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Spanish/English Codeswitching in Young Adult Novels

By Shelby Daniel-Wayman


Codeswitching is the alternation of two different languages or language\ud varieties within a given sentence or conversation. Among fluent bilinguals,\ud codeswitching can be used to carry pragmatic or socio-psychological information\ud as well (Myers-Scotton, 1998, 22). I examine with both qualitative and\ud quantitative means the syntactic, discourse, and socio-psychological roles played\ud by Spanish/English codeswitching in two young adult novels and determine\ud whether these vary by the ethnicity of the author and the intended audience.\ud Quantitative analyses were performed by categorizing all codeswitches\ud into syntactic categories and discourse functions. Qualitative analyses included\ud both an analysis of the association of codes witching with narrative themes and\ud analysis of individual instances of codeswitching via the Markedness Model.\ud These two frameworks were used to analyze two different young adult novels\ud featuring codeswitching by Mexican-American characters, one by and for\ud Mexican-Americans and one by a Chinese American author with a wider intended\ud audience As a result, most potential differences in the use of codeswitching by\ud those with a different relationship to the wider community of Spanish/English\ud bilinguals should be evident in these two works.\ud Both the quantitative and qualitative analyses indicated that the MexicanAmerican\ud author, Isabel Quintero, codeswitched a wider range of discourse\ud functions, a more evenly distributed set of syntactic categories, and connected this\ud codeswitching to a wider range of themes than Stacey Lee. These results indicate\ud that an author's first-hand experience in a speech community that practices\ud codeswitching allows for a more nuanced and diverse representation of\ud codeswitching in their fiction writing

Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:triceratops.brynmawr.edu:10066/17569
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