Show Less
Restricted access

Structural Aspects of Bilingual Speech

A Case Study of Language Use in the Russian Immigrant Community in Israel


Elena Gasser

The goal of the present study was to identify, describe and account for bilingual (Russian-Hebrew) varieties spoken in the Russian immigrant community in Israel. In order to achieve this complex goal, an interdisciplinary approach was chosen based on a combination of linguistic, psychological and sociological disciplines. The analysis of bilingual data has shown that there were three main types of bilingual varieties in use. The varieties were distinguished on the basis of the dominant patterns of language mixing (showing the evidence of a general shift from insertional to alternational CS) as well as of the directionality of CS. The three main speech styles were partly related to their speakers’ generational memberships. However, the differences in speech styles were not so much the function of generational affiliations, as of the actual linguistic behavior in the immigrants’ social lives. The variations within generational cohorts were better accounted for in terms of these speakers’ identities, attitudes and habitual language choices.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

6 Chapter IV: Generalizations


The corpus of data has been analyzed and the quantitative figures for each conversation and individual speaker have been presented. Now we are in a position to make some generalizations. Table 10 provides an overview of individual speech styles manifested in different conversations.

Table 10: Quantitative Data across Conversations

(Ta = Tamara, Zh = Zhenia, Alx = Alex, Lid moth = Lida's mother, Ma = Marina, Ka = Katia, Lid = Lida,Le = Lena 1, Yu = Yulia, Sa = Sasha, Len = Lena 2, Di = Diana, Da = Danik)

← 155 | 156 →

A first glance at Table 10 reveals the following picture: As we move from left to right side on the scale, the number of switches increases, reaching the highest point in the Ira’s data. Then it slowly but surely decreases, reaching its lowest point in Danik’s speech. There is a clear opposition between speakers listed on the left and the right side of the table with respect to the types as well as the proportion of CS in their speech. Those listed on the right display more variability in their CS patterns. They also show a tendency to switch more alternationally than the speakers on the left end of the scale. Other parameters that divide participants into separate groups are the directionality of CS and the presence versus absence of the signs of convergence/attrition in their data. Code switching to Russian starts to gain in importance beginning with Lena’s (Alex’ wife, i.e. not Lena 2) data. Lena s speech can also...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.