Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1993 00:41:53 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: modren metathesis Don-- Thanks for your confirmation. In thinking further about the topic I was reminded of the long-standing use of the term "primitive" in anthropology, which, no matter how ideologically relativistic anthropologists were, still resonated in the popular consciousness as "inferior"; we are still reaping the consequences of that reinforcement of racism by even well-meaning anthropolo- gists (leaving aside those who were willing agents of colonialism). Using the term "mixing" to label any kind of multiple-code alternation is of the same order, unless there is clear clinical evidence that a speaker genuinely is not able to distinguish the two codes: if this were in fact true, the alter- nation would be predictably random, which it is not, except in the earliest stages of childhood bilingualism, in which various researchers have shown evidence that children have merged lexicons, with synonymous lexemes. This is normally a transient stage, however, before the codes are sorted out. To repeat for those recent to the discussion, most U.S. linguists use "code-switching" as a general term embracing code-alternation BETWEEN sentences and WITHIN sentences. The former is called INTER-SENTENTIAL code-switching, the latter INTRA-SENTENTIAL code-switching. While these are not particularly graceful terms, they are clear and consistent. Certain linguists, primarily among my friends at the U of Illinois (Urbana) in the U.S. and a number of European linguists who have either taken their lead from them or vice-versa (I am not sure which way the etiology goes), use the following terms: "code-switching" = INTER-SENTENTIAL code-switching "code-mixing" = INTRA-SENTENTIAL code-switching In this usage, "code-switching" is narrowed in meaning to non-syntactic use, and syntactic switching is called "mixing". While the awkwardness and similarity of the INTER-/INTRA- distinction cry out for a more perceptibly distinctive labeling, "mixing" is absolutely the wrong term to use. It is interesting to observe that almost all of the people who use "mixing" are not native to U.S. society and have not had the kind of experience which would enable them to understand the pejorative social consequences of the term. That is why the history of the term "primitive" came to mind, and suggests the way that scholars coming from formerly colonial areas may have picked up some of the terms and concepts of the colonizers without being aware of it, and without being aware of the oppression underlying the terminology which seems to be used in a "value-free" way. Just as there is no free lunch, there is no "value-free" social research. To repeat: social scientists are socially responsible to those they study. This includes linguists. --Rudy Troike