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Code-switching: Multilingualism and Language

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1. Introduction The phenomenon of bilingualism is still an often-discussed subject in linguistics. Though there are already many research in this field since some decades, yet it offers scope for further interesting investigation. Is there a need to be bilingual and if so, why? How does someone use the capacity of two or more languages and are there any specific reasons for it? This thesis will deal with the thematic of bilingualism and particularly with the speaker?

s use of two or more languages.

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In the first step the term Bilingualism will be defined. For this some references will be made to several classic linguists who are frequently cited regarding this topic. Thereby the linguistic development in this area becomes more clearly. That is which attitude has been in the beginnings of the research and which new perceptions exist nowadays. In this regard the distinction between individual and societal Bilingualism will be depicted.

Depending on the studied aspect in linguistic the individual Bilingualism – that refers to a person who is capable of speaking two or more languages – takes more consideration than the societal Bilingualism – where a society uses two or more languages for internal communication.

This allows for knowing in which area of bilingualism the focus is set. Following up this explanation the second part concentrates on how bilinguals make use of this available languages. In doing so Language-Mixing comes into play which again contains several areas and takes up an important role in linguistics.

The main focus will be to define code-switching whereby I will also point out the boundary to the term Borrowing and Language-Choice. In this process also the situational code-switching will be contrasted with the metaphorical code-switching. After an improved insight into the world of Bilingualism and Language-Mixing is given, some everyday life situations where language shift occurs will be picked up and furthermore the question for the motivation for such behaviour will be answered. In doing so, the main focus will be on code-switching.

2. Bilingualism Everyone speaks at least one language – representing a code in linguistic – in order to communicate and interact with others. Speakers? competence is often measured by how many languages are spoken. Therefore a distinction is made between the terms monolingualism, bilingualism and multilingualism; whereby in this paper the mean of multilingualism is included in the second term. Opinions about when defining someone as bilingual differ extensively as many criteria are mentioned.

Some people say it means to be totally fluent in two languages and others mention to grow up simultaneously with two languages or even to use both languages equivalent. The definition made by the well-known linguist Francois Grosjean will form base in this case. Bilinguals are those who use two or more languages (or dialects) in their everyday lives. (Grosjean 2010: 4) Seite |3 The majority already lives in a country where the use of more than one language is present and these are more than most people believe.

Available data indicate that there are many more bilingual or multilingual individuals in the world than there are monolingual [and] in many parts of the world, bilingualism or multilingualism and innovative approaches to education which involve the use of two or more languages constitute the normal everyday experience. (Paulsten / Tucker 2003: 464) In countries like Africa or Asia it is the norm to grow up bilingual. And in many more places in the world it is not uncommon to be faced with several dialects.

As in Spain, for example, where Castilian is the official language but many other dialects as Catalan, Basque, Galician and much more does exist. Beside the fact to grow up automatically bilingual there are many reasons why someone becomes bilingual. Charlotte Hoffman stated in 1991 in her introductory about bilingualism five reasons for that: 1. Immigration when someone immigrates to a country with the aim to stay there 2. Temporary stay in a foreign country regarding the reason and purpose of the migration, someone acquires the language spoken in the particular region to achieve one?

s aim 3. Close contact to foreign-language groups when someone grows up near the border to the neighbouring country or in countries with a great speech diversity through urbanisation 4. Educational system here are meant boarding schools as well as business schools where the acquisition of a further foreign language is preconditioned 5. The growing-up within a bilingual family the maintenance of the mother tongue (Hoffmann 1991: 40-45) Hoffman rather refers to the successful acquisition of a foreign language regarding the Critical Period Hypothesis.

It deals basically with the age factor when acquiring a second language and its influence on the succeeded language level. 4 Nevertheless, it becomes clear that there many reasons to acquire a further language than the mother tongue. In accordance with Grosjean one might even state that it is unavoidable to become bilingual in the future as there are more languages in the world (some 7,000) than there are countries and because “[… ] with such a language contact, bilingualism will arise. ” (Grosjean 2010: 5) 4 For further reading see Lenneberg, Eric. 1967. Biological Foundations of Language Seite |4

However, not everyone welcome this statement as still some people believe that bilingualism involves a lack of proficiency in either acquired language. Nowadays one can see a change in attitude towards bilingualism but “[…] from the early nineteenth century to about the 1960s, there was a widespread belief that bilingualism has a detrimental effect on a human being? s intellectual and spiritual growth. ” (Wei 2000: 18) The following citation from a professor at Cambridge University demonstrate clearly the pre-existed attitude. If it were possible for a child to live in two languages at once equally well, so much the worse.

