Chapter 6

Code-switching as indexical of social negotiations

CAROL MYERS-SCOTTON

THIS CHAPTER PROVIDES AN overall explanation of code-switching, using primarily an East African data base. A number of previous studies have dealt with code-switching in East African contexts. Their emphasis, however, has been different (Abdulaziz-Mkilifi, 1972; Whiteley, 1974; Abdulaziz, 1982; Scotton, 1982), or their explanations have not been comprehensive (Parkin, 1974; Scotton, 1976; Scotton and Ury, 1977). Some of these studies are mentioned in the synthesis given here.

The model developed here focuses on social consequences as motivating linguistic code choices and how speakers use conversational implicatures to arrive at the intended consequences. In this sense, it extends the markedness model of Scotton (1983), proposed to explain code choice in general, but its focus is more specific. The premise of Scotton (1983) is that in addition to relying on a cooperative principle, its associated maxims, and the conversational implicatures which they generate in understanding the content of what is said (Grice, 1975), speakers use a complementary negotiation principle to arrive at the relational import of a conversation. The negotiation principle directs the speaker to 'choose the form of your conversational contribution such that it symbolizes the set of rights and obligations which you wish to be in force between speaker and addressee for the current exchange' (Scotton, 1983:116). A set of maxims referring to the choice of one linguistic variety rather than another relates to this principle, and the speaker's following or flouting the maxims generates implicatures about proposed interpersonal relationships.

While conveying referential information is often the overt purpose of conversation, all talk is also always a negotiation of rights and obligations between speaker and addressee. Referential content-what the conversation is about-

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