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Congruence and Welsh–English code-switching



This paper aims to contribute to elucidating the notion of congruence in code-switching with particular reference to Welsh–English data. It has been suggested that a sufficient degree of congruence or equivalence between the constituents of one language and another is necessary in order for code-switching to take place. We shall distinguish between paradigmatic and syntagmatic congruence in relation to the grammatical categories of the two languages, focusing on the insertion of English nouns and noun phrases, adjectives, verbs and participles in otherwise Welsh utterances. We shall demonstrate how differing degrees of congruence between grammatical categories in the two languages are reflected in different code-switching outcomes.


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Address for correspondence Department of Linguistics, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG, UK E-mail:


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Thanks are due to the following for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper: Ad Backus, Emyr Davies, Kirk Hazen, Brian Joseph, Lesley Milroy, Pieter Muysken, Carol Myers-Scotton, Carmen Silva-Corvalán, Enlli Thomas, Marilyn Vihman and two anonymous referees. Any remaining shortcomings are, of course, my own.


Congruence and Welsh–English code-switching



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