I originally trained as a linguist (even doing a spot of generative grammar!) and so my interest in language in the most "basic" sense will presumably never disappear. I am oddly attracted to the idea of putting things into little, neatly defined, boxes, which I think might explain my attraction to grammar and typology, but I realized very early on that the way in which an utterance is formed was only really interesting to me if I could show that it was of relevance for the way real people actually use different forms.
My most recent work on action formation has focused on 'granularity', i.e. the level of linguistic detail that can be consequential for action. My work with Jakob Steensig on the use of particles in responses to requests and in imperatives is clearly showing that a small detail such as what particle is used can influence action - the same syntactic structure can be used, for instance to request, plead, or advice, depending on what particle is used and where in the structure it is placed. I am currently exploring similar issues in American English with Barbara Fox. We have been looking at a large collection of requests in a shoe repair shop and are finding that seemingly irrelevant variation at the level of lexis and morphology are action-consequential.
Heinemann, T. & Steensig, J. Three imperative action formats in Danish talk-in-interaction: The case of imperative + modal particles bare and lige.
Fox, B. & Heinemann, T. forth. Telescoping responses to requests: unpacking progressivity.