Social Motivations for Codeswitching: Evidence from Africa

Social Motivations for Codeswitching: Evidence from Africa

by Carol Myers-Scotton
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

This study focuses on the social motivations for codeswitching, that is, the use of two or more linguistic varieties in the same conversation. Using data from multilingual African contexts (mostly from conversations studied in Kenya), Carol Myers-Scotton advances a theoretical argument which aims at a general explanation of these motivations. She treats

Overview

This study focuses on the social motivations for codeswitching, that is, the use of two or more linguistic varieties in the same conversation. Using data from multilingual African contexts (mostly from conversations studied in Kenya), Carol Myers-Scotton advances a theoretical argument which aims at a general explanation of these motivations. She treats codeswitching as a type of skilled performance, not as the "alternative strategy" of a person who cannot carry on a conversation in the language in which it began. When engaging in codeswitching, speakers exploit the socio-psychological values which have come to be associated with different linguistic varieties in a specific speech community: they switch codes in order to negotiate a change in social distance between themselves and other participants in the conversation, conveying this negotiation through the choice of a different code. Switching between languages, Myers-Scotton suggests, has a good deal in common with making different stylistic choices within the same language: it is as if bilingual and multilingual speakers have an additional style at their command when they engage in codeswitching between different languages.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198239239
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/28/1995
Series:
Oxford Studies in Language Contact Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.19(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.45(d)
Lexile:
1270L (what's this?)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >