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Code-mixing refers to the mixing of two or more languages or language varieties in speech. Some scholars use the terms "code-mixing" and "code-switching" interchangeably, especially in  studies of syntax, morphology, and other formal aspects of language. Others assume more specific definitions of code-mixing, but these specific definitions may be different in different subfields of linguistics, education theory,communications etc. Code-mixing is similar to the use or creation of pidgins; but while a pidgin is created across groups that do not share a common language, code-mixing may occur within a multilingual setting where speakers share more than one language. Code-mixing as code-switching Some linguists use the terms code-mixing and code-switching more or less interchangeably. Especially in formal studies of syntax, morphology, etc., both terms are used to refer to utterances that draw from elements of two or more grammatical systems. These studies are often interested in the alignment of elements from distinct systems, or on constraints that limit switching. While many linguists have worked to describe the difference between code-switching and borrowing of words or phrases, the term code-mixing may be used to encompass both types of language behavior. While the term code-switching emphasizes a multilingual speaker's movement from one grammatical system to another, the term code-mixing suggests a hybrid form, drawing from distinct grammars. In other words, code-mixing emphasizes the formal aspects of language structures or linguistic competence, while code-switching emphasizes linguistic performance.
Code-mixing in sociolinguistics While linguists who are primarily interested in the structure or form of code-mixing may have relatively little interest to separate code-mixing from code-switching, some sociolinguists have gone to great lengths to differentiate the two phenomena. For these scholars, code-switching is associated with particular pragmatic effects, discourse functions, or associations with group identity. In this tradition, the terms code-mixing or language alternation are used to describe more stable situations in which multiple languages are used without such pragmatic effects. Choice of Cantonese mixed with English sometimes entails a risk of alienation in intra-ethnic communication. Subjects of this study generally make a conscious effort not to code-mix when the interlocutors’ educational level is lower than theirs and especially when the interlocutors are close to them, e.g. parents, relatives and friends. This observation is supported by the minimal level of
code-mixing in most recorded conversations with interlocutors of these backgrounds. The major reason given is that students do not want to be regarded as showing off or snobbish, as English is a
Beginning at the babbling stage. Cantonese-English mix is a strong binding force among educated bilinguals in Hong Kong. the bilinguals in Hong Kong have to make these choices rapidly and frequently. An inappropriate extent of code-mixing is perceived to result in alienation from the group one wishes to belong to. young children in bilingual or multilingual environments produce utterances that combine elements of both (or all) of their developing languages. On the other hand. Code choice does not only bear significance for the individual. It expresses a unique group solidarity and as a special register. Nearly all bilingual children go through a period in which they move from one language to another without apparent discrimination. It may be argued that these dynamic decision-making processes lead to greater emotional sensitivity and pragmatic awareness. It allows them to express ideas and feelings without fear of misunderstanding and without the trouble of circumlocution or explanation in either English or Cantonese. facilitates easy communication among group members. but integrates him/her into the speech community of the educated. As the foregoing discussion reveals. code-mixing refers to a developmental stage during which children mix elements of more than one language. In speaking English. In speaking Cantonese. As the language diaries show. they are worried about inserting English words inadvertently and offending interlocutors who do not understand English. it also indexes societal values and attitudes. Focus group interviews suggest that this is the most “comfortable” choice as pure English and pure Cantonese force them to speak cautiously. Cantonese-English mix plays a paradoxical role in the bilingual’s social life. It alienates him/her from those who are less educated. not mixing English when talking to educated people will subject oneself to snobber. Some linguists suggest that this code-mixing reflects a lack of control or ability to differentiate the languages. which is understood as the socially and grammatically appropriate use of multiple varieties. The use of English in Cantonese utterances delineates social stratification more clearly and divides those with good education. This differs from code-switching. The decision to choose pure Cantonese or mix demands the individual to make judgments about the interlocutor’s background and his/her relationship with self. they are nervous about expressing themselves accurately and avoiding linguistic mistakes. This tension results in an alertness in defining interpersonal relationships.prestige language in the community and the social sanction against the use of English among Chinese in Hong Kong is strong. While mixing English is considered an act of snobbery when one uses it with those less educated than oneself (especially those who are close to oneself). Code-mixing in language acquisition In studies of bilingual language acquisition. great prestige and high social status from those without. Others . Sometimes they find it a great mental burden to have to search for an equivalent in Cantonese and fail to access it.
