Languaging Without Languages

Beyond metro-, multi-, poly-, pluri- and translanguaging


Drawing on usage-based theory, neurocognition, and complex systems, Languaging Beyond Languages elaborates an elegant model accommodating accumulated insights into human language even as it frees linguistics from its two-thousand-year-old, ideological attachment to reified grammatical systems. Idiolects are redefined as continually emergent collections of context specific, probabilistic memories entrenched as a result of domain-general cognitive processes that create and consolidate linguistic experience. Also continually emergent, conventionalization and vernacularization operate across individuals producing the illusion of shared grammatical systems. Conventionalization results from the emergence of parallel expectations for the use of linguistic elements organized into syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships. In parallel, vernacularization indexes linguistic forms to sociocultural identities and stances. Evidence implying entrenchment and conventionalization is provided in asymmetrical frequency distributions.
Restricted Access


EUR €80.00USD $96.00

Biographical Note

Robin Sabino, Ph.D. Univeristy of Pennsylvania (1990), is a Professor of English at the Auburn University. She has published on linguistic variation, contact and change, including Language Contact in the Danish West Indies: Giving Jack his Jacket (Brill, 2012).

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: The Languages Ideology
 0 Ideology
 1 Discourse, Ideographs, and the Languages Ideology
 2 Ongoing Signs of Discontent
 3 A Plausible Alternative

1 The Staying Power of an Illusion
 1.0 Introduction
 1.1 A History of the Languages Ideology
 1.2 The Persistent Power of False Assumptions
 1.3 Dissenting Voices
 1.4 Languaging, Not Languages
 1.5 Summary

2 Entrenchment and the Linguistic Individual
 2.0 Introduction
 2.1 The Languaging Individual
 2.2 Usage-based Theory and Emergent Systems
 2.3 Summary

3 Conventionalization and the Illusion of Shared Grammar
 3.0 Introduction
 3.1 Similarities between Entrenchment and Conventionalization
 3.2 Conventionalization as a Complex Emergent System: Lexical Items
 3.3 Conventionalization as a Complex Emergent System: Open Slots in Constructions
 3.4 The Role of Conventionalization in Linguistic Change
 3.5 Summary

4 Vernacularization
 4.0 Introduction
 4.1 Indexes, and Indexing
 4.2 Intersections: Vernacularization, Conventionalization, and the Languages Ideology
 4.3 Summary

5 Conclusion
 5.0 Introduction
 5.1 Repeated Calls to Action, Repeated Ideological Reenactment
 5.2 Liberating Insights Entrapped by the Languages Ideology
 5.3 Changing the Discourse

Appendix I


Author Index

Subject Index


Theoretical/applied linguists (students and professional) interested in language ideology, linguistic theory, linguistic contact, variation, and change, bi/multilingualism, language acquisition, language loss and TESOL and bilingual educators.