His intellectual and spiritual growth would not thereby be doubled, but halved. Unity of mind and character would have great difficulty in asserting itself in such circumstances. (Laurie 1890 / quoted in Wei 2000: 18) Today many research baring the advantages of being bilingual. Just to mention in the following some from Baker and Prys Jones that are illustrated in their book Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education in 1998. The case of having parents of different origins, hence different languages, a bilingual is able to communicate with both in the preferred language which again leads to a better relationship.

In addition, when someone is able to communicate to some relatives living abroad and therefore have the opportunity to extend the family existence, it would be another advantage. Bilinguals are also able to talk to people of different background and from different regions which leads to a better understanding of other ways of live and therefore broaden one? s horizon. That in turn offers another significant skill, namely that bilinguals can function as a political bridge when it comes to communicative and cultural misunderstanding between two countries.

Due to these benefits a bilingual becomes also more sensitive in communication and more empathic towards listeners? needs. (Baker & Prys Jones 1998: 6-7) There are some more advantages Baker and Prys Jones and several linguists have found out but it would overextend the scope of this paper. As one can see more and more research suggest that there are more positive outcomes than negative effects bilingualism brings to a person which once again points out the developed views concerning this issue.

Grosjean as a multilingual himself welcome these changes and strengthen the significance by meaning that: “Bilinguals usually acquire and use their languages for different purposes, in different domains of life, with different people. Different aspects of life often require different languages. ” (Grosjean and Li 2013: 12) That does not mean that there are not some disadvantages as well. But more and more people experience the benefits of Bilingualism as research show. Seite |5 3. Societal and individual bilingualism Bilingualism deals with linguistic and cultural diversity.

This conclusion already suggests several ways to look at the term, namely the distinction between an individual and a societal point of view. 3. 1. Societal bilingualism Societal bilingualism deals with the language of a group or community of people. Spain as an example was already taken before in this chapter. While Castilian serves as the official language in the entire state territory, there are moreover practised some other languages or dialects. In the north region, for example, people communicate in Basque whereas in the east of Spain including the Balearic Islands the spoken language is Catalan.

Another good example would be China where Mandarin is the official language next to many others as Cantonese and Wu. When discussing about two or more languages in one society the term “diglossia” is often used. It is rather a concept for sociolinguists, sociologists, policy makers or political scientists. 10 3. 2. Individual Bilingualism As mentioned in the introduction the individual bilingualism deals with one person who has the ability to communicate in more than one language. This field studies, amongst others, the speaker? s faculty of speech and how fluently these languages are spoken.

It considers also their use and operation and deals with the matter which one is more dominant. The age of acquisition would be another significant issue to look at. The question about the when and why is of great importance in this field and for this thesis. For what purposes does bilinguals use either language and beyond that for what functions? This aspect leads us to the second part which deals with individuals who experience language-contact in their everyday life. 4. Language-Contact There are different ways to use language. Hence language is related to its speaker and to the given situation.

When a bilingual speaks to a monolingual there is no variety one can choose. The only language to communicate in is the language the monolingual is capable of. How does it work when bilinguals start a conversation with other likes of them? In this case they have to deal with the question which language they should use. Often it happens unconsciously which does not mean that there are not reasons for that choice,that is the so called Language-Choice. Bilinguals among themselves have the opportunity to communicate in more than one language, provided both speakers share the same language 10

For further information see Joshua A. Fishman. 1967. Bilingualism with and without diglossia; diglossia with and without bilingualism. Seite |6 knowledge. Thus, they can ask themselves to bring in the other language after deciding for the base language. As per Grosjean “[… ] the factors which determine choice can be organized into four main categories: participants, situation, content of discourse, and function of the interaction. ” (Grosjean and Li 2013: 17) It becomes clear that there are several stages on which bilinguals can be situated when speaking to another person and have to make a selection, however.

A conversation with a monolingual leads immediately to the Monolingual Language Mode as there is only one available language for both to communicate with. This mode is also meant when a bilingual is reading a book or is watching television where one of the available languages is onset. On the contrary the Bilingual Language Mode is meant when two bilinguals share more than one language. For certain reasons they bring in both languages in their conversation. Even if only one of them uses both, this mode is at present as the other person is able to understand the code.

In the most cases bilinguals take advantage of both codes and switch to a greater or lesser extent from the base language into the host language. Hence, this leads to two further language contact phenomenon, namely Code-switching and Borrowing. 5. Borrowing and Code-switching As we know, the Bilingual Language Mode describes a situation where two bilinguals share more than one language in conversation. The base language is chosen in the first step and in how far the host language will be called up, occurs through two different ways.

