Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: What happens at the boundary of a phonological code-switch?
Question: I want to embed a Japanese word into my English speech, but
I want to be faithful to the Japanese pronunciation, so I enter
a ''Japanese pronunciation mode''. Briefly, I understand this
as an example of code-switching.

For example, the Japanese word for thank you is [aɾiɡatoː]<あ
りがとう>. Now I want to say ''it is {a/an} aɾiɡatoː'', or
alternatively if [koaɾiɡatoː] was the word I would want to say ''it
is {a/an} koaɾiɡatoː''. The assumption is that I am going to be
100% prosodically and segmentally faithful to the embedded
Japanese word. To be precise, let # be the switch point. Then
English phonology imposes upon you the obligation

/a/->[an] / _V

But if you actually say [it is an aɾiɡatoː] (and this seems to be
the observed form) you didn't apply the above rule, but a rule
of the form

/a/->[an] / _#V

This seems contradictory to your intention to code switch; the
intention was for V to be under the sole purchase of
Japanese phonology, but clearly V has participated in a rule
of English phonology. I don't understand why, when under the
assumption of faithful code switching, a foreign import can
alter the host sentence.

Reply: I’m not sure what you mean by “faithful” codeswitching, but concerning your question about why “a foreign import can alter the host sentence”, why not just do the same as with every other of the many, many borrowed words into English? You also say “a croissant” and “an impala”, or a “gracias” and “an obrigado”.

Following the rules of the host language is common in the grammar of codeswitching. When you borrow words of English into gendered languages, for example, you assign a gender to those words. In Portuguese, the _internet_ is feminine and _software_ is masculine, and so are the modifiers which pattern with each of these words, respectively.

Madalena

Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
 
Date: 11-Sep-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: What happens at the boundary of a phonological code-switch?    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (11-Sep-2012)
  2. Re: What happens at the boundary of a phonological code-switch?    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (11-Sep-2012)
  3. Re: What happens at the boundary of a phonological code-switch?    James L Fidelholtz     (11-Sep-2012)
  4. Re: What happens at the boundary of a phonological code-switch?    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (13-Sep-2012)

Back to Most Recent Questions