Issues in Code-Switching: Competing Theories and Models

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Erman Boztepe


This paper provides a critical overview of the theoretical, analytical, and practical questions most prevalent in the study of the structural and the sociolinguistic dimensions of code-switching (CS). In doing so, it reviews a range of empirical studies from around the world. The paper first looks at the linguistic research on the structural features of CS focusing in particular on the code-switching versus borrowing distinction, and the syntactic constraints governing its operation. It then critically reviews sociological, anthropological, and linguistic perspectives dominating the sociolinguistic research on CS over the past three decades. Major empirical studies on the discourse functions of CS are discussed, noting the similarities and differences between socially motivated CS and style-shifting. Finally, directions for future research on CS are discussed, giving particular emphasis to the methodological issue of its applicability to the analysis of bilingual classroom interaction.

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