and tokens refer to the numbers of times the letters/ words/ phrases etc were used by subjects or interlocutors. Code-mixing refers to any admixture of linguistic elements of two or more language systems in the same utterance at various levels: phonological. Unit types refer to the letters/ words/ phrases etc found under each category. the discussion will focus on lexical and grammatical code-mixing. Examples include “Mummy” (pronounced as maa1mi4). More recent studies argue that this early code-mixing is a demonstration of a developing ability to code-switch in socially appropriate ways. In others. Li (1998. Lexical Words 5. grammatical and orthographical. This paper adopts a broader definition. “OK” and “Bye-Bye”. “BB” (baby) pronounced as bi4bi1. very young children may know a word in one language but not in another. the difficulty in coding has highlighted a significant issue: how mixed is a mixed code? Definitions of code-mixing or code-switching are reviewed in detail in. Proper Noun Personal Names Impersonal Name 4. Single Full Sentences 98 54 111 165 118 28 90 35 220 156 84 726 252 34 140 40 100 65 355 265 90 919 172 66 189 30 159 91 341 255 86 875 180 91 329 70 259 156 696 520 170 1794 352 157 Interlocutor tokens Total tokens . 2000). Incomplete/Minor Sentence 7. Due to constraints of space. English proper names and acronyms were not counted as English linguistic elements. Letters of the alphabet Letter names Acronyms 2. Linguistic units Unit types Subject token 1. Short Form 3. Phrases 6. Some subjects have reported difficulty in coding for their language diaries due to delicate differentiation between pure Cantonese and a low level of English mix in Cantonese speech.argue that it is a product of limited vocabulary. To explore the nature and extent of code-mixing. the English elements in the recorded materials have been categorized according to the level of grammatical constituency (See Table 1). certain English words have become somewhat lexicalized in Cantonese and treated as pure Cantonese. lexical. In some cases. In fact.
During the 1950s and 1960s. Students have formed the habit of abbreviating terms used within a specific and familiar context. It is common in Hong Kong to use letters to name or distinguish between objects e. . (Grade) A in an examination. products and buildings also express this orientation at the societal level. Letters of the alphabet The first category is the smallest orthographical unit — letters of the alphabet. 2. Studies since the 1970s. in Grosjean's term. OL for “Office Lady” and MTR for “Mass Transit Railway”." This "fractional view" supposed that a bilingual speaker carried two separate mental grammars that were more or less identical to the mental grammars of monolinguals and that were ideally kept separate and used separately. These findings have led to studies of code-mixing in psychology and psycholinguistics. companies. 4. Impersonal proper names which consist mainly of English names of brands. (Hall) A/B/C or provide assessment e.g SU for “Student Union” and GPA for “Grade Point Average”. The prevalent adoption of an English name by Hong Kong individuals is an indication of their Westernized orientation. Short forms These are formed by morphologically truncating lexical words and are chiefly related to courses of study. e.8. 3.g. CODE-MIXING IN PSYCOLOGY AND PSYCHOLINGUISTIC In psychology and in psycholinguistics the label code-mixing is used in theories that draw on studies of language alternation or code-switching to describe the cognitive structures underlying bilingualism. psychologists and linguists treated bilingual speakers as. Proper nouns Personal names take up about 14% of the total number of tokens of English mix in the recorded materials. “transla” for “translation”. This category also reflects another social practice in Hong Kong: English acronyms are used to refer to objects or ideas that are common in a bilingual. “pre” or “present” for “presentation”. Lexical words This category makes up the largest portion of code-mixed linguistic items and includes IT-related terms. e.g. "two monolinguals in one person. however. have shown that bilinguals regularly combine elements from "separate" languages. Two-Sentence Units 3 2 7 9 1486 1773 1885 3658 1. Examples include OT for “Overtime”.g. and “soci” for “sociology”. business oriented international city.
