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In linguistics, code-switching is switching between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals—speakers of more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.
Code-switching is distinct from other language contact phenomena, such as borrowing, pidgins and creoles, loan translation (calques), and language transfer (language interference). Borrowing affects the lexicon, the words that make up a language, while code-switching takes place in individual utterances. Speakers form and establish a pidgin language when two or more speakers who do not speak a common language form an intermediate, third language. On the other hand, speakers practice code-switching when they are each fluent in both languages. Code mixing is a thematically related term, but the usage of the terms code-switching and code-mixing varies. Some scholars use either term to denote the same practice, while others apply code-mixing to denote the formal linguistic properties of said language-contact phenomena, and code-switching to denote the actual, spoken usages by multilingual persons.
In the 1940s and 1950s, many scholars considered code-switching to be a sub-standard use of language. Since the 1980s, however, most scholars have recognised it is a normal, natural product of bilingual and multilingual language use.
The term "code-switching" is also used outside the field of linguistics. Some scholars of literature use the term to describe literary styles which include elements from more than one language, as in novels by Chinese-American, Anglo-Indian, or Latino/a writers. In popular usage code-switching is sometimes used to refer to relatively stable informal mixtures of two languages, such as Spanglish, Franponais or Portuñol. Both in popular usage and in sociolinguistic scholarship, the name code-switching is sometimes used to refer to switching among dialects, styles or registers, such as that practiced by speakers of African American Vernacular English as they move from less formal to more formal settings.
Social motivations for code-switching 
There may be many reasons that people code-switch. Code-switching relates to, and sometimes indexes social-group membership in bilingual and multilingual communities. Some sociolinguists describe the relationships between code-switching behaviours and class, ethnicity, and other social positions. In addition, scholars in interactional linguistics and conversation analysis have studied code-switching as a means of structuring talk in interaction. Some discourse analysts, including conversation analyst Peter Auer, suggest that code-switching does not simply reflect social situations, but that it is a means to create social situations.
Markedness Model 
The Markedness Model, developed by Carol Myers-Scotton, is one of the more complete theories of code-switching motivations. It posits that language users are rational, and choose (speak) a language that clearly marks their rights and obligations, relative to other speakers, in the conversation and its setting. When there is no clear, unmarked language choice, speakers practice code-switching to explore possible language choices. Many sociolinguists, however, object to the Markedness Model’s postulation that language-choice is entirely rational.
Sequential analysis 
Scholars of conversation analysis such as Peter Auer and Li Wei argue that the explanation of the social motivation of code-switching lies in the way code-switching is structured and managed in conversational interaction; in other words, the question of why code-switching occurs cannot be answered without first addressing the question of how it occurs. Using conversation analysis (CA), these scholars focus their attention on the sequential implications of code-switching. That is, whatever language a speaker chooses to use for a conversational turn or part of a turn has implications for the subsequent choices of language by the speaker as well as the hearer. Rather than focusing on the social values inherent in the languages the speaker chooses (brought along meaning), the analysis should try to concentrate on the meaning that the act of code-switching itself creates (brought about meaning).
Communication Accommodation Theory 
The Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), developed by Howard Giles, professor of communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, seeks to explain the cognitive reasons for code-switching, and other changes in speech, as a person seeks either to emphasize or to minimize the social differences between himself/herself and the other person(s) in conversation. Prof. Giles posits that when speakers seek approval in a social situation they are likely to converge their speech with that of the other person speaking. This can include, but is not limited to, the language of choice, accent, dialect, and para-linguistic features used in the conversation. In contrast to convergence, speakers might also engage in divergent speech, with which an individual person emphasizes the social distance between himself/herself and other speakers by using speech with linguistic features characteristic of his or her own group.
Code-switching and diglossia 
In a diglossic situation, some topics and situations are better suited to one language over another. Joshua Fishman proposes a domain-specific code-switching model (later refined by Blom and Gumperz) wherein bilingual speakers choose which code to speak depending on where they are and what they are discussing. For example, a child who is a bilingual Spanish-English speaker might speak Spanish at home and English in class, but Spanish at recess.
Linguists also study the grammatical properties of code-switching.
Linguists have made significant effort toward defining the difference between borrowing (loanword usage) and code-switching. Generally, borrowing occurs in the lexicon, while code-switching occurs at either the syntax level or the utterance-construction level.
In studying the syntactic and morphological patterns of language alternation, linguists have postulated specific grammatical rules and specific syntactic boundaries for where code-switching might occur. Historically, research on the grammar of code-switching has focused on constraint-oriented approaches and constraint-free approaches.
