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Code-switching at the interface between language, culture, and cognition

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Code-switching at the interface between language,
culture, and cognition
M. Carmen Parata Couto, Miriam Greidanus Romeli, Kate Bellamy
To cite this version:
M. Carmen Parata Couto, Miriam Greidanus Romeli, Kate Bellamy. Code-switching at the interface
between language, culture, and cognition. Lapurdum, Centre de recherche sur la langue et les textes
basques IKER UMR 5478 CNRS, In press. �halshs-03280922�
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
Code-switching at the interface between language, culture, and
M. Carmen Parafita Couto¹, Miriam Greidanus Romaneli¹ and Kate Bellamy²
¹Leiden University Center for Linguistics, ²Langues et civilisations à tradition orale,
Centre national de la recherche scientifique
Bilinguals commonly draw on their two languages within a single speech event, a practice
known as code-switching. On the basis of different methods and bilingual populations,
various theoretical accounts of code-switching have been developed. Yet, while theories
proliferate, cross-fertilization between them remains limited. Hence, the question that
guides this paper is: how can we better understand the nature of mixed interactions, with
a view to creating more accurate models of (multilingual) language competence? We
show how a multimethod, comparative approach that integrates linguistic,
psycholinguistic and social factors will help us draw a distinction between which code-
switching patterns are uniform across communities and language pairs, and which
patterns are variable. Addressing both the nominal and verbal domains, we present
findings from a series of comparative studies that investigate how bilinguals from
different communities produce, judge, or process bilingual structures. We discuss to what
extent bilinguals (i) produce strings that can be seen as having the same syntactic structure
within and across communities, (ii) make the same linguistic judgments, and (iii)
converge in their processing of these strings. We highlight the importance of surveying
the patterns that emerge across communities, rather than on an example and counter-
example basis, in order to bring our understanding of code-switching, and of language as
a whole, forward.
1. Introduction: Challenges in evaluating code-switching theories
In this paper, we will reflect on the competing theoretical and methodological tensions in
the structural study of code-switching (CS), that is, the multilingual practice where
speakers “go back and forth” between their languages within the same a conversation,
either between clauses (inter-clausal) or within the same clause (intra-clausal; Deuchar,
2012). An example of intra-clausal CS can be observed in the utterance produced by a
Dutch-Portuguese bilingual in Brazil in (1). A Portuguese noun (italics) is inserted into
an otherwise Dutch clause without signs of effort or hesitation.
(1) je moet echt een beejte criatividade hebben
you must really INDEF little creativity have.INF
You must really have a bit of creativity. (Greidanus Romaneli, in prep.)
The intra-clausal CS of a New York Puerto Rican Spanish-English bilingual was
identified by Labov (1971: 457) as “the irregular mixture of two distinct systems”.
Nevertheless, by the end of the 1970s, structural constraints on CS were being proposed
(Pfaff, 1979), and today CS is widely accepted as rule-governed behavior, in other words
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
there are boundaries in speech where it is allowed or disallowed. As such, CS data should
be incorporated into any theory of possible mental grammars (López, 2020). Mixed
language data is also valuable because it permits combinations of formal properties that
are hidden in the examination of a single language (e.g., contrasting word order), helping
us to refine and deepen our understanding of grammatical theory.
While numerous theories have been developed to explain CS structure, efforts to integrate
empirical findings have met various theoretical and methodological challenges. Here, we
briefly illustrate the spectrum of these theoretical approaches, highlighting two challenges
hampering theoretical convergence in the field: the absence of community norms in
theoretical models, and the difficulty of adjudicating between findings from different
1.1 Theoretical approaches
Explanations of CS structure can be roughly divided into two groups: those that posit
additional mechanisms to handle mixed language data, and those that do not (see Table 1
below for a non-exhaustive overview).
Table 1. Non-exhaustive overview of structural approaches to CS since the 1980s.
Code-switching constraints
(e.g .Equivalence Constraint
Reformulation of the Equivalence Constraint
Government Constraint
Functional Head Constraint)
Poplack 1980
Woolford 1983
DiSciullo, Muysken & Singh 1986
Belazi, Rubin & Toribio 1994
Constraint-free / “Null” theories
Mahootian 1993
MacSwan 1999, 2000
Chan 1999
Eppler 2006
Alexiadou, Lohndal, farli & Grimstad 2015
López 2020
Asymmetry between languages
(Matrix Language Framework)
Myers-Scotton 1993, 2002
Joshin 1982
“Psycholinguistic” Gradient Symbolic Computation
Goldrick, Putnam & Schwarz 2016
Putnam, Carlson & Reiter 2018
Putnam & Klosinski 2020
“Socio-cognitive” Optimality Theory
Bhatt & Bolonyai 2011
Bilingual speech taxonomy
(Insertion, Alternation, Congruent Lexicalization, and
Muysken 2000, 2013
Backus 2015
In the 1980s and early 1990s, constraint-based approaches tried to explain the points at
which a code-switch can occur. These constraints included a proposed necessity for
coinciding structures between the participating languages (Pfaff, 1979; Poplack’s
Equivalence Constraint, 1980), a prohibition of switches after a bound morpheme
(Poplack’s Free Morpheme Constraint, 1980), a requirement for elements that stand in a
government relation to come from the same language (DiSciullo, Muysken, & Singh’s
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
Government Constraint, 1986), and for functional heads and their components to come
from the same language (Belazi, Rubin, & Toribio’s Functional Head Constraint, 1994).
However, evidence from different language pairs contradicting many of these constraints
soon emerged (Bentahila & Davies, 1983; Berk-Seligson, 1986; Nartey, 1982), leading
to the later reformulation of these constraints (Deuchar, 2005; Sebba, 2009).
The constraint-based approach was also challenged by the null view that no structural
restrictions should operate specifically on CS. Instead, proponents of this approach argue
that CS should be explained - and explainable - using the same mechanisms applied to
monolingual grammars (e.g., generativist proposals such as Mahootian, 1993; MacSwan,
1999, 2000; Chan, 1999; Alexiadou, Lohndal, farli & Grimstad, 2015; López, 2020; cf.
also Eppler, 2006 using word grammar). Critics of these approaches have noted that they
may not be suited to explain the creation of new code-switched structures not available
in either of the individual languages, nor can they explain variation between speakers of
the same language pair in different communities (Toribio, 2017).
The observation that many code-switched utterances feature an asymmetrical
involvement of the participating languages led to the generation of the Matrix Language
Framework (MLF; Myers Scotton 1993, 2002; see also Joshi, 1982). This account
generalizes that in code-switched utterances one of the languages - the matrix language -
provides the morphosyntactic frame, while the other language - the embedded language -
contributes embedded elements. Moreover, the MLF predicts that only certain ‘open
class’ items can be drawn from the embedded language (with the exception of embedded
language “chunks”), whereas no such restriction applies to the matrix language. The
requirement for one language to act as the matrix language also applies to unilingual
speech, therefore the MLF is claimed not to require CS-specific constraints (Jake, Myers-
Scotton & Gross, 2002; cf. MacSwan, 2005).
