Proceedings of the LCTG3 Conference
Gerald Stell (Free University of Brussels / Research Foundation Flanders / University of Pretoria): Language alternation and ethnicity in a post-colonial context: code-switching as a ‘non-White’ register in South Africa
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Language alternation and ethnicity in a post-colonial context: code-switching as a ‘non-White’ register in South Africa
Considerable attention has already been given to patterns of frequent code-switching in African contexts, not least through Myers-Scotton’s extensive study of Kenyan Swahili-English code-switching. In its grammatical forms, African code-switching has been analysed mostly in terms of structural predictability, rather than in terms of extralinguistic predictability. In this paper I want to present patterns of language alternation involving indigenous South African languages and English in a corpus of informal spoken data collected among students from three different ethnic communities in Bloemfontein, Free State, namely Black Sesotho-speakers, Coloured Afrikaans-speakers and White Afrikaans-speakers. Comparing patterns of code-switching across these three groups has one purpose: To illustrate the role that ethnicity, either as a habitus, or as a situational construct, plays as a factor determining grammatical forms of code-switching, and to show to what extent it can in this regard challenge predictions made on the basis of purely structural factors.