Article

Research Methods into Language/Code Switching and Synthesis of Findings into Theory

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Abstract

While language switching among multilinguals has been studied in a wide variety of contexts, few attempts have been made to generalize or to integrate findings into useful communication theory. Since language switching is an important part of personal as well as group identity and since issues surrounding language identity are often a focal point of interethnic conflict, the speech act of switching language merits a more concentrated study. This can be accomplished through such techniques as ethnographic description, consisting of participant observation, interviewing, and breaching experiments; conversation analysis of bilingual interaction; and examination of communication behavior through literature. Such diverse methods of study, however, are only a first step. An approach is needed that can integrate research findings into a useful intercultural theory and that may also be incorporated into education training in the field. Such a research direction can be provided by frame analysis, which offers a set of terms that describe metacommunication through language and code switching, and by multiple analysis research which approaches a communication event from several diverse perspectives simultaneously. (HOD)

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