Others have attempted to reconcile structural explanations with the socio-pragmatic
functions of CS (e.g. Chan, 2009 who highlights the role of processing and sociolinguistic
factors). Most notable in this respect is Muysken’s (2000, 2013) typology of code-
switching, which identifies four types of code-switching that reveal different levels of
contribution from the two languages: insertion (of individual items), alternation (the
juxtaposition of material from different languages), congruent lexicalization (denser types
of code-switching with shared structures), and backflagging (the use of other-language
clause-peripheral markers). In this account, a variety of factors that influence the
particular outcome of each multilingual situation are elaborated, such as typological
distance, political distance or community norms. In a similar vein, Bhatt and Bolonyai
(2011) employed a framework of bilingual grammars based on Optimality Theory. They
identified a repertoire of socio-pragmatic functions, such as display social affiliation or
express a specific concept more economically, whose relative importance in a community
could help predict preferred code-switched structures in bilingual communities. Finally,
Backus (2015) proposed a usage-based analysis of code-switching structure, in which the
pragmatic function of a specific linguistic form (e.g., words, schematic structures) and
the frequency with which it is used in a community influences individual speakers’
likelihood of producing this form. This way, CS is linked to other language contact
phenomena, as a synchronic practice leading to language change over time.
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
More recently, Gradient Symbolic Computation, a formalism to account for the
systematicity of CS patterns by integrating psycholinguistic notions of bilingual co-
activation with generativist accounts of grammar, was proposed (Goldrick, Putnam &
Schwarz 2016; Putnam & Klosinski 2020).
A continued lack of convergence between these varying theoretical approaches has been
characterized as demonstrating “little cross-fertilization” between CS theories (Poplack,
2001: 2063), leading to a situation where a “culture of example and counterexample”
predominates (Toribio, 2017: 228). Unifying the findings from these comparisons has
proved challenging due to their differing methodologies and populations sampled (e.g.,
Fairchild & van Hell, 2017; Herring, Deuchar, Parafita Couto, & Moro Quintanilla, 2010;
Pablos, Parafita Couto, Boutonnet, Jong, Perquin, Haan & Schiller, 2018; Parafita Couto,
Deuchar & Fusser, 2015; Parafita Couto, Boutonnet, Hoshino, Davies, Deuchar &
Thierry, 2017; Ramírez Urbaneja, 2020; Vaughan-Evans, Parafita Couto, Boutonnet,
Hoshino, Webb-Davies, Deuchar & Thierry, 2020). Furthermore, contrasts between
constraint-free approaches and the MLF, in particular, have yielded findings either
inconclusive or consistent with both accounts (e.g., Parafita Couto, Deuchar & Fusser,
2015; Eppler, Luescher & Deuchar, 2017; Pablos et al. 2019; Parafita Couto & Gullberg,
2019). We propose that there are two key challenges that need to be addressed in order to
move away from this current situation; the integration of community norms into
theoretical frameworks, and the need for more multi-method studies. Moreover, the field
would greatly benefit from the same multiple methods being applied across communities
in a systematic and coordinated fashion.
1.2 Challenge 1: Role of community norms
Despite the inclusion of community norms in some explanatory models of CS (e.g.
Muysken, 2000; Backus, 2005), the role of local speech practices remains under-
represented in much CS research to date (cf. Chan, 2009). If we understand that the
acquisition of code-switching, similarly to the acquisition of one language, occurs
through exposure to the production of other speakers within the community, it is plausible
that the acquisition of CS patterns should reflect practices of the community, rather than
varying based only on language-internal principles. If unaccounted for, community norms
can confound results obtained from a single language pair and a single speaker
community, hindering efforts to generalize these results into universal accounts of code-
switching structure.
However, most of the theoretical approaches focused on CS rely on single-community
data for each language pair, ignoring factors related to local CS practices. This overall
neglect displays what Haspelmath (2020) describes as a “cognitive bias” throughout the
last few decades in linguistics, causing the cultural aspect of language to be sidestepped.
In order to overcome this bias, to account for the potential interacting role of community
norms, and to develop better evaluations of the existing structural accounts of code-
switching, systematic cross-community comparisons within and between language pairs
are necessary. By conducting such studies, CS researchers will be able to identify
universal versus community-specific aspects of CS structure (see Sections 2-4).
1.3 Challenge 2: Comparing results across methodologies
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
Despite a wealth of observations of CS structures in different language pairs, their
frequency distributions in naturalistic data have not yet made it possible to reliably
differentiate between the predictions of different theoretical accounts. While CS research
has expanded from well-established methods (e.g., acceptability judgements) to new ones
(e.g., elicited production paradigms; electrophysiological measures), conflicting results
from naturalistic and experimental studies raise concerns about the reliability of
employing any single methodology in isolation, as well as regarding the interpretation of
data from different sources. Indeed, researchers have highlighted the importance of
systematizing corpus-building and access to naturalistic code-switching data (Toribio,
2017), developing rigorous experimental designs, and combining methodological
approaches (Gullberg, Indefrey & Muysken, 2009; Munarriz, Parafita Couto & Vanden
Wyngaerd, 2018).
The objective of raising these two confounds, community norms and methodological
comparisons, is not to discount the impact of single-community or single-methodology
data, which remain relevant to the description of the specific communities to which they
refer. Rather, only by providing converging data from different methodologies and
comparing performances across communities can we investigate effects specific to the
community and to dissociate those from potential universal tendencies in code-switching
and structural effects of the languages involved.
In what follows we will focus on three code-switching phenomena: asymmetries in the
language and gender of the determiner (Section 2), the relative order of adjective and
nouns (i.e., conflict sites) (Section 3) and the creation of mixed language verbs (Section
4). We present data to illustrate these phenomena using a multimethod comparative
approach, linking linguistic, psycholinguistic and social factors. This enables us to discuss
the extent to which bilinguals (i) produce strings that can be seen as having the same
syntactic structure, (ii), make the same linguistic judgements, and (iii) converge in their
processing of these strings.
2. Asymmetries in the DP
2.1 Language of the determiner
Previous work on Spanish-English code-switching has revealed an asymmetry whereby
mixed nominal constructions with a Spanish determiner, e.g. el book, are more commonly
produced than those with an English determiner, e.g. the libro (Liceras, Fernández
Fuertes, Perales, Pérez-Tattam & Spradlin 2008; Moro Quintanilla 2014; Valdés Kroff
2016). Liceras et al. (2008) explain this by suggesting that bilingual speakers favor the
determiner with the largest number of uninterpretable features (here, Spanish), labeling
this the grammatical features spell-out hypothesis (see also Moro Quintanilla 2001,
2014). However, these studies do not control for the broader morpho-syntactic frame of
the clause surrounding the DP. This interaction is particularly relevant, as the Bilingual
NP Hypothesis within the Matrix Language Frame Model predicts that determiners in
mixed nominal constructions should come from the matrix language of the clause (Jake,
Myers-Scotton & Gross 2002). According to this account, Spanish determiners are
predicted to surface in clauses with a Spanish matrix language, whereas English
determiners are predicted to surface in clauses with an English matrix language.
