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Common and uncommon ground: Social and structural factors in codeswitching

  • Carol Myers-Scotton (a1)
Abstract

The social forces affecting the performance of codeswitching (CS) may be distinguished from those factors controlling its basic structure, with which they interact. The constraints on possible patterns in CS are largely under innately based controls. These constraints are presented here in a model of intrasentential CS, and their validity is tested against findings of CS practices in a number of communities; all options can be accounted for under the model. Thus the options for CS structures seem universally set; but community-specific or group-specific social forces may determine which permissible patterns are preferred. In addition, micro-level, discourse-based factors may prompt individuals to produce certain CS structures. A second model of the social motivations for CS helps explain both the macro- and micro-level preferences. (Bilingualism, codeswitching, language contact, socio-pragmatics)

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Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
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