oa Alternation - The role of syntactic theory in the analysis of intrasentential code-switching

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Research into code-switching has traditionally focused on either its sociolinguistic or its grammatical aspects. Sociolinguistic research has led to proposals regarding, amongst other things, the reasons people engage in code-switching, the functions code-switching may fulfil, and the contexts in which code-switching is common and/or viewed as appropriate (cf., e.g., Blom and Gumperz 1972; Gumperz 1982; Myers-Scotton 1993; Wei 1998). Research on the grammatical aspects of code-switching, on the other hand, has led to a number of proposals regarding where codes may be switched in a sentence. Such proposals have most often been formulated in terms of constraints on intrasentential code-switching. Studies leading to the proposal of such grammatical constraints have typically been carried out within the framework of particular theories of grammar, the choice of theory differing somewhat from one researcher to the next. Thus, in the literature, one finds that researchers apply different theories, or different interpretations of the same theory, furthermore differing in the ways in which the theory is applied.

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