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
Accounting for the matrix language of the clause, Herring, Deuchar, Parafita Couto and
Moro Quintanilla (2010) investigated the use of determiners in mixed Spanish-English
Determiner-Noun constructions in a sample of the Bangor Miami Corpus
( They observed, in accordance with the established asymmetry,
that mixed DPs with Spanish determiners are more frequently observed than those with
English determiners (see Table 2). More importantly the language of the determiner
almost always matched the language of the verb and, therefore, the matrix language of
the clause, supporting the Bilingual NP Hypothesis.
Following up, Blokzijl, Deuchar, and Parafita Couto (2017) compared the entire Miami
corpus with data from sociolinguistic interviews with Spanish-English creole speakers in
Nicaragua, and found the opposite pattern of determiner use between the two corpora. In
the Nicaraguan corpus, all of the mixed DPs featured an English determiner, yet none
with a Spanish determiner were observed. But, similar to the pattern found in the Miami
corpus, the language of the determiner always matched the matrix language of the
utterance. A summary of the frequencies of these constructions in both corpora can be
found in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Nominal construction frequencies in the Bangor Miami Corpus and the
Nicaragua Corpus
Note: Noun phrases (NPs) are divided between mixed and unmixed, between those with a match between
the matrix language and the language of the determiner (match) or not (non-match), and between the
language of the determiner matching with the matrix language (Spanish or English).
Moving beyond purely Spanish-English studies, Parafita Couto and Gullberg (2019)
compared the language of the determiner in mixed DPs in corpora of Welsh-English,
Spanish-English, and Papiamento-Dutch bilingual speech. In each of these pairs, one of
the languages featured grammatical gender (Spanish, Welsh and Dutch) and the other did
not (English and Papiamento). Their results for Welsh-English DPs show a preference for
Welsh determiners, while Welsh was also the matrix language in all of the utterances. For
Papiamento-Dutch, Papiamento was the preferred language for the determiner and the
matrix language of all utterances. Finally, for Spanish-English, Spanish determiners were
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
predominantly preferred, and Spanish was the matrix language in the majority (79%) of
utterances. These results indicate an effect of the language of the morphosyntactic frame
on the choice of determiner, in alignment with the Bilingual NP Hypothesis (Jake, Myers-
Scotton & Gross, 2002). The presence of grammatical gender coincided with the language
of the determiner in Welsh-English and in Spanish-English, but not in Papiamento-Dutch,
contrary to predictions following Liceras et al. (2008) and Moro Quintanilla (2014). Table
2 provides an overview of recent studies and datasets, all of which show a match between
determiner and matrix language.
Table 2. Naturalistic production datasets showing a match between determiner and matrix
language in mixed determiner-noun constructions.
Data characteristics
Miami Corpus
85 adult speakers (52 female)
Collected in Miami, FL, US
Mixed NPs n=276
Herring et al. (2010):
subset of 5:27h (19
speakers) selected
Blokzijl, Deuchar, &
Parafita Couto (2017):
full corpus
Parafita Couto &
Gullberg (2017):
subset 5:27h/20 (19
speakers) selected
42 adult speakers
12 hours
Dyads or groups
Collected in 2006 in the South
Atlantic Coast area of
Mixed NPs n=142
Blokzijl, Deuchar, &
Parafita Couto (2017):
full corpus
Las Pláticas
14 adult speakers
10 hours
Collected in 2018 in New
Mexico, US
Mixed NPs n=259
(2020): full corpus
Three corpora
from the
15 child speakers
Ages (1;11 to 6;4)
Collected in Los Angeles, CA,
US, Michigan, US, and Spain
Mixed NPs n=202
(2020): full corpora
Siarad Corpus
151 adult speakers (81 female)
Collected at the Centre for
Research on Bilingualism,
Bangor, UK
Mixed NPs n=171
Parafita Couto &
Gullberg (2017):
subset of 18:40h /40
(42 speakers) selected
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
MPI Corpus
25 adult speakers (15 female)
3 hours
Four-party conversations
Collected at the MPI for
Psycholinguistics, the
Mixed NPs n=60
Parafita Couto &
Gullberg (2017):
subset of 3h (25
speakers) selected
Eppler’s 2003
corpus of
9 adult speakers
18:16 hours
Collected in London, UK
Mixed NPs n=187
Eppler, Luescher, &
Deuchar (2017): subset
of 18:16 hours (9
speakers) selected
Taken together, the corpora results highlight both a striking symmetry and asymmetry
across language pairs. They all show a co-occurrence of finiteness (i.e. the matrix
language) and the language of the determiner, contrary to the claims of lexicalist
approaches (Liceras et al., 2008; Moro Quintanilla, 2014). Yet despite the consistency
between the matrix language and the language of the determiner, different preferences for
the matrix language emerged across language pairs and communities. But why is this? It
has been suggested that differences could originate from social factors, such as the
language of power or prestige in a community (e.g. Blokzijl et al., 2017, Parafita Couto
& Gullberg, 2019).
Complementing the production data reported above, acceptability judgements have also
been collected. Since production frequency may not necessarily reflect ungrammaticality,
acceptability judgments can supplement naturalistic data with negative evidence against
dispreferred constructions. To this end, Parafita Couto and Stadthagen-González (2019)
manipulated the language of the determiner and the matrix language of Spanish-English
code-switched sentences, employing two types of acceptability judgement tasks: a
traditional Likert-scale acceptability judgement and a two-alternative forced-choice
acceptability judgement (2AFC) task. These tasks were compared in light of issues
identified with the use of acceptability judgments in code-switching research, as
traditional acceptability judgements might be sensitive to negative attitudes against code-
switching held by bilingual speakers. Both tasks yielded similar results, whereby
constructions with Spanish and English determiners were accepted in similar rates, as
long as the language of the determiner matched that of the matrix language of the clause.
The judgment results confirm those from the corpora, namely that the language of the
determiner in mixed DPs generally matches the matrix language, but that the choice of
matrix language may vary between communities and language pairs. This suggests that
bilingual communities do not always follow the same pattern, and that social rather than
grammatical factors may be at play in this asymmetry.
2.2 Gender of the determiner
If the determiner in a mixed DP comes from a gendered language (i.e. where gender is
marked on the determiner), then it must be marked for gender. It is often the case that the
noun comes from a genderless language, as in (2), an attested switch between gender-
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
marked Spanish elements and an English noun (marked in bold in the examples). While
masculine gender was used in (2), producing the same construction using feminine gender
would not alter the semantic content of the utterance (3). This line of research therefore
investigates whether bilingual speakers show a preference for one of the possible
combinatorial forms.
