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Coding-switching as style-shifting

Author(s): Gregory L. Thompson

Journal: International Journal of Language Studies
ISSN 2157-4898

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Code Switching | Style Shifting | Bilingualism | Addressee | Spanish | English

Bilinguals have many possibilities when it comes to choosing the language to use in diverse settings and with different speakers. In addition to general stylistic changes that monolinguals use, bilinguals can actually use code-switching as stylistic change. This paper investigates the interlanguage stylistic variation that exists between members of a bilingual Spanish-English family in order to qualitatively analyze code-switching and its relation to style-shifting. The participants in this study were analyzed based on several hours of home-videos recorded for family use. The language was transcribed and analyzed to determine the nature of the code-switches between family members. The results showed that the majority of the code-switches appear to be conscious in nature. These code-switches were also paralleled to style-shifts and used accordingly. The participants used code-switches to establish their identity and even employed them as reflections of their own ideology regarding bilingual language use. Audience design did have an effect but that was only one of many factors that influenced style-shifts. Finally, there appears to be an analogous relationship between code-switching and style-shifting as found in the data especially in regards to establishing bilingual identity.

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