Abstract Accepted for Presentation at "MuLAcq2023"

2022-10-30 13:52

Robert's abstract Entrenchment and Conventionalization in Language Contact Scenarios has been accepted for presentation at the International Conference on Multilingualism and Language Acquisition (MuLAcq2023) to be held at University of Helsinki, March 9–10, 2023. The paper will present results from Robert's ongoing research project New Speakers of Minority Languages: Proficiency, Variation and Change. Here's the abstract:

According to Schmid’s recent Entrenchment-Conventionalization (EC) model (Schmid 2015, 2020), language use is at the epicenter of a set of processes that account for both the dynamicity in an individual’s linguistic competence (E) and shared knowledge of form-meaning associations and patterns that constitute “grammar” (C). Application of such a model allows us to better understand the social and cognitive dimensions of synchronic variation and the role variation plays in language change. In this paper, we present case studies from two languages – Kashubian (csb, West Slavic) and Wymysorys (wym, West Germanic) – both of which can be considered endangerd autochtonous minority languages spoken in Poland. Both languages are used by relatively high proportions of “New Speakers”, essentially L2 learners within these vulnerable speech communities (O’Rourke, Pujolar, and Ramallo 2015). In the first part of the talk, we will describe the semi-experimental procedures used to gather data among New Speakers along with the analytical steps that allow us to measure Entrenchment of csb/wym per speaker while identifying language features in the realm of morphosyntax (in the realms of argument structure and NP agreement) likely to be modeled on patterns from Polish (the dominant L1 in both cases) or arising from the process of language acquisition itself. In the second part of the talk, we explore wider corpora to determine whether these morphosyntactic features found in New Speaker varieties are modeled to and conventionalized in the wider speech communities. We conclude with a commentary on the utility of applying the EC model, both in the context of our current case studies and in the study of language contact in general, as a means to understand the relation between synchronic variation and language change on the one hand, and multilingual cognition in the individual and multilingual social behavior on the other.


O’Rourke, Bernadette, Joan Pujolar, and Fernando Ramallo. 2015. “New speakers of minority languages: the challenging opportunity – Foreword”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2015 (231): 1–20.

Schmid, Hans-Jörg. 2015. “A blueprint of the Entrenchment-and-Conventionalization Model”. Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association 3 (1): 3–26.

— . 2020. The dynamics of the linguistic system: usage, conventionalization, and entrenchment. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

More info and slides to come in a subsequent post...