(2) todo el summer
all.MASC DET.MASC summer
the whole summer (Miami Corpus, herring 3, 211)
(3) toda la summer
all.FEM DET.FEM summer
the whole summer
Speakers may adopt one of the gender values and assign it to all other-language nouns, a
strategy referred to as the default. Naturalistic production data from Spanish-English
bilinguals in the Miami corpus shows that, in mixed determiner-noun constructions with
a Spanish determiner, the vast majority of the determiners carry masculine gender
(97.4%) compared to just 2.5% with a feminine determiner (Valdés Kroff, 2016). The
same pattern was found in the use of gender by 62 Spanish-English bilinguals in northern
Belize; almost every mixed construction (99.6%) contained a masculine determiner.
Notably, even feminine nouns with female animate referents, such as el Virgen Mary the
Virgin Mary and los nuns the nuns, were accompanied by masculine determiners
(Balam, 2016).
In addition to the (masculine) default, two other main gender assignment strategies have
been attested. First is assignment based on the gender of the translation equivalent of the
other-language noun (also called the analogical criterion): for example, the English noun
cookie may be assigned feminine gender (i.e. preceded by the feminine determiner la)
because its equivalent in Spanish, galleta, is a feminine noun (Delgado, 2018). Second,
we find assignment based on the (morpho-)phonological shape of the inserted noun. For
example, the Basque noun liburua book may be assigned feminine Spanish gender due
the presence of the final -a, a cue that canonically indicates feminine gender on Spanish
nouns (e.g., Parafita Couto et al., 2015).
The strategies employed by bilingual speakers in code-switching contexts vary, even
within the same language pair, depending on the tasks employed, the modality of testing
(written versus auditory), and the participant profiles. Table 4 illustrates this variation
with results from a number of previous studies involving Spanish as the gendered
Table 4. Summary of elicited production and acceptability judgement data on gender
assignment strategies in mixed Determiner-Noun constructions.
Main results
Parafita Couto et al.
Oral stimuli
4 lexical items
30 early bilinguals
(26 L1S-eL2B
bilinguals, 4
Feminine preferred (-
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
ending + analogical
Spanish dominant
Iriondo (2017)
Written stimuli
12 lexical items
(analogical gender)
12 L1S-eL2B
Spanish dominant
Analogical criterion
Badiola & Sande
Written stimuli
Forced choice task
20 lexical items
ending + analogical
21 simultaneous
Basque dominant
Phonological ending
Masculine preferred
Ezeizabarrena, de
Castro Arrazola &
Parafita Couto (In
director matcher
30 early sequential
bilinguals with
different profiles
and areas
L1 Spanish:
Analogical gender>
phonological ending
L1 Basque:
Phonological ending>
analogical gender
Bellamy, Parafita
Couto &
González (2018)
director matcher
task & 2 alternative
forced choice task
12 Purepecha
Spanish early
(Purepecha L1)
Production task:
masculine default
Judgment task:
phonological cue
No analogical gender
across communities
Bierings, Beatty
Martinez, Navarro
Torres, Dussias &
Parafita Couto
map task
Granada (Spain)
40 Spanish L1-
English L2 late
State College
40 Spanish-English
early bilinguals
(heritage Spanish)
San Juan, Puerto
10 Spanish-English
early bilinguals
(Spanish dominant
El Paso (Texas,
14 Spanish-English
early bilinguals
Granada & El Paso:
strategies divided
(analogical +
masculine assignment)
State College &
Puerto Rico:
masculine default
The more code-
switching in the
community, the more
the default strategy is
*AJ = Acceptability judgment task, EP = Elicited production.
We can observe that the analogical criterion is only favored by Spanish L1 bilinguals,
that is, by speakers who acquired the language with grammatical gender first (cf. Liceras
et al., 2008). This distribution of use of the analogical strategy seems to be consistent
across the communities sampled to date, indicating an effect of order of acquisition. In
contrast, the use of a default gender is widespread and its frequency appears to be related
to the frequency of CS in a community; more habitual code-switchers switch more than
non-habitual ones (Królikowska et al., 2019). Similar trends have also been noted for
Spanish, Papiamento and Turkish heritage bilinguals in The Netherlands (Boers et al.,
2020). For a comprehensive overview of gender assignment preferences in bilingual
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
communities and a discussion their possible conditioning factors, see Bellamy and
Parafita Couto (accepted).
2.2.1 Acquisition of gender assignment strategies
Differences within the same language pair, as well as the observed asymmetries they
produce, highlight the role of exposure to community norms during the acquisition of
code-switching patterns. Asymmetries such as the use of a default gender assignment
strategy are not obtained during the acquisition of the individual language systems (e.g.,
English and Spanish), but “must be learned amongst a community of codeswitchers”
(Valdés Kroff, 2016: 297). This raises the key question as to when these asymmetries are
acquired by bilingual children. To date, only a small number of studies have made a
detailed comparison of the specific morphosyntactic patterns found in corpora of adult
and child multilingual language usage (cf. Deuchar, forthcoming).
Recently, Balam, Lakshmanan and Parafita Couto (2021) investigated the production of
grammatical gender by 40 Spanish-English bilingual children (aged 7-8 and 10-11 in both
English immersion and two-way bilingual school programs) in Frog Story narratives in
Miami Dade, Florida. For unilingual Spanish constructions, the authors found that all
children used both feminine and masculine gender determiners, and produced gender
assignment errors in less than 5% of the recorded examples. This strongly suggests that
the children had successfully acquired the Spanish gender system. As for mixed DPs (n
= 220), children used predominantly masculine determiners (in 97.8% of instances), a
default pattern similar to that also reported for adult speakers in Miami (e.g., Valdés
Kroff, 2016). Therefore, these bilingual children seem to have acquired both the gender
system of the gendered language, Spanish, as well as the community patterns for the use
of (masculine) gender in code-switching mode, as early as the age of seven (cf. Liceras
et al., 2008 who find both analogical and default strategies amongst 2L1 Spanish-English
children in Spain).
We recommend that future research should use adult data to establish bilingual
communicative norms across communities, and then, assuming it is representative of the
community input to children, the children’s bilingual communicative patterns should be
studied in relation to the community norms. We expect that such an approach would
provide very different adult and, perhaps also child, language distribution patterns which
could be highly informative in cross-community comparisons.
3. Conflict sites: Adjective-noun order
In this section we will present conversational, judgment and EEG data to demonstrate
how bilingual speakers deal with conflicting linear orders of nouns and adjectives in
mixed NPs. Conflict sites in code-switching, as introduced by Poplack and Meechan
(1998: 132), are a form or class of forms which differs functionally, structurally, and/or
quantitatively across comparison varieties. The target structure here is a complex NP
comprising a determiner, an adjective and a noun. For instance, languages such as Dutch
typically favor an Adjective-Noun word order (4), whereas a Noun-Adjective word order
prevails in languages such as Papiamento (5).
