-54.
  • Zinken, J. & Deppermann, A. (2017). A cline of visible commitment in the situated design of imperative turns. Evidence from German and Polish. In M.-L. Sorjonen, L. Raevaara, & E. Couper-Kuhlen (Eds.), 'Imperative Turns at Talk. The design of directives in action' (pp. 27-63). Amsterdam, NJ: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Rossi, G. & Zinken, J. (2017). Social agency and grammar. In N. J. Enfield & P. Kockelman (Eds.), Distributed Agency (pp. 79-86). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Rossi, G. & Zinken, J. (2016). Grammar and social agency. The pragmatics of impersonal deontic statements. Language, 92(4), e296-e325.