Wei Li

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199744084
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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Many psycholinguists maintain that bilinguals operate between monolingual modes and a bilingual mode. What this means is that bilinguals can behave as if they were monolingual by using only one of the languages they know. It is only when they are using more than one language in the same episode of interaction that they are in a bilingual model. Codeswitching is a term used to describe a range of linguistic behavior that involves the use of more than one language or language variety in the same interaction. This chapter focuses on some of the key issues of codeswitching for sociolinguists, beginning with a discussion of the terminological and methodological issues. Then, it provides a review of the studies on the motivations and structural patterns of codeswitching. Lastly, the chapter presents an alternative approach to codeswitching that views it as a creative performance rather than as simply a combination of linguistic structures.

Keywords: bilingual speech; bilingual mode; monolingual mode; linguistic behavior; creative performance

Article.  8412 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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