Item Details

Spanish-English code-switching among low-fluency bilinguals: Towards an expanded typology

Issue: Vol 8 No. 1 (2014) The Influence of English on U.S. Spanish

Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sols.v8i1.23


Spanish-English code-switching in the United States is not confined to the speech of fluent bilinguals, although the latter group exhibits the greatest consistency of structural patterns as well as the highest likelihood of conscious and voluntary control over language switching. Among less fluent bilinguals (including heritage speakers of Spanish as well as foreign language students producing the second language under duress) incursions from English may depart significantly from structural patterns characterizing fluent bilinguals, and may represent involuntary and/or unconscious insertion of English elements, ranging from tags such as you know and I mean to larger discourse chunks. The present study compares data from a cluster of low-fluency Spanish heritage speakers and a group of fluent bilingual Spanish-English code-switchers in the United States, and proposes that the notion of congruent lexicalization (e.g. as proposed by Muysken, 2000) be expanded to include ‘ragged’ and possibly involuntary code-mixing among semi fluent bilinguals.

Author: John M. Lipski

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