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The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, 2nd Edition by William C. Ritchie, Tej K. Bhatia

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The Bilingual’s and Multilingual’s Repertoire: Code-Mixing, Code-Switching, and Communication Accommodation

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Code-Switching and Grammatical Theory

JEFF MACSWAN

Code-switching is the alternate use of two (or more) languages within the same utterance, as illustrated in (1) (Belazi, Rubin, and Toribio 1994).

(1) 
a This morning mi hermano y yo fuimos a comprar some milk1 This morning my brother and I went to buy some milk
b The student brought the homework para la profesora The student brought the homework for the teacher

Code-switching of the sort shown in (1), in which an alternation occurs below sentential boundaries, is known as intrasentential code-switching, whereas switching between sentences is known as intersentential code-switching. Because grammatical theory is primarily focused on relations below the sentence level, research on grammatical aspects of code-switching has focused almost exclusively on intrasentential code-switching.

The chapter begins with a discussion of early research on code-switching, and the emergence of code-switching as a field of linguistic research. We then review a number of theoretical approaches to code-switching, focusing on a discussion of the implications of current research in syntactic theory for the analysis of code-switching data. We end with some comments regarding directions for future research in code-switching.

First, however, a brief word on appropriate data in code-switching research is in order. A recurring controversy in the ...

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