The goal of this study is to describe and explain codeswitching, the accessing of multiple languages within the same sentence. The focus, therefore, will be on intrasentential codeswitching data and the principles behind their production.
The use of both the terms code and switching is traditional. Code is used because it is a relatively neutral term for linguistic varieties at any level of structural differentiation. Its use does not imply I am satisfied with equating code with all that is communicated when speakers interact. It will turn out that switching is something of a misnomer, since only one aspect of codeswitching will be characterized as actually involving the switching of the codes involved, and even this one aspect is better referred to as a switching of the underlying psycholinguistic procedures which yield the surface structures. I prefer to write codeswitching as one word, although many writers on the subject hyphenate the term. Others prefer the term code-mixing; and some differentiate codeswitching and code-mixing. This will be discussed in Chapter 1.
Most linguists who do not study codeswitching think of it as strictly in the domain of sociolinguistics. Most definitely, codeswitching has its sociolinguistic aspects; elsewhere I myself have written extensively on the social uses of codeswitching. However, many of the current studies of codeswitching are more appropriately also called studies in grammatical theory. This volume fits into this category: it approaches codeswitching as a product of the 'psycholinguistic stress' of two linguistic systems interacting. Looked at this way, codeswitching is especially well positioned to reveal the internal operations of language. Still, all codeswitching studies retain a social aspect because their basis is very empirical: at their best, they use naturally occurring performance data as their database.
The book claims to offer a comprehensive treatment of the morphosyntactic constraints on intrasentential codeswitching. The major structural adjustments which distinguish codeswitched discourse from monolingual discourse in the languages involved are at the morphosyntactic level. While phonological aspects of codeswitching also deserve attention, they will not be considered here.