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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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9. Constraints on Kurdish-German CS data


This chapter shall present further analysis on the collected data. The collected data will be discussed with respect to the main linguistic constraints and the hypothesis of the MLF model that have been proposed to account for the occurrence of code-switched utterances.

9.1. Universal constraints

9.1.1. The free morpheme constraint

This constraint is based on the distinction between bound and free morphemes. In addition to what has been discussed in (, Poplack (2000: 222) stresses that the free morpheme constraint suggests that “switches should not occur across a morpheme boundary where a morpheme appears at the end of a multiword fragment in the other language”.

However, in the data of this study a lot of number of switches can be observed that clearly violate the free morpheme constraint. Quite on the opposite to Poplack’s case study where she found no examples of switches occurred between bound morphemes and free morphemes, mentioned in (, in the data of this study the majority of switches consist of German bound morphemes in combination with Kurdish free morphemes. ← 97 | 98 →

Figure 3: The Free Morpheme Constrain

Figure 3 shows the number of counterexamples to the free morpheme constraint in the data. This number also includes the data which have been produced by the non-target subjects of the observation, namely parents and adults whose interactions with the children were also tape-recorded.

As can be seen in figure 3, more...

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