In the following these issues will be explained in more detail. The focus will be on code-switching as it provides in the next chapter the basis to find out when and why this performance occurs. Similarly, in this field there exists the widespread negative impression that bilingual speaker code-switch or borrow because they cannot express themselves adequately in one language. But here also later research show that code-switching is common and a learned behaviour instead of an arbitrarily matter. Again one can find different attitudes and observe the change to a more positive perspective.

Shana Poplack goes further when she states that “[…] code-switching is a verbal skill requiring a large degree of linguistic competence in more than one language, rather than a defect arising from insufficient knowledge of one or the other. ” (Wei 2000: 255) To demonstrate the differentiation between the two issues concerned in this chapter, a figure from Grosjean will be inserted: Seite |7 Code-switch Borrowing Base language (Grosjean and Li 2013: 18) He outlines code-switching as a complete shift to another language while Borrowing is the integration of one language into another. 5. 1. Borrowing

Starting with the definition of Borrowing, one could make the metaphor that it is a short stay in the other language, more precisely host language. When bilinguals borrow they usually use one word or expression in the host language but speak basically in the base language. An example would be the following sentence: “Lass uns morgen Abend eine music session machen. ” The base language is German and music session is borrowed from the host language English. The English borrowing may be linked to a certain concept in the speakers mind and he or she could not find a German term to express what is meant by music session.

There are further reasons why bilinguals borrow and these are similar to those for codeswitching. 5. 2. Code-switching Code-switching, as already mentioned, occurs when a bilingual substitutes a word or rather a phrase meanwhile in another language than the one spoken before. Several linguists serve research on certain views. Myers-Scotton concentrates on the markedness in Codeswitching. She differentiates between the marked and the unmarked switches that take place when changing from one code to another. Furthermore she presumes that this behaviour act in accordance with Rights and Obligations of the participants.

The decision which language will be used depends on the speaker’s expectations. Whatever the speaker wants to convey to the addressee, the choice for one of the available codes will be made consciously and thus is a marked Code-switching. And if the speaker does not want to induce a certain indication or interpretation, the normative framework of a conversation will be obeyed which in turn represent the unmarked code choice. (Wei 2000: 144 ff. ) Blum and Gumperz also refers to the issue of participant? s Rights and Obligations, even though in a diverse way.

On the one hand, they describe the situational code-switching whereat the term itself indicates its relation to changes in situation where conversation takes place. As an example, they refer to teacher reports who observe such a changing in class. Seite |8 In the formal class students are not stimulated to interrupt. But if the teachers wants a change in situation in order to have the students discussing more open-minded, they make use of another code to arrange it. The students are aware of the situational change and rather switch into a more vernacular dialect to express themselves.

(Wei 2000: 126-127) On the other hand, Blum and Gumperz define the metaphorical code-switching. This changing complies with the conversation topic when two individuals cultivating several relationships to each other. For example, two relatives who work together in the same office will use one language for business issues and switch to another language when talking about the family, although still being in the same place and no change in situation occurs. After these insights there is no denial that bilinguals use their different languages for several purposes.

Amongst others, it is up to factors like the social setting, the subject matter, the addressee and the relationship between speaker and addressee. This factors will be picked up more precisely in the next chapter to show code-switching in everyday life situation and to get an understanding why this sort of language contact is extremely practiced among bilinguals. 6. Motivation for Code-switching This paper comes already to the assumption that a language is always related to its speaker and above all to the context of a conversation.

Some everyday life situations everyone can identify with will be presented to find out for what purposes code-switching is used. In this chapter some own experiences will be brought in, as far as they are of avail. The latest experience happens a few hours ago when I talk to a friend of mine. We were talking about private issues while I switched into the English language at two points. The first shift is the expression statement to explain a certain attitude to a subject and the second time I used the word purposes because it came easier to my mind than the German word Zweck.

I code-switch as I know that my friend is also a bilingual and German and English are the two languages we share. However, I want to make clear that it is not a common situation and German is my dominant language. The reason for that occurrence will be the fact that I read only English books and articles since a few weeks and above all write down my thoughts in English to establish this paper. This in turn explains the faster retrieval in English than in German, particularly because I often use this concept here. It is not a secret that our brain generally uses the easiest and shortest way to work.

It can find easier and faster something that is used often and is more familiar with. This shows the significance of language dominance as Heredia and Altarriba explain in their article Bilingual Language Mixing: Why Do Bilinguals Code-Switch? in 2001. They state that bilinguals have a primary language to its mental lexicon they can access easier and prompter. Hence, code-switching takes often place when communicating in the secondary language. Thereby the primary language is not always the mother tongue, but more the frequently used language. The Seite |9

more a language is practiced the more it approaches to be the dominant one. (Heredia and Altarriba 2001: 165-167) Next to my mother tongue, Aramaic, I speak most of the time German but as I practice actually the English language many times it becomes more dominant, I guess until this paper is finalized. There are further more obvious situations why people code-switch. For example when changing the interlocutor who speaks another language, to exclude/ involve someone from/into a conversation, to teach a foreign language or if there does not exist a word to define a certain notion.

