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Tense in anamnesis (TEA). Preferences, precision and communicative strategies used by Polish doctors in L2 Norwegian

The project investigates the use of grammatical tenses in Norwegian spoken by Polish doctors in Norwegian healthcare. The data used in TEA are recordings of authentic interactions, transcribed and used for linguistic analyses. This postdoctoral project is a sub-project of NorPol.

Profile picture of Oliwia. She wears a beige shirt and smiles.

Oliwia Szymanska (Bilde: UiO/Nadia Frantsen)

About the project

This project looks at how Polish physicians communicate and interact with patients in their L2 Norwegian and what lexical and structural measures they employ to secure mutual understanding. The data come from a study conducted at several outpatient clinics across Norway, where consultations within special health care were video-recorded. All participants have medical diploma and experience from their home-country and had completed an intensive language training in Norwegian before moving to Norway.

The aim of the study is to identify recurring patterns, pinpoint areas especially prone to difficulties or misunderstandings, and analyse the most common solutions for achieving effective communication. The theoretical background for the project draws on the theory of the cross-linguistic influence, where conceptual transfer (Jarvis & Pavlenko 2008, Jarvis 2010, 2012) is given a special attention. The analyses will be conducted in a qualitative framework.

Working Hypotheses

  • When using tenses in L2 Norwegian, doctors with L1 Polish rely on (transfer) tense distribution patterns from their first language.
  • To cope with potential misunderstandings owing to the inapt distribution, doctors compensate by applying different communication strategies, e.g. extended use of lexical items (e.g. time adverbs), describing the course of events or presenting events in linear way.


Jarvis, S. 2010. Comparison-based and detection-based approaches to transfer research. L. Roberts, M. Howard, M. Ó Laoire and D. Singleton (eds) EUROSLA Yearbook 10 (pp. 169–192). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Jarvis, S. 2012. The detection-based approach: An overview. S. Jarvis and S.A. Crossley (eds) Approaching Language Transfer Through Text Classification: Explorations in the Detection-based Approach (pp. 1–33). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Jarvis, S. and Pavlenko, A. 2008. Crosslinguistic Influence in Language and Cognition. New York and London: Routledge.



Published Dec. 29, 2021 11:50 AM - Last modified Dec. 30, 2021 12:54 PM