Duelling Languages: Grammatical Structure in Codeswitching

By Carol Myers-Scotton | Go to book overview
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While most codeswitching research supports the predictions of the Matrix Language Frame model (hereafter MLF model) as it appeared in Duelling Languages (hereafter DL), the DL manuscript was written in 1991- 92; thus, some comments on new developments in the model and on some intervening codeswitching research seem in order in 1997. Happily, the model's discussion in DL often even presages new developments; still, some statements do not match current thinking. In addition, parts of the model have been misinterpreted. The goal of this 'Afterword' is to bring the model up to date, to correct misstatements, and to clear up misunderstandings.1

The Competence versus Production Issue

Some researchers who would distinguish the MLF model from competing models to characterize constraints on codeswitching (hereafter CS) refer to the MLF model as a production-based model, while labelling a model which they prefer (often their own model) as competence-based. The curious result is that they thereby imply that language production is unrelated to linguistic competence. Surely any trained linguist cannot mean this. Certainly, to categorize the MLF model only as a production model is a red herring drawn across its profile. True, the model is introduced in DL as 'a production-based model' (p. 6). This early characterization was intended to show links between and evidence for underlying structure from psycholinguistic research on language production and what linguists were beginning to observe in large corpora of naturally-occurring CS data. Yet, the complete sentence which 'production-based model' comes from has been largely ignored. In full, the sentence characterizing the MLF model reads: 'It is a production-based model which sees CS constraints as

I gratefully acknowledge NSF grant SBR 9319780 (Carol Myers-Scotton and Janice L. Jake principal investigators) which has enabled us to conduct extensive field work on CS in a number of language pairs. I thank Janice Jake for her helpful comments on this Afterword.


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