Languages are subject to change, but they are also stable. The linguistic knowledge of the members of speech communities is similar, but also differs in many ways. Language use affects individual linguistic knowledge and contributes to linguistic conventionality. The present paper outlines a model of how language works that strives to do justice to these commonsensical observations. The model consists of cognitive processes and social processes and shows how these interact under the influence of usage events and a range of different types of forces.
© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston