ERIC Number: ED121068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
Aspects of the Syntax of the Code-Switched Discourse of Bilingual Children.
Wentz, James; McClure, Erica F.
A three-year study of the linguistic and metalinguistic performance of forty Mexican-American children ranging in age from three to eleven years shows that it is useful to characterize the competence of the bilingual in terms of a unified system of rules, at least at one level of analysis. This paper explores some aspects of the grammatical competence underlying the code-switched discourse of these children. The data include tape-recorded naturalistic conversations, the children's imitations of an artificially constructed set of code-switched sentences, acceptability judgements of code-switched sentences, judgements of whether a code-switched utterance is mostly Spanish or English, and elicited code switches. Results show that certain syntactic conditions governing code-switching are part of the grammatical competence of all of the bilingual children studied, while others appear to be idiosyncratic. Topics discussed include: (1) relative frequency with which different grammatical classes of words are code-switched; (2) the effect of code-switching upon certain movement rules; (3) non-switchable elements; (4) morphological boundaries' effect upon code-switching; and (5) ellipsis in code-switched comments or responses to questions. Results may vary according to the age at which the two languages are acquired and the stage of language acquisition reached by the individual in both languages. (Author/CLK)
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Child Language, Code Switching (Language), Discourse Analysis, English, Language Acquisition, Language Patterns, Language Research, Language Usage, Language Variation, Linguistic Competence, Mexican Americans, Morphology (Languages), Second Language Learning, Spanish, Syntax
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Mid-America Linguistics Conference (University of Kansas, 1975)