The Entrenchment-and-Conventionalization Model. Theory and application

Culture and languages

Guest lecture by Hans-Jörg Schmid, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Everyone’s warmly welcome to participate in this event organised by the Linguistic Forum!

10 Oct 2023
15:15 - 17:00
Room J411, Humanisten, Renströmsgatan 6
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The Linguistic

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Seminar language: English
Department of Languages and Literatures


The Entrenchment-and-Conventionalization Model is designed as a socio-cognitive dynamic complex-adaptive model of how language works (Schmid 2015, 2016, 2020). The overarching goal of the model is to explain how three components interact to shape linguistic structure, variation and change:

  • the use of language in situated usage events,
  • social processes taking place in speech communities,
  • and cognitive processes taking place in the minds of individuals.

The basic idea of how this interaction works is that usage mediates between two feedback loops: the conventionalization feedback loop, which creates and sustains linguistic conventions in speech communities, on the one hand, and the entrenchment feedback loop, which creates and sustains patterns of associations in the minds of speakers, on the other. Linguistic structure, variation and change are conceptualized as being emergent in the sense that they are continuously constituted and controlled by this self-reinforcing double feedback system (plus a range of forces acting upon its components).

In my talk I will present the outlines of this model and provide several case studies that are intended to showcase how the model can be applied in empirical studies.


Schmid, H.-J. (2015). "A blueprint of the Entrenchment-and-Conventionalization Model." Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association 3(1): 3-25.

Schmid, H.-J. (2016). "Why cognitive linguistics must embrace the social and pragmatic dimensions of language and how it could do so more seriously." Cognitive Linguistics 27(4): 543-557.

Schmid, H.-J. (2020). The dynamics of the linguistic system. Usage, conventionalization, and entrenchment. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

The Linguistic Forum

The Linguistic Forum is an informal meeting place for all linguists working or studying at the Faculty of Humanities. The Forum is a new faculty-wide seminar series that has financial support from the Faculty. Our aim is to promote the sharing of knowledge and collaborations between the Faculty’s linguists.

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