Academic journal article Suvremena Lingvistika

Psycholinguistic, Metalinguistic and Socio-Psychological Accounts of Code-Switching: A Comparative Analysis of Their Incidence in a Large Croatian-English sample/Psiholingvisticke, Metalingvisticke I Sociopsiholoske Motivacije Za Prebacivanje Kodova: Komparativna Analiza Njihove Ucestalosti U Govoru Australaca Hrvatskog Podrijetla

Academic journal article Suvremena Lingvistika

Psycholinguistic, Metalinguistic and Socio-Psychological Accounts of Code-Switching: A Comparative Analysis of Their Incidence in a Large Croatian-English sample/Psiholingvisticke, Metalingvisticke I Sociopsiholoske Motivacije Za Prebacivanje Kodova: Komparativna Analiza Njihove Ucestalosti U Govoru Australaca Hrvatskog Podrijetla

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Uriel Weinreich's contention that "[t]he ideal bilingual switches from one language to the other according to appropriate changes in the speech situation (interlocutors, topics, etc.), but not in an unchanged speech situation and certainly not within a single sentence" remained unchallenged for a short time only (1953, p. 73. Round brackets his). Since this assertion, models based on specific data sets and particular perspectives have been developed to account for why code-switching can and does occur. These are briefly discussed in section 2.0 of this paper. The third section introduces the data sample of 100 recorded interviews with Croatian-English bilinguals whose speech is predominantly Croatian. In the following sections, approaches which examine psycholinguistic, metalinguistic and socio-psychological features are presented consecutively. This paper examines the theoretical basis and explanatory power of each approach and applies them to this large, quantitative sample. These approaches have customarily been applied to smaller, qualitative samples: this paper seeks to test their amenability to a large corpus. This paper seeks to demonstrate which models that account for the incidence of code-switching have explanatory power in relation to a large number of code-switches. Based on a large sample, this paper seeks to provide an answer to the question: which of the following features--psycholinguistic, metalinguistic and socio-psychological --are most frequently located in speech containing code-switching?

2. Code--switching and accounts for its incidence

While the bulk of studies that examine code-switching focus on its grammatical and structural features, research in contact linguistics has periodically also focussed on speakers' apparent motivations for language alternation. Not long after Weinreich's (1953) contention, studies by Clyne (1967) and Gumperz (1976, 1982) document mid-sentence code-switching and attempt to offer explanations for its incidence. In Clyne's German-English and Dutch-English corpora, code-switching frequently occurs due to the (momentary) psycholinguistic state of speakers' (in-) ability to distinguish or select words from their own discrete or combined mental lexica when accessing or retrieving homophonic items, or those words with ambivalent membership. Psycho-linguistically-focussed accounts of code-switching are of relevance in bilingual situations involving typologically closely-related languages and/or where storage of items is likely to be shared rather than separated in speakers' lexica. 'Triggered' code-switching of this type is located and discussed in further studies on code-switching (eg. Zentella, 1997, Gregor, 2003).

Clyne's concept of 'triggering' as an overt catalyst for code-switching is based on his notion of how 'available' each language is for bilinguals. The notion of 'availability' has been taken up by others in discussions of how 'activated' and/or 'selected' speakers' language varieties are (Treffers-Daller, 1997, Grosjean, 2000) and the 'mode' that speakers find themselves in, due to environment. Sociolinguistic features such as interlocutor or setting are obvious and uncontroversial when bilinguals code-switch purely on the basis of specific addressee and the unmarked code usually employed with him or her. In fact, this type of code-switching may be re-termed a uni-directional shift in the language of interaction with specified interlocutor/s (cf. Fishman, 1967, Blom & Gumperz ,1972, Hlavac, 2010).

Overt activation, a psycholinguistic feature, is present in examples of code-switching which contain metalinguistic talk. In spontaneous conversation, comment from either language about choice of language or a contrastive and covert use of discourse markers from both languages (cf. Halmari, 1997) can occur which may draw attention to the discourse or "languaging" of text itself (Maschler, 1994:326). Metalinguistic talk as an overt indicator of code selection is distinguished here from examples which indicate that an informant has difficulty in the production of target speech forms. …

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