This volume contains 37 papers selected from the proceedings of the XXXIst Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea held at the University of St Andrews, Scotland in 1998. The general theme of the conference was 'langue and parole in synchronic and diachronic perspective', a theme chosen for its enduring importance and one which allowed speakers to reflect on the theoretical notions of langue and parole, to use them in an actual analysis or to present material beyond these core ideas. The breadth of papers published here and the eminence of many of the contributors reflects the fruitfulness of this approach.
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.