Code-mixing as fused lect A mixed language or a fused lect is a relatively stable mixture of two or more languages. Unlike code-switching. this code-mixing has no specific meaning in the local context.” They note that this is distinct from code-switching in that it occurs in a single sentence (sometimes known as intrasentential switching) and in that it does not fulfill the pragmatic or discourse-oriented functions described by sociolinguists. but fused lects allow less variation since they are fully grammaticalized. In other words. which draws from competence in two languages at the same time suggests that these competences are not stored or processed separately. where a switch tends to occur at semantically or sociolinguistically meaningful junctures. What some linguists have described as "codeswitching as unmarked choice" or "frequent codeswitching" has more recently been described as "language mixing". phrases. A mixed language is different from a creole language. above. clauses.) The practice of codemixing. (See Code-mixing in sociolinguistics.) of one language to using those of another within a single sentence. In areas where code-switching among two or more languages is very common. A fused lect is identical to a mixed language in terms of semantics and pragmatics. Code-mixing among bilinguals is therefore studied in order to explore the mental structures underlying language abilities. or in the case of the most strictly grammaticalized forms as "fused lects". there are grammatical structures of the fused lect that determine which source-language elements may occur. it may become normal for words from both languages to be used together in everyday speech.Sridhar and Sridhar define code-mixing as "the transition from using linguistic units (words. Mixed languages develop from situations of code-switching Code swtch A simple parallel analysis of code- switching What does code switching look like in conversation? . Creoles are thought to develop from pidgins as they become nativized. etc.
a greater or lesser amount of slang. or one word at a time. varied spelling and pronunciation. Intersentential switching is switching from one language to another for whole sentences at a time. That’s why abilingual child like the one discussed earlier would speak his mother’s native language to her and his father’s native language to him. you got a good grade. Although they are all the same language. Yo comprè los groceries para la cena. Thus. they also learn to compartmentalize them so that they use the appropriate language with everyone they talk to. and with your children. When you used the kind of grammar in writing that . another. With your boss. and even different syntax. within a sentence from phrase to phrase. We know what is appropriate to write in a personal e-mail versus what is appropriate in a doctoral dissertation. the reality is that almost everyone engages in code switching every day.There are a few different ways that code switching can occur in a conversation. we do the same thing with different levels of formality. Why does it matter? When young children learn multiple languages simultaneously. if you’re telling a story in language A about something that was said in language B. (I like you because you are very nice. This can mean changing languages for a phrase or for just one word (which is also called “tag-switching”). we are all constantly switching from one register(level of formality) to another. You probably learned these things in school through basic reinforcement and punishment.) Intersentential code switching might also be used to emphasize a particular sentence. an email to your best friend would look very different from a cover letter to a potential employer.Intrasentential switching is switching languages in the middle of a sentence. you use one kind of English. my daughter. (I bought the groceries for dinner. you might quote someone in language B because they were speaking in that language. My mother hugged me and whispered.) Who code switches? Although the term originally referred only to a linguistic phenomenon among multilingualconversationalists. For example. Well. as native speakers of a language. “Cuìdate. When you used the correct register on a paper. with your friends. Because we all deal with different kinds of people with whom we have different levels of relationships in contexts of all sorts all the time. It can happen from one sentence to the next.) I like you porque eres muy amable. or to more accurately convey meaning when sufficient words or idioms do not exist in the other language. higher and lower registers employ different idioms. another still. mi hija.” (Take care of yourself.
but as we’ve learned more about dialects and thought more about register. you learned a type of code switching. It may not be what linguists had in mind when they coined the term. some schools are now beginning to teach different registers and appropriate times to use them more directly as well through comparative analysis. Other types of writing and speaking have always been taught more directly as things like business letters. Students practice “translating” from informal to formal speech – from slang to academic English – and vice versa.” but what is appropriate in a given situation. Teachers make poster charts comparing how to say various phrases formally and informally.you used in everyday speaking. And test scores are improving as students learn not what is “right” and “wrong. poetry and research papers each have their own correct format that must be followed. . In this way. your paper was returned to you with all kinds of corrections. it’s become apparent that switching between them is similar enough to switching between languages that using the same term for all of it is fitting. However.
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