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
(4) un refresco berde
DET drink green
‘a green drink’
(5) een groen drank-je
DET green drink-DIM
‘a green drink’
A switch between the noun and adjective (or vice versa in linear terms) would violate the
Equivalence Constraint (Poplack, 1980; Sankoff & Poplack, 1981) and should therefore
not occur. Yet naturalistic data shows that they clearly do; take the Papiamentu-Dutch un
dushi verblijf ‘a nice stay’, for example, where the Papiamentu adjective precedes the
Dutch noun, contrary to canonical unilingual constituent order (Parafita Couto &
Gullberg, 2019).
Different theoretical frameworks make competing predictions regarding which adjective-
noun linear orders would be attested and accepted in mixed complex NPs. For example,
within the Minimalist Program, Cantone and MacSwan (2009) arrive at the descriptive
generalization that the language of the adjective determines whether it appears before or
after the noun (cf. Cinque, 2005). In contrast, the morpheme-order principle within the
MLF states that adjective-noun order will match the word order of the matrix language
of the utterance, regardless of the language of the adjective (Myers-Scotton, 2002).
Let us begin with findings from naturalistic data. Mixed NPs containing a determiner,
noun and adjective from Welsh-English, Spanish-English, and Papiamento-Dutch
(where the first language of the pair has post-nominal adjectives and the second,
prenominal) showed that most switches occurred between the determiner and the
adjective-noun cluster, and that word order within those same language clusters
generally followed the language of the adjective (Parafita Couto & Gullberg, 2019).
However, in the nine instances with switches between noun and adjective, the matrix
language predicted the observed word order. Counterexamples to the predictions of
Catone and MacSwan (2009) were found in the Welsh-English and Papiamentu-Dutch
corpus, where English (n=1) and Dutch (n=6) adjectives in postnominal position.
Similar patterns were also observed in the naturalistic production data of Spanish-
English bilinguals in Northern Belize (Balam & Parafita Couto, 2019), as well as by
Spanish-English bilingual children and adults in the USA (Ramírez Urbaneja, 2020).
Parafita Couto, Deuchar and Fusser (2015) addressed the same phenomenon in Welsh-
English code-switching, using a multi-method approach that included the comparison of
naturalistic production data, elicited productions, and acceptability judgements. The
naturalistic production results show a preference for post-nominal adjectives (94.1%),
regardless of the language of the adjective. These results do not fully support a matrix
language or a generative based account of nominal word order. The authors point out that
since Welsh is the only matrix language found in the corpus, it is not possible to contrast
both models as the data generally adheres to the predictions of both models. Elicitation
data from a Director-Matcher Task (Gullberg et al., 2009) contained 168 mixed NPs
including an adjective. Just like in the naturalistic production data, in all instances Welsh
was also the matrix language. These mixed NPs included mostly English noun insertions
with post-nominal Welsh adjectives (n = 132), although combinations of a Welsh noun
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
and an English adjective (n = 15) as well as unilingual English constructions with post-
nominal adjectives (n = 13) were also recorded. The data from the judgment task was not
useful as participants rejected all stimuli, probably due to the stigmatized nature of code-
switching in this community.
Unlike production and judgment tasks, electrophysiological data has the potential to
measure more automatic reactions, as this technique appeals less to participants’
metalinguistic knowledge and attitudes. However, there is a scarcity of Event Related
Potential (ERP) studies examining switching between different items within the
sentence level (at a conflict site), where both semantic and syntactic information need to
be integrated. An initial study on Welsh-English mixed NPs by Parafita Couto et al.
(2017) compared sentences in which the word order supported the predictions of the
MLF (Myers-Scotton, 2002), of Cantone and MacSwan (2009), violated both
predictions, or supported both predictions. Sentences including a mixed nominal
construction were visually presented to participants (n = 20) word-by-word, and scalp
potentials were measured after the onset of the adjective. The authors found a larger
amplitude in the positive-going waveform peaking approximately 300ms following the
presentation of the adjective for the condition in which the MLF prediction was
supported, compared to the condition in which Cantone and MacSwan’s prediction was
supported. However, no significant differences in amplitude were found in the
comparison between the condition in which both predictions were supported versus the
one in which they were both rejected. One potential explanation for this result is that
participants were slightly more dominant in Welsh, and this might have lead them to
activate Welsh syntax in processing the stimuli where the morphosyntactic frame is
English but the noun adjective order is Welsh (Sanoudaki & Thierry, 2014). Another
factor that may explain the null results in this comparison is that the adjective occurred
in sentence-final position, which may lead to wrap-up effects (Hagoort et al., 2003).The
authors acknowledge this limitation and suggest that in a future study the inclusion of a
prepositional or adverbial phrase at the end of the sentence may help to settle these
ambiguous results.
A similar study was conducted for Papiamento-Dutch mixed NPs (Pablos et al., 2019).
Event-related potentials were also measured following the rapid serial visual presentation
to participants (n = 20) of sentences manipulated to fulfill the matrix language versus
adjective-based predictions. No significant difference at any latency or at any particular
location could be found in the analysis of the comparisons conducted. These results could
suggest that CS is not restricted at modification sites in Papiamentu-Dutch bilinguals (cf.
DiSciullo, 2014), or they might even suggest that CS is completely disallowed (cf.
Poplack’s (1980) Equivalence Constraint) in this community.
Following the methodological recommendations by Parafita Couto et al. (2017), Vaughan
Evans et al (2020) made a further attempt to use ERP data to reconcile theoretical
predictions in relation to linear adjective-noun order. They adapted the stimuli of Parafita
Couto et al. (2017) to avoid potential wrap-up effects, and also included additional
sentence conditions to make it possible to compare across different matrix languages. The
results reflect the switching pattern that has previously been reported in naturalistic
production in this bilingual community (Parafita Couto et al., 2015), namely a preference
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
for noun (rather than adjective) insertions. Moreover, the analyses also revealed that
predictions of the MLF and the Minimalist Program manifest differently depending on
the matrix language of the sentence: when the matrix language was Welsh, sentences that
violated both theoretical predictions required greater processing effort. However, when
the matrix language was English, ERP responses were not significantly modulated by
either set of predictions. It was concluded that the processing of code-switched structures
should reflect context-specific patterns that reveal themselves both in production and
grammatical judgments (e.g. Beatty-Martínez, Valdés Kroff & Dussias, 2018; Balam et
al., 2020).
The competing theoretical predictions have also been tested using judgment tasks.
Stadthagen-González, Parafita Couto, Párraga and Damian (2019) tested 42 early
Spanish-English bilingual employing both a 5 point Likert scale judgment task and a two
alternative forced choice task. Their results revealed an additive effect, as both the
language of the matrix language and the language of the adjective determine word
order. Voss (2018) replicated the same findings in a sample of PapiamentoDutch
bilinguals. These resuls suggest, as argued by Stadthagen-González et al. (2019) and Voss
(2018), that progress in our understanding of code-switching can be made by
incorporating observations from different frameworks rather than considering them in
Once again, we can observe strikingly similar patterns across communities. In production,
there is a clear avoidance of adjective-noun order switches and a preference for noun
insertions. Recent neurophysiological data for Welsh-English (Vaughan Evans et al.
2020) also indicate a preference for noun insertions, and seem to reflect production
patterns, which are guided by the matrix language of the utterance. Finally, judgment
tasks show an overall sensitivity to both the language of the adjective and of the matrix
language of the utterance. Noun insertions are preferred in this modality too, but where
an adjective is inserted, speaker preference is for it to follow the order of the language
from which is comes.
4. Creativity: Bilingual Verbs
Naturalistic productions from a range of language pairs have demonstrated that bilingual
speakers can combine an inflected auxiliary verb in one language (e.g., “do” or “make”)
and an infinitive from another language (e.g., Hindi/English Creole, Muysken, 2000;
Bengali/English, Chatterjee, 2012; Spanish/English Creole, Fuller Medina, 2005; Balam,
de Prada Pérez, & Mayans, 2014; Balam, 2015; Spanish/English, Jenkins, 2003;
Spanish/German, González Vilbazo, 2005; González Vilbazo & López, 2011). While
these constructions are prevalent cross-linguistically and have been proposed as a
potential universal property of code-switching (Edwards & Gardner Chloros, 2007), the
use of auxiliaries as light verbs may not be paralleled in the unilingual speech of the
languages involved. These constructions, labelled as “bilingual light verb constructions
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
(Balam, 2016), “bilingual compound verbs” (Edwards & Gardner-Chloros 2007), or “do-
constructions” (Myers-Scotton 2002), among others, pose the question of how bilingual
speakers may create code-switched constructions not readily explained by the grammars
of each language.
In Spanish, for instance, the monolingual verb hacer do, make can function both as a
lexical verb of creation and as a causative verb. When incorporated into German-Spanish
code-switching, hacer is also used as a light verb, losing much of its semantic content (4).
This use is, however, restricted to code-switching contexts (González Vilbazo, 2005;
González-Vilbazo & López, 2011). Note that the German verb is underlined.
(4) Vamos a hacer schreiben la Mathearbeit
go.1PL PREP do.INF write.INF DET.FEM maths.homework
‘We will write the maths homework.’
(Adapted from González Vilbazo, 2005: 202)
The absence of a unilingual hacer light verb cannot be explained by a lexical property of
the auxiliary if separate lexicons are assumed, since a Spanish verb cannot select for a
German verb that is not part of the Spanish lexicon. Indeed, González-Vilbazo and López
(2011) interpret hacer in mixed speech as a “last resort” realization of little v, whereas in
Spanish such a last resort is never necessary. Because bilingual verbs cannot be
understood solely on the characteristics of the corresponding monolingual verbs, it
becomes important to identify what other factors may modulate how these verbs are used
and how these constructions emerge.
In mixed verbs more generally, one language provides the auxiliary or light verb while
the other provides the lexical verb, as observed earlier in (4). Two principal constructions
are attested for mixed Spanish-English verbs: hacer ‘do, make’ + VINF (5) and estar ‘be’
+ VINF (6).
(5) Nunca he hecho witness un girls’ fight
never have.1SG do-PASTPART witness-INF a girls’ fight
‘I have never witnessed a girls’ fight.’ (Balam, Prada Perez, & Mayans, 2014: 254)
(6) Estaba training para pelear
be.IMPF.3SG training to fight.INF
‘He was training to fight.’ (Adapted from Pfaff, 1979: 296)
In the naturalistic production of Spanish-English bilinguals, the hacer + VINF construction
is attested in Belize (Balam, 2015, 2016; Balam, Prada Pérez & Mayans, 2014), as well
as in the southwestern USA (Reyes, 1982; Jenkins, 2003; Vergara Wilson, 2013; Vergara
Wilson & Dumont, 2015). In contrast, estar + VINF combinations are attested infrequently
in both the Miami corpus (n = 7) and 88 entries of La Calentita: Gibraltar’s National
Dish, an editorial column from the Gibraltarian newspaper Panorama (n = 8; Guzzardo
Tamargo, 2012).
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
However, while there may be some cross-community differences in oral production, these
differences may not necessarily be present at the level of judgment. To assess this possible
discrepancy, Balam, Parafita Couto and Stadthagen-González (2020) ran a two alternative
forced choice task with a total of 106 Spanish-English bilinguals in northern Belize (n =
44), New Mexico (n = 32) and Puerto Rico (n = 30). The task comprised 72 items (36 test
items and 36 fillers), controlled for tense, sentence length, lexical verb type, as previous
work suggests that light verb constructions in contact Spanish primarily occur with
transitive verbs (see Balam, 2015, 2016; Vergara Wilson & Dumont 2015). The four test
conditions, including examples of each, were as follows:
(A) Hacer+ VProg: [hace auditing] el report.
(B) Estar+VInf: [está audit] el report.
(C) Hacer+VInf: [está haciendo audit] el report.
(D) Estar+VProg: [está auditing] el report.
All groups accepted the estar bilingual construction, which has structural equivalents in
both languages. Results for hacer, however, show different preferences in different
communities. While bilinguals from northern Belize consider hacer + Vinf constructions
the most acceptable, speakers from New Mexico preferred estar + Vprog, followed by
hacer + Vinf constructions. Finally, Puerto Rican bilinguals strongly rejected all
conditions, except estar + Vprog constructions. From a formal perspective, the
acceptability of hacer (as an overt manifestation of little v (González Vilbazo & López
2011) seems to be tied to its exposure and use in naturalistic speech. There are also more
sociolinguistic implications: As the northern Belize and Puerto Rican groups show
opposite preferences, it may be that intuitions about bilingual verbs may be community-
specific, being influenced by participants previous exposure to these different forms.
The combination of production and acceptability judgement data on bilingual verbs
across Spanish-English bilingual communities indicates that this phenomenon, previously
proposed as a code-switching universal (Edwards & Gardner Chloros, 2007), is also
subject to the effect of the differential exposure bilingual speakers have to each structure.
Results from specific communities, such as Belize, further indicate that the frequency and
productivity of bilingual verbs can be subject to other language-external factors (Balam,
5. Conclusion
The case studies provided in the previous sections highlight that, for each code-
switching phenomenon, we can observe both uniformity and variability. For determiner-
noun switches, the co-occurrence of finiteness and determiner in the same language (i.e.
the matrix language) occurs across communities, whereas the choice of matrix language
varies. The translation equivalent strategy of gender assignment in mixed NPs is
preferred among bilinguals whose L1 possesses gender, whereas the strategy applied
can vary between language communities and pairs according to the bilingual profile, CS
Parafita Couto, M. Carmen, Miriam Greidanus Romeli & Kate Bellamy. 2021. Code-switching at the
interface between language, culture, and cognition, Lapurdum: Basque Studies Review.
frequency and the tasks completed. In terms of linear noun-adjective order, we see a
preference for noun insertions across the board, as well as for the adjective and noun to
be in the same language - switches between these two constituents are not common.