Grosjean offers an example for the last listing by the expression playground as “… it reflected better the kind of free environment kids could have fun in, as compared with the traditional French parc, with its strict rules and rather poor offering of swing sets. ” (Grosjean 2010: 53-54) It is not always possible to find an equivalent expression in the base language to explain a concept which is already built in mind. The same happens often to me when I talk with my brother about a certain human characteristic.

In our mother tongue, Aramaic, there is a notion which describes very precisely a person who has cordially manner, is not resentful and longs for harmony and love. All this features are described in only one word and that is the reason we both always code-switch to make this expression, hence both know exactly what is meant. Some people also code-switch to straighten their status in society. A judge for example uses in court another way to speak than having a conversation to friends or family. A judge is the highest instance in the court room and to clarify his authority he adopt certain linguistic phrases or technical expressions.

When communicating to his children or other family members, another linguistic code will be used for conversation. Though remaining in the same language another code is set, hence code-switching. Oftentimes code-switching occurs also within families in which the parents are monolingual whereas the children are capable of more languages. Most immigrants in Germany are people of Turkish origin. The first generation came about 1960 due to work and did not have a great motivation to learn the host language as the plan was to return to their home country.

However, they stayed in Germany and their children born and grow up in the host country where they have to attend class and starting career in Germany. The aspect of integration will not be considered, even though it is very interesting, as the linguistic focus is more significant. This followed generation grows up bilingual and is daily confronted with two languages, especially in family life situations. The base language at home is Turkish and in how far German plays a role in their lives would be again a question of integration. Nevertheless, most of them code-switch at home for many reasons.

One could be that they do not want their parents to understand a certain happening or because the expression is not quickly available or simply does not exist in Turkish. I made the same experience with my family. My father for example has only low language skills in German and when we are coming all together the base language is Aramaic. Nevertheless, it is not always easy to S e i t e | 10 remain in the mother tongue. Code-switching in such situations is the most common language phenomenon as many expressions are more available in German.

We are all aware of this switching and when the language shift last too long, someone will advise the others to get back to the agreed base language for not excluding my father. As I live alone and am not surrounded by Arameans but German friends and colleagues, I can state that German is my dominant language. And as I go here to school, visit university and work in Germany, it is difficult to find appropriate words in Aramaic when talking about my studies or my business. That is what Grosjean calls the Complementarity Principle.

He claims that language use conform to different domains of live, such as university, family, friends, work, religion and so on. If someone experience or learn something in a certain language it is presumably that this language offers the most available vocabulary when speaking about this theme. Hence, different domains are covered by different languages. (Grosjean 2010: 29-30) 7. Conclusion An individual is a member of a society and uses language to communicate its identity. Speech serves more than only for pure talking.

There is no simple answer to the question how to define language as yet it does not exist one consistent definition. There are many factors to consider and moreover it always stays in relation to the speaker. Trying to define language one realize quickly that it is about physical and mental interaction which includes just as well gesture, facial expression, oral and body language. There is a lot more to discuss in this thematic but nevertheless an insight is given into the world of bilingualism. This paper shows some aspects regarding language variety and detect that there are many different data to define language.

The focus is on the individual bilingualism and more precisely on the behaviour of bilinguals when they come together and how they practice their mastery in language. It becomes more and more clearly that it is of advantage to be able to speak more than one language and one might even say it is expected nowadays. The attitude regarding bilingualism changes and the concentration rather directs the given possibilities. It becomes more interesting to deal with this language phenomenon and to find out which motivations are behind certain behaviour.

Codeswitching is defined as a language shift and is depicted in everyday life situations. One could examine much more aspects of code-switching such as syntactical, grammatical or semantically rules. This paper illustrates the awareness of code-switching, though it does not always happen consciously. It shows when bilinguals do code-switch and for what reasons. Language dominance plays a big role and establishes again the assumption that our brain works preferably with familiar issues. The addressee and moreover the context of the speaker are also important factors in this regard.

When bilinguals code-switch within a group, they aim to involve or even exclude another person. A further reason for code- S e i t e | 11 switching is the difficulty to find the right word to express. Bilinguals of the same background connect words to certain notions and if they do not find an appropriate word, they rather use the language that contains this expression. There are a lot more reasons for code-switching and with these few mentioned above, this paper gives a basic insight in understanding why bilinguals do code-switch. S e i t e | 12

Cite this Code-switching: Multilingualism and Language

Code-switching: Multilingualism and Language. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/code-switching-multilingualism-and-language/

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