Structural aspects of English-Afrikaans intrasentential code-switching

van Dulm O. (2006)


This article reports on the results of a pilot study which was carried out as part of a larger research project focusing on the grammatical devices which determine the structure of utterances containing intrasentential code-switching between South African English (SAE) and Afrikaans. The study adopts the principles and parameters and convergence frameworks according to which feature checking is the device that brings about convergence and parametric differences between languages are based on differences in the interpretability of particular features. On the basis of analyses of structural differences between SAE and Afrikaans within this theoretical framework, predictions were made for the structure of 10 constructions in which intrasentential code-switching occurs between SAE and Afrikaans. Experimental techniques were designed to gather data on the basis of which the merit of these predictions could be evaluated. The experimental techniques included tasks requiring judgements of the relative acceptability of sentences presented in both visual and auditory modalities, a sentence completion task, and a picture description task. In each task, stimuli were specifically constructed to gather information on one of the 10 constructions. The results of the experiments are discussed in terms of the two main aims of the pilot study, namely (i) an evaluation of the relative merit of experimental techniques designed to test predictions for the structure of utterances containing intrasentential code-switching between SAE and Afrikaans, and (ii) the gathering of preliminary data about the merit of these predictions. Copyright © 2006 NISC Pty Ltd.

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