However, variation in this mixed structure is yet to be described in detail. As for
bilingual verbs, studies across several communities of the same language pair have
revealed the estar + VPROG construction to be the most acceptable, but the presence and
acceptability of hacer + VINF to be acceptable to varying degrees, depending on the
patterns previously reported in production in these communities.
From this review of asymmetry and conflict sites in the nominal domain, as well as
creativity in the verbal domain, we aimed to address the extent to which these code-
switching phenomena vary or remain stable across language pairs and communities.
These findings strongly suggest that asymmetries are due to extralinguistic factors, such
as community norms, rather than structural properties of the participating languages. By
presenting results stemming from different data collection mechanisms, we have also
demonstrated how a multi-method approach provides a more robust overview of patterns
underpinning code-switching behavior. In order to probe these interactions between
linguistic and extra-linguistic factors further, we have shown that more research is
needed, in both the nominal and verbal domains, across language pairs, between the same
language pair but across communities, as well as in the same language pair but between
individuals, namely adults vs. children. By building a stronger - and more coordinated -
evidence base, we can begin to better understand the nature of bilingual interactions,
which will enable us to ultimately build better models of language competence.
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... Yet these constraints are often based on data from a small number of language pairs, sometimes just (one community of) Spanish-English speakers. Studies focusing on the same constraint or switch site may also use different methodologies, making their results less comparable and thus the overall claims less convincing (see, e.g., Parafita Couto et al. (2021) for an overview). Moreover, there is an expanding body of evidence to indicate that code-switching patterns are also modulated by community norms (e.g., Blokzijl et al. (2017)). ...
... Code-switched language reveals combinatorial possibilities that would otherwise be hidden in monolingual speech, and so is vital for refining grammatical theory (see Vanden Wyngaerd (2021) for an overview). In addition, the results highlight both the advantage and the need for data to be collected using multiple methods (see also Parafita Couto et al. (2021); Gullberg et al. (2009)). More extensive, comparable data will help us to tease apart the relationship between acceptability and usage patterns. ...
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In early studies, code-switches between a subject pronoun and a finite verb were considered highly dispreferred or even impossible. However, naturalistic data from several language pairs has since highlighted that such switches are possible, although their grammaticality is constrained by the typology of the pronouns involved. In this study, we test the switching constraints postulated for subject pronouns-verbs among P’urhepecha-Spanish bilinguals (n = 12) from Michoacán, western Mexico. Using a two-alternative forced-choice acceptability judgement task (2AFC), we found that, contrary to expectations, switches between a third person singular pronoun and a verb were considered the most acceptable, followed by the coordinated ‘you and I’ second person, then the first person singular. The same order was found for both switch directions, despite third-person pronouns in P’urhepecha having a stronger typological profile. Building on the results of previous studies, we suggest that the lack of preference for a single switch direction is evidence for language-specific code-switching patterns, as well as possible differences in productive vs. receptive language. Additionally, we highlight the probative value of judgement data, particularly those emerging from 2AFC tasks, as a means of expanding our understanding of grammaticality in code-switching.
... The correlation between proficiency and likelihood of code-switching might not be generalizable to children in all bilingual communities. See for example Bosma and Blom (2019) and Parafita Couto et al. (2021) for the importance of taking the bilingual community and norms in the bilingual community into account when formulating generalizations on code-switching or of the absence of code-switching all together (Dogruöz et al. 2021). ...
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This paper investigates code-switching in young multilingual children through a qualitative analysis. Our aim was to examine which types of code-switches occur and to categorize these in terms of children’s motivations for code-switching. Data were collected from 70 children aged two to three years who attended Dutch-English daycare in the Netherlands where teachers adopted a one-teacher-one-language approach. We observed seven types of code-switches. Motivations for code-switching related to social, metalinguistic, lexical, or conversational factors. These data indicate that young children can tailor their language choices towards the addressee, suggesting a certain level of meta-linguistic awareness and perspective taking. Implications for computational approaches are discussed.
This study focuses on unveiling the strategies involved in gender assignment in codeswitching between two gendered languages: Dutch (common/neuter gender) and Portuguese (masculine/feminine gender). We draw on naturalistic speech ( n = 32 speakers), elicited production ( n = 35) as well as intuitional data ( n = 57) from Dutch/Portuguese bilinguals stemming from three communities in Paraná, Southern Brazil, aiming to disentangle the relative roles of linguistic and extralinguistic factors on gender assignment. In unilingual Dutch, we find that Dutch/Portuguese bilinguals overgeneralize common determiners and adjectives to neuter nouns, similarly to other Dutch bilinguals outside the Netherlands (Clyne 1977; Clyne and Pauwels 2013 ; Folmer 1991 ; Giesbers 1997 ). In codeswitched constructions, however, speakers assign common and masculine gender as defaults, in line with the prediction that speakers of language pairs with no gender values in common prefer gender defaulting in mixed constructions ( Klassen 2016 ). While extralinguistic factors such as age and relative use of the languages shaped unilingual Dutch production, the patterns during codeswitching were conventionalized across the speaker sample.
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Here, we used event-related potentials to test the predictions of two prominent accounts of code-switching in bilinguals: The Matrix Language Framework (MLF; Myers-Scotton, 1993) and an application of the Minimalist Programme (MP; Cantone and MacSwan, 2009). We focused on the relative order of the noun with respect to the adjective in mixed Welsh-English nominal constructions given the clear contrast between pre-and post-nominal adjective position between Welsh and English. MP would predict that the language of the adjective should determine felicitous word order (i.e., English adjectives should appear pre-nominally and Welsh adjectives post-nominally). In contrast, MLF contends that it is the language of the finite verb inflexion rather than that of a particular word that governs felicitous word order. To assess the predictions of the two models, we constructed sentences featuring a code-switch between the adjective and the noun, that complied with either English or Welsh word-order. Highly proficient Welsh-English bilinguals made semantic acceptability judgements upon reading the last word of sentences which could violate MP assumptions, MLF assumptions, both assumptions, or neither. Behaviourally, MP violations had no significant effect, whereas MLF violations induced an average drop of 11% in acceptability judgements. Neurophysiologically, MP violations elicited a significant Left Anterior Negativity (LAN) modulation, whereas MLF violations modulated both P600 and LAN mean amplitudes. In addition, there was a significant interaction between MP and MLF status in the P600 range: When MP was violated, MLF status did not matter, and when MP criteria were met, MLF violations resulted in a P600 modulation. This interaction possibly reflects a general preference for noun over adjective insertions, and may provide support for MLF over MP at a global sentence processing level. Model predictions also manifested differently in each of the matrix languages (MLs): When the ML was Welsh, MP and MLF violations elicited greater P600 mean amplitudes than MP and MLF adherences, however, this pattern was Frontiers in Psychology | 1 November 2020 | Volume 11 | Article 549762 Vaughan-Evans et al. Code-Switching and ERPs not observed when the ML was English. We discuss methodological considerations relating to the neuroscientific study of code-switching, and the extent to which our results shed light on adjective-noun code-switching beyond findings from production and experimental-behavioural studies.
