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Code-Switching, Languages in Contact and Electronic Writings

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Edited By Foued Laroussi

The aim of this book is not to revisit work done on code-switching as a verbal strategy, but to discuss code-switching in electronic writing. Sociolinguistic approaches have focused mainly on the analysis of oral productions. What is the position with regard to writing and, more specifically, electronic writing? In this collection dealing with code-switching situations in electronic writing the contributors give answers to the following major question: what happens when multilingual writers who belong to social networks, virtual or otherwise, communicate among themselves in one or more common languages? Special attention is given to code-switching both in CMCs (Computer-Mediated Communications) and in mobile phone use. Given the constraints inherent in both types of communication, the written productions they give rise to do not show the same features and therefore do not call for the same treatment.

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Most mornings when I come into my office, the first thing I do is to switch on the computer and check incoming emails. On a typical day, I would receive messages from the Far East, from North America, from Australia and from Europe. These messages make me feel that I am in touch with the world. On the odd days when the college computer system is shut down for maintenance, or there is a genuine problem with the computer, I feel lost. I would go to the departmental office and speak to other colleagues, who would look similarly at a loss as to what to do. We are all so dependent on Internet and electronic communications; we can’t live or work without them anymore. We depend on the Internet and other electronic re- sources for information, often as both the first and the last resort. Internet and electronic communications do not simply mean new tools for exchanging information, but new ways to communicate with people. They add a powerful new channel that changes the way we interact with other people and impacts on the relationships we build with others. For example, they allow us to combine different media – text, graphics, sound, video, etc. – into a single mes- sage. That can result in far more meaningful communications tailored to the nature of one’s particular audience. Internet and electronic communications are increas- ingly interactive, engaging the participants in active, two-way communications. They create a new sense of closeness and relatedness,...

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