Lecture: Go small or go big, there is no in-between

Mandarin-English Speakers’ Grammar Preferences in Code-switching

Code-switching is a language phenomenon where multilingual speakers alternate their use of languages in one utterance. While extensive studies have been conducted on Spanish-English speaker communities (Anderson & Toribio, 2007; Badiola et al., 2018; Poplack, 1980), the Mandarin-English bilingual population, despite its large size, remains understudied. As some English grammatical elements do not have direct Mandarin equivalents, Mandarin and English make an interesting pair for code-switching grammar studies. This study investigates the grammar preferences of Mandarin-English speakers in code-switching. In the present study, two specific grammatical elements were selected for comparison: plural marker (-s, -es) and determiners (a, the, etc.). Twenty pairs of code-switched sentences contrasting in the inclusion or exclusion of these grammatical elements were created for a comparison task. 100 Mandarin-English bilingual speakers completed a survey in which they described their language background, provided judgments for the comparison task, and indicated their attitude toward code-switching behaviors. While evidence compiled from the result supports the Matrix Language-Frame model proposed by Myers-Scotton (1993), it also reveals possible connections between grammar preferences and language proficiency.

Anderson, T. K., & Toribio, A. J. (2007). Attitudes towards lexical borrowing and intra-sentential code-switching among Spanish-English bilinguals. Spanish in Context, 4(2), 217–240. https://doi.org/10.1075/sic.4.2.05and

Badiola, L., Delgado, R., Sande, A., & Stefanich, S. (2018). Code-switching attitudes and their effects on acceptability judgment tasks. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 8(1), 5–24. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.16006.bad

Poplack, S. (1980). Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish Y TERMINO EN ESPAÑOL: Toward a typology of code-switching 1. Linguistics, 18, 581–618. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1980.18.7-8.581

Myers-Scotton, C. (1993). Duelling languages: Grammatical structure in codeswitching. Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press.


Day: 2022-05-27
Start time: 12:00
Duration: 00:30
Room: Living Lab (1.34)
Track: Sociolinguistics
Language: en




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