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Objectives/research questions We investigate two understudied bilingual compound verbs that have been attested in Spanish/English code-switching; namely, ‘ hacer + V Inf ’ and ‘ estar + V Prog ’. Specifically, we examined speakers’ intuitions vis-à-vis the acceptability and preferential use of non-canonical and canonical hacer ‘to do’ or estar ‘to be’ bilingual constructions among bilinguals from Northern Belize, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. Methodology Speakers from Northern Belize ( n = 44), New Mexico ( n = 32) and Puerto Rico ( n = 30) completed a two-alternative forced-choice acceptability task and a language background questionnaire. Data and analysis The data were examined using an analysis of variance and Thurstone’s Law of Comparative Judgment. Conclusions Whereas Northern Belizean bilinguals gave the highest ratings to ‘ hacer + V Inf ’, both groups of US bilinguals gave preferential ratings to ‘ estar + V Prog ’ bilingual constructions. On the other hand, Puerto Rican bilinguals gave the highest preferential ratings to the canonical estar bilingual compound verbs (i.e. estar + an English progressive verb) but rejected hacer bilingual compound verbs. While ‘ hacer + V Inf ’ and ‘ estar + V Prog ’ may represent variants that are available to Spanish/English bilinguals, the present findings suggest a community-specific distribution, in which hacer bilingual compound verbs are consistently preferred over estar bilingual compound verbs in Northern Belize, whereas estar bilingual constructions are preferred among US bilinguals. Originality This is the first cross-community examination of these bilingual compound verbs in Northern Belize (Central America/Caribbean), New Mexico (Southwest US) and Puerto Rico (US/Caribbean), three contexts in the Spanish-speaking world characterized by long-standing Spanish/English language contact and the use of bilingual language practices. Implications Findings underscore the importance of bilingual language experience in modulating linguistic competence and the necessity to study code-switching from a language ecological perspective, as subtle context-specific patterns in code-switching varieties may be manifested not only in bilingual speakers’ oral production but in intuition as well. A more fine-grained understanding of speakers’ judgments is vital to experimental studies that seek to investigate code-switching grammars both within and across communities where code-switching varieties of the same language pair are spoken.
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In Papiamento-Dutch bilingual speech, the nominal construction is a potential 'conflict site' if there is an adjective from one language and a noun from the other. Adjective position is pre-nominal in Dutch (cf. rode wijn 'red wine') but post-nominal in Papiamento (cf. biña kòrá 'wine red'). We test predictions concerning the mechanisms underpinning word order in noun-adjective switches derived from three accounts: (i) the adjective determines word order (Cantone & MacSwan, 2009), (ii) the matrix language determines word order (Myers-Scotton, 1993, 2002), and (iii) either order is possible (Di Sciullo, 2014). An analysis of spontaneous Papiamento-Dutch code-switching production (Parafita Couto & Gullberg, 2017) could not distinguish between these predictions. We used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to measure online comprehension of code-switched utterances. We discuss how our results inform the three theoretical accounts and we relate them to syntactic coactivation and the production-comprehension link.
This chapter takes a critical approach to what we know about the role of the input in multilingual development in early childhood. We include a historical background on competing theoretical approaches to language acquisition in which we argue that usage-based approaches gained traction through the attention paid to input in multilingual acquisition studies. However, in reviewing such studies we draw attention to the limitations of their focus on parental rather than community input. We also draw attention to the need to go beyond the binary distinction of simultaneous and successive acquisition and take into account more fully the child’s age of acquisition in relation to the development of specific areas of language. We review the findings on the link between code-switching or mixing in the input and child productions, pointing out the range of different methodological approaches in identifying mixing. We advocate a more child-centred approach in which the morphosyntactic frame of the child’s utterance is taken into account, and illustrate this with our own study. Finally we argue that future studies should include full ethnographic information about the community setting in which multilingual acquisition takes place.
Cambridge Core - Cognitive Linguistics - Bilingual Grammar - by Luis López
Objectives This study investigates the switching of a noun or a determiner in mixed noun phrases, such as “ una little pumpkin,” to test predictions from two theoretical frameworks, the Matrix Language Frame model (MLF) and the Minimalist Approach (MA) and examines whether there is a difference between child and adult code-switching (CS) patterns in order to understand children’s acquisition of grammatical patterns in general. Methodology All tokens of mixed noun phrases (NPs) were extracted from three bilingual child corpora and one bilingual adult corpus. The finite verb (matrix language) of each utterance was also analyzed to test predictions. Data and analysis Four hundred sixty-one mixed NPs were extracted from 15 Spanish-English bilingual children and 14 Spanish-English bilingual adults. Findings Results support both the MLF and the MA since in more than 80% of our data, the language of the determiner matched the language of the finite verb morphology and the language with the most phi features. Originality This is the first study to compare children’s and adults’ mixed NPs, testing predictions from the MLF and MA theories. It also provides new evidence for the acquisition of CS constraints in early bilingual language development. Implications This study demonstrates that, like adults, children’s mixed NPs are subject to grammatical constraints. Some examples show that children produce mixed NPs immediately after hearing their caregivers produce the same NP, but in one language only. This supports the conclusion that children’s mixed NP patterns follow generalized constraints and are not item-based imitations of what they hear. Limitations Future research should more carefully examine the CS patterns of caregivers and members of the community with whom children interact to decipher the role of input. This would help answer the question of how children acquire CS patterns.
Bi hizkuntzatako elementu lexikoak edota gramatikalak hizketaldi bereantxertatzeari hainbat izen eman zaizkio literaturan. Ingelesez code-switching (CS) eta code-mixing (CM) esan izan zaio: azkeneko horrek, CMk,nahasketa kutsua dauka eta CSk, aldiz, txandakatzeari gehiago egiten dioerreferentzia. Euskaraz ere hainbat deitura hartu izan ditu fenomeno honek.Kode-alternantzia (Amonarriz 2008, Ezeizabarrena 2014), hizkuntza-lerratzea;(Epelde & Oyharçabal 2013), kode-trukaketa (Rotaetxe 1999), zein kode-aldaketa(Aurrekoetxea & Unamuno 2011). Elebidunak diren gizarteetan oso ohikoaeta zabaldua den fenomenoa da, hizkuntza-ukipenaren ondoriozko fenomenobat baitugu.Lan honetan sintagma barruko KA aztertuko da eta euskara-gaztelaniaDeterminatzaile Sintagma (DS) nahasiei erreparatuko zaie, batez ere hizketaldikohizkuntza nagusia gaztelania denean euskarazko DS nahasiak txertatzeari.