Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 08:05:00 EST
From: "Dennis.Preston" 22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.BITNET
Subject: Re: AWAKE! Etc.
Dan Goodman's query about code-switching reminds me of some of our earlier
conversations on this list concerning the sociolinguistic-psycholinguistic
basis of different varieties. I will return to that. First, of course, one
might (more or less) arbitrarily decide what a 'code' is and then determine
code-switching. In case three (assuming 'takke' has not been incorporated into
English), I think nearly everybody would agree that moving from one langauge
to another is code-switching.
In case one, if 'black tea' and 'regular' tea are geogrphical alternates, one
might also suggest that moving from one regional variety to another is a good
example of code-switching.
In case three (where Manhattan KANSAS is required (pragmatically)), I suspect
that many would deny such shifts code-switching status. Consider a simpler
situation: My wife asks 'Who called?' and I answer 'Rudy' (because we know
only on e Rudy; she later asks 'Who called?' and I answer 'Bill Kretzschmar'
(because we know lots of Bills). It would be a big stretch to say that I was
code-switching between first and first plus last name reference.
Left out, however, are cases of switching along a stylistic continuum. 'Have
you eaten yet'; 'Did you eat yet'; 'Dija eachet'; 'Jeechet.' Do you want to
name positions on such a continuum different 'codes'? If so, these are
examples of switching. (I'm not fond of that decision for reasons I'll come
Finally, how ab out the forms of switching known as 'metaphjoric'? IN these,
one appears to move to another 'vareity' not because of external pressures
(e.g., a more or less formal situation) but because of an internal desire to
make some point or even accomplish some action (e.g., speaking more casually
to let interlocutors know you are just plain folks). And, just like in
discussions of metaphor in general, when do such shifts become so
conventionalized that they are no longer seen as metaphoric (in which case,
they might no longer be examples of code switching).
Really finally, we might devise a more formal approach to code-switching if we
only knew a little more about the psycholinguistics of variety. Although such
research has been common in SLA and bilingual studies, it seems to have been
short-changed by Chomskean declarations that every style in every speaker is a
'different grammar.' (That is a necessary construct, of course, is one needs
an ideal native speaker/hearer.) If you don't believe that (and Occam and I
don't), then there are interesting possibilities for investigation. When is
there a psycholinguitically different grammar. If not between styles, between
what? Maybe there are 'core' versus 'peripheral' grammatical differences in
variety differences (intra- and inter-speaker).
I don't know what code-switching is becuase I don't know what a code is.
Dennis Preston 22709mgr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]msu.bitnet