Codeswitching, borrowing and mixing in a corpus of Xhosa English

De Klerk, V.A. (2006) Codeswitching, borrowing and mixing in a corpus of Xhosa English. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9 (5). pp. 597-614. ISSN 1367-0050




The paper analyses selected aspects of the codeswitching behaviour in a spoken corpus of the English of 326 people, all of them mother-tongue speakers of Xhosa (a local African language in South Africa), and all of whom would see themselves as Xhosa/English bilinguals. The corpus comprises approximately 550,000 transcribed words of spontaneous, relaxed, oral discourse in English between pairs of Xhosaspeaking interlocutors, discussing a wide range of topics. While the usual pattern in bilingual speech is to use the L1 as matrix language and the L2 as embedded language, in this corpus the opposite is the case, as interlocutors were interviewed in English (the L2). The corpus therefore offers a ‘mirror image’, in a sense, of normal codeswitching behaviour. Using Wordsmith (a concordancer programme), all incidences of codeswitching into Xhosa during these conversations were identified and analysed in an effort to reveal underlying patterns. Examination of the amount and nature of codeswitching in the corpus promised to throw some light on the extent to which participants are genuinely bilingual, in terms of their ability to converse comfortably in English.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:codeswitching, Xhosa, English, bilingual, identity
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English Language and Linguistics
ID Code:363
Deposited By: Rhodes Library Archive Administrator
Deposited On:03 Oct 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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