Location of Repository

Assumptions behind grammatical approaches to code-switching: when the blueprint is a red herring

By Penelope Gardner-Chloros and Malcolm Edwards


Many of the so-called ‘grammars’ of code-switching are based on various underlying assumptions, e.g. that informal speech can be adequately or appropriately described in terms of ‘‘grammar’’; that deep, rather than surface, structures are involved in code-switching; that one ‘language’ is the ‘base’ or ‘matrix’; and that constraints derived from existing data are universal and predictive. We question these assumptions on several grounds. First, ‘grammar’ is arguably distinct from the processes driving speech production. Second, the role of grammar is mediated by the variable, poly-idiolectal repertoires of bilingual speakers. Third, in many instances of CS the notion of a ‘base’ system is either irrelevant, or fails to explain the facts. Fourth, sociolinguistic factors frequently override ‘grammatical’ factors, as evidence from the same language pairs in different settings has shown. No principles proposed to date account for all the facts, and it seems unlikely that ‘grammar’, as conventionally conceived, can provide definitive answers. We conclude that rather than seeking universal, predictive grammatical rules, research on CS should focus on the variability of bilingual grammars

Topics: alc
Publisher: Wiley
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bbk.ac.uk.oai2:595

Suggested articles



  1. (1998). A congruence approach to the syntax of code-switching’, doi
  2. (1993). A null theory of codeswitching,
  3. (1985). Acts of Identity. doi
  4. (2003). An Introduction to Contact Linguistics. doi
  5. (1999). Aspects of the Syntax, Production and Pragmatics of code-switching with special reference to Cantonese-English. doi
  6. (1991). Asymmetrical Code-switching in Immigrant Communities’,
  7. (1998). Banana split? Variations in language choice and code-switching patterns of two groups of British-born Chinese in Tyneside’, doi
  8. (1983). Bilingual code-switching and syntactic theory’, doi
  9. (1998). Bilingual Conversation Strategies in Gibraltar’,
  10. (2000). Bilingual Speech: a Typology of Code-Mixing. doi
  11. (1986). Code-switching and context-free grammars’, doi
  12. (1995). Code-switching and grammatical theory’, doi
  13. (1978). Code-switching and the Problem of Bilingual Competence’,
  14. (1994). Code-switching and X-bar theory: the Functional Head Constraint’,
  15. (1972). Code-switching as ordered selection. Studies for Einar Haugen. The Hague:
  16. (1995). Code-switching in community, regional and national repertoires: the myth of the discreteness of linguistic systems’, doi
  17. (1998). Codeswitching as a Worldwide Phenomenon. doi
  18. (1998). Codeswitching as an indicator for language shift? Evidence from Sardinian-Italian bilingualism’, doi
  19. (1999). Codeswitching in the Greek Cypriot Community in London.MA Thesis,
  20. (1997). Communicating Gender in Two Languages’, doi
  21. (1990). Concepts, methodology and data in language research: ten remarks from the perspective of grammatical theory’, Papers for the workshop on concepts, methodology and data. European Science Foundation Network on Code-Switching.
  22. (1991). Constraints on code-switching: a look beyond grammar’. Papers for the symposium on code-switching in bilingual studies: theory, significance and perspectives.
  23. (1987). Constraints on code-switching: how universal are they?’, doi
  24. (1979). Constraints on language-mixing: intrasentential code-switching and borrowing in Spanish-English’, doi
  25. (1998). Constructing Interlanguage: Building a Composite Matrix Language’, doi
  26. (2002). Contact Linguistics: Bilingual Encounters and Grammatical Outcomes. doi
  27. (1971). Convergence and creolization: a case from the IndoAryan-Dravidian border’,
  28. (1993). Duelling Languages. doi
  29. (1990). Dutch-Moroccan Arabic Code Switching. doi
  30. (1989). English-Maori Language contact: code-switching and the free morpheme constraint’. Reports from Uppsala Univ.
  31. (1990). French Borrowings in Brussels Dutch’,
  32. (1999). From ‘switching code’ to ‘code-switching’: towards a reconceptualization of communicative codes’,
  33. (1986). Government and Code-Mixing’, doi
  34. (1997). Government and code-switching: explaining American Finnish. doi
  35. (1991). Kano+INF: the case of a Greek auxiliary verb in a language contact situation’,
  36. (1986). Knowledge of Language: its nature, origin and use. doi
  37. (1991). Language selection and switching in Strasbourg. doi
  38. (2001). Language versus medium in the study of bilingual conversation’, doi
  39. (1986). Linguistic constraints on intra-sentential code-switching: a study of Spanish-Hebrew bilingualism’, doi
  40. (1994). Mixing two languages, French-Dutch contact in a comparative perspective. doi
  41. (2000). Parallel Patterns? A comparison of monolingual speech and bilingual code-switched discourse.’, doi
  42. (1972). Perspectives on Language Contact: a study of German in Australia. doi
  43. (1985). Processing of sentences with intrasentential code-switching’, doi
  44. (1980). Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish Y TERMINO EN ESPAN. OL: toward a typology of code-switching’, doi
  45. (1975). Spanish-English code-switching: el porque and how-not-to’,
  46. (1994). Sranan-Tongo-Nederlands. Code-wisseling en ontlening.
  47. (2000). Testing the 4-M Model’, Introduction, doi
  48. (1999). The Conversational Dimension in Code-switching between Italian and Dialect in Sicily’,
  49. (1999). The intergenerational codeswitching continuum in an immigrant community’, doi
  50. (1986). The Syntax and Semantics of the Code-Mixed Compound Verb in PanjabiEnglish Bilingual Discourse’,
  51. (1983). The syntax of Arabic-French code-switching’, doi
  52. (1985). The syntax of code-switching: Spanish and English’, doi
  53. (1974). Variable rules: performance as a statistical reflection of competence’, doi
  54. (1990). Whose Language is it Anyway? doi
  55. (1999). Word order in German-English mixed discourse’,
  56. (1985). Young people’s Djirbal.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.