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A Case Study of Kurdish-German Pre-school Bilingual Children


Baban Mohamed

The state of acquiring more than one language as a child or an adult is not the exception; it is rather an everyday reality for a quite substantial part of today’s society. This book explores the phenomenon of code-switching within the field of child bilingualism from both linguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives. Based on collected data from Kurdish-German pre-school bilingual children in Austria, this empirical study aims at giving an analysis of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors that constrain child code-switching. The book shows specific interest in practices of code switching and mixing as displayed by Kurdish subjects of the study and in how far these can be sufficiently explained by existing models of (adult) bilingual language behavior. The results clearly show that code-switching can be related to the identity and characteristics of the speakers or to aspects of their social life, and that it can be subconsciously used to manage conflict when different languages are associated with different roles in a community.
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3. Linguistic factors on CS


In general, studies on bilingualism and CS deal with the description and analysis of CS from two different perspectives. Various studies show that the occurrence of CS is governed by both structural intra-linguistic factors and extra-linguistic factors such as social and situational.

A range of literature on CS focuses on social and pragmatic functions of CS. It has been recognized that a variety of social factors constrain CS, such as setting, topic and degree of competence in both languages. However, the grammatical perspective is primarily concerned with accounting for the linguistic constraints on CS, and for this purpose researchers try to formulate general constraints on CS. In this regard, studies try to describe the nature of bilingual grammar and to find out how two grammatical systems of a bilingual’s two languages interact.

In this chapter and also in chapter 4, both linguistic and extra-linguistic factors of CS will be discussed in detail. First, the focus of the theoretical discussion will be on the more purely linguistic factors. Second, in chapter 4, attention will be paid to the social and functional factors of CS which, by some researchers, are considered as the strongest constraints on the occurrence of CS.

The two chapters aim to incorporate both linguistic and functional factors into a possible single model to account for CS behaviour. As researchers argue, it is only by linking ethnographic behaviour with linguistic analysis that CS behaviour can be most adequately explained.

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