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Code-switching

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

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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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4. Functional factors on CS

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Most of what has been discussed so far on CS has been based on a mainly linguistic perspective; namely, how linguistic characteristics of involved languages constraint CS when speakers code-switch. This chapter attempts to address some of the social and psychological factors that involve and influence the occurrence of CS. It is strongly argued that CS between languages is not only constrained by linguistic factors, but that the choice of codes is narrowly constrained by social norms as well.

It is argued that the speaker’s pragmatic competence enables bilinguals to determine the choice of one language over the other in a particular interaction. Studies show that bilinguals make their language choice on the basis of a number of factors such as with whom, about what, and when and where a speech act occurs. For example, Ritchie and Bhatia (2004: 339) point to four factors that determine language choice and mixing on the part of bilinguals:

(1) The social roles and relationships of the participants

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