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Code-mixing across languages: Structure, functions, and constraints

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Title: Code-mixing across languages: Structure, functions, and constraints
Author(s): Kamwangamalu, Nkonko Mudipanu
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Kachru, Braj B.
Department / Program: Linguistics
Discipline: Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Language, Linguistics
Abstract: In recent years researchers have investigated code-mixing (CM) from three perspectives: psycholinguistic, syntactic, and functional. This study is concerned mainly with the functional use and syntactic structure of CM across cultures and languages.Functionally the study attempts to determine why bilingual speakers often engage in CM. It is found that depending on the cline of their bilinguality and the context of situation bilingual speakers can mix the languages available to them for various communicative purposes, such as marking social class identity, education, and modernization. These conclusions, which are sanctioned in current literature on CM, are further supported by a case study of Lingala-French CM in Zaire as well as by CM in French with other Zairean languages, such as Tshiluba and Swahili. Therefore it is argued that the use of CM in bilingual communities should not be interpreted as symptomatic of linguistic incompetence in one or other of the bilingual's languages, since bilinguals are observed to resort to CM even if the message they convey through CM can also be expressed in one language only.Syntactically the study addresses the issues of whether there are universal constraints on CM. And, if there are, why it is that the proposed universal constraints often prove vulnerable in light of new data. First, it is observed that the data on the basis of which most of those constraints are formulated represent triggered rather than self-occurring code-mixed speech. It is suggested that current methodologies that consist of triggering CM in the speech of bilinguals be abandoned, and that constraints be formulated in terms of data drawn from spontaneous conversation between bilinguals in natural settings. Second, in order to determine the rules that govern CM a distinction is made between host language and guest language. It is proposed that CM is governed by a Host Code/Guest Code Principle. The principle says that in a code-mixed discourse involving languages L1 and L2, where L1 is the host code and L2 the guest code, the morphosyntactic rules of L2 must conform to the morphosyntactic rules of L1, the language of the discourse.
Issue Date: 1989
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/21847
Rights Information: Copyright 1989 Kamwangamalu, Nkonko Mudipanu
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9010907
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9010907
 

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