Attempts to formulate grammatical constraints on code-switching include the Free-morpheme Constraint, which stipulates that a code-switching cannot occur between bound morphemes, and the Closed-class Constraint, which posits that closed class items (pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, etc.), cannot be switched. The Equivalence Constraint suggests that code-switching can occur only in positions where "the order of any two sentence elements, one before and one after the switch, is not excluded in either language." Thus, the sentence: "I like you porque eres simpático" ("I like you because you are nice") is allowed because it obeys the syntactic rules of both Spanish and English. The Functional Head Constraint is another constraint-based theory. It holds that code-switching cannot occur between a functional head (a complementizer, a determiner, an inflection, etc.) and its complement (sentence, noun-phrase, verb-phrase).
The constraint-free approach views explicit reference to code-switching in grammatical analysis as tautological, and looks to explain specific instances of grammaticality in code-switching in terms of the unique contributions of the grammatical properties of the languages involved in the construction of interest. Jeff MacSwan characterized this approach with the research program refrain, "Nothing constrains codeswitching apart from the requirements of the mixed grammars." This approach focuses on the repudiation of any rule or principle which explicitly refers to codeswitching itself.
Working within a speech production framework advocated by Willem Levelt, Carol Myers-Scotton has proposed the Matrix Language Frame (MLF) model of code-switching which distinguishes between the roles of the participant languages. Carol Myers-Scotton and MacSwan debated the relative merits of their approaches in a series of exchanges published in 2005 in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, issues 8(1) and 8(2).
Some theories, such as the Closed-class Constraint, the Matrix Language Frame model, and the Functional Head Constraint, which make general predictions based upon specific presumptions about the nature of syntax, are controversial among linguists positing alternative theories. In contrast, descriptions based on empirical analyses of corpora, such as the Equivalence Constraint, are relatively independent of syntactic theory, but the code-switching patterns they describe vary considerably among speech communities, even among those sharing the same language pairs.
Scholars use different names for various types of code-switching.
- Intersentential switching occurs outside the sentence or the clause level (i.e. at sentence or clause boundaries). It is sometimes called "extrasentential" switching.
- Intra-sentential switching occurs within a sentence or a clause.
Spanish and English 
Researcher Ana Celia Zentella offers this example from her work with Puerto Rican Spanish-English bilingual speakers in New York City. In this example, Marta and her younger sister, Lolita, speak Spanish and English with Zentella outside of their apartment building.
- Lolita: Oh, I could stay with Ana?
- Marta: — but you could ask papi and mami to see if you could come down.
- Lolita: OK.
- Marta: Ana, if I leave her here would you send her upstairs when you leave?
- Zentella: I’ll tell you exactly when I have to leave, at ten o’clock. Y son las nueve y cuarto. ("And it’s nine fifteen.")
- Marta: Lolita, te voy a dejar con Ana. ("I’m going to leave you with Ana.") Thank you, Ana.
Zentella explains that the children of the predominantly Puerto Rican neighbourhood speak both English and Spanish: "Within the children’s network, English predominated, but code-switching from English to Spanish occurred once every three minutes, on average."
French and Tamil 
- Selvamani: Parce que n’importe quand quand j’enregistre ma voix ça l’aire d’un garçon. ([in French] "Because whenever I record my voice I sound like a guy.")
- Alors, TSÉ, je me ferrai pas poigné ("So, you know, I’m not going to be had.")
- Selvamani: ennatā, ennatā, enna romba ciritā? ([in Tamil] "What, what, what's so funny?")
- Alors, qu’est-ce que je disais? ([in French] "So, what was I saying?")
Selvamani, who moved from Sri Lanka to Quebec as a child and now identifies as Québécois, speaks to Das in French. When Selvamani's sister, Mala, laughs, Selvamani switches to Tamil to ask Mala why she is laughing. After this aside, Selvamani continues to speak in French. Selvamani also uses the word tsé ("you know") and the expression je me ferrai pas poigné [sic] ("I will not be handled"), which are not standard French but are typical of the working-class Montreal dialect Joual.
Hopi and Tewa 
Researcher Paul Kroskrity offers the following example of code-switching by of three elder Arizona Tewa men, who are trilingual in Tewa, Hopi, and English. They are discussing the selection of a site for a new high school in the eastern Hopi Reservation:
- Speaker A: Tututqaykit qanaanawakna. ([in Hopi] "Schools were not wanted.")
- Speaker B: Wédít’ókánk’egena’adi imbí akhonidi. ( [in Tewa] "They didn’t want a school on their land.")
- Speaker C: Naembí eeyae nąeląemo díbít’ó’ámmí kąayį’į wédimu::di. ([in Tewa] "It’s better if our children go to school right here, rather than far away.")
In their two-hour conversation, the three men primarily spoke Tewa; however, when Speaker A addresses the Hopi Reservation as a whole, he code-switches to Hopi. His speaking Hopi when talking of Hopi-related matters is a conversational norm in the Arizona Tewa speech community. Kroskrity reports that these Arizona Tewa men, who culturally identify themselves as Hopi and Tewa, use the different languages to linguistically construct and maintain their discrete ethnic identities.
See also 
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