Grammatical aspects of codeswitching in Farsi-English bilingual speech: a case study of Iranian immigrants in the UK

Ali, Barzan Jaafar (2019) Grammatical aspects of codeswitching in Farsi-English bilingual speech: a case study of Iranian immigrants in the UK. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Since the 1970s, researchers have examined structural constraints on codeswitching in order to establish how typologically dissimilar languages interact in bilingual speech. This thesis explores grammatical aspects of code switching in Farsi-English bilingual speech, based on a case study of Iranian immigrants in Brighton, UK. The research addresses the following research questions:
1. To what extent does the Farsi-English data offer support for the idea that there is an asymmetric relationship between the two languages involved in codeswitching (Myers-Scotton 1993)?
2. How do the grammatical components of the typologically dissimilar languages Farsi and English interact in bilingual speech?
3. Overall, which model of the structural aspects of code switching most accurately predicts the patterns found in the Farsi-English data?
Participants in this study were 20 Farsi-English bilinguals aged 18-30 resident in the UK for at least six years. Two types of data were collected: a questionnaire to establish linguistic and relevant non-linguistic backgrounds of the participants, and a dataset of bilingual utterances selectively transcribed from recordings of spontaneous conversation between participants.
The findings offer substantial evidence for asymmetry between the two languages, with Farsi functioning predominantly as the matrix language as a consequence of the unbalanced bilingual status of the participants. The vast majority of utterances containing codeswitches are characterised by Farsi word order and Farsi grammatical elements, establishing Farsi as the matrix language.
The findings also demonstrate that where the two languages have similar structures, codeswitching is unconstrained. In contrast, where the two languages differ in structure, Farsi as the matrix language determines the structure.
Finally, the findings also demonstrate that most existing models of codeswitching are wholly or partly inadequate in their predictions, and that with very few exceptions. I therefore suggest some revisions to these models, arriving at an approach that retains the assumption of asymmetry between the two languages, but that less narrowly restricts the distribution of early and bridge late system grammatical morphemes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0101 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar > P0115 Bilingualism. Multilingualism > P0115.3 Code switching
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 14:24
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 14:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84491

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