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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: Hi, Taylor, As the other respondents have told you, you would be basically making use of two different grammars in all the cases mentioned; each of them involves presumably a bilingual speaker, and we have been talking about (I assume) basically what are called 'balanced bilinguals' (that is, fluent ones and either native speakers or near-native speakers of both languages). As fluent speakers of both languages, you have lots of options for, so to speak, 'intermingling the rules' of the two languages. Indeed, with little distinction, I believe, between cases, native speakers of the *borrowing* language strongly tend to 'regularize' the borrowing to the phonology, etc. of the accepting language. In many cases, once this is done (or even if the original phonology is retained), the word may gain wider acceptance among at least some monolingual speakers of the borrowing language. This can lead to anomalous situations: for instance, as a youth, before ever studying German, I pronounced the composer Bach's name as [bax] (with a voiceless *velar* fricative), just as my parents pronounced it (who were both pretty much monolingual English speakers (well, they both spoke Yiddish, which I did not) who had also studied French and a little of other languages. My father also studied medicine in Vienna and Switzerland just before WWII. In any case, I knew virtually no German (nor Yiddish, except for a few isolated words), [x] is not a sound of English, not even in interjections, where many systemically unused sounds in the language can be found. The anomaly here is that I (and many other native speakers of English, including, I think, some who are also native speakers of German) use *in English* the same pronunciation I do: [bax]. However, in German this is *not* the pronunciation of the name; rather, the last consonant is a voiceless *postvelar* fricative: [baX]. Nevertheless, some linguists (not too many any more) would call this 'code-switching' on my part. Now, I have studied German and my pronunciation is not totally shabby, but I would insist that, at least when *I* pronounce this composer's name, I am *not* code-switching (and even more obviously this was the case when I didn't even know any German at all). Even after having studied German and controlling the standard German pronunciation of this name, when speaking English, I still use my (and nearly all other native speakers') pronunciation of it. What I am saying is that in such cases it is paradoxical to try to say that this is code-switching. It *is* borrowing of a lexical item, semihemidemipronunciation and all, from another language, although, certainly in my case, indirectly. Note here that, at least for the originaly borrower of the word, they must have been, at least to some degree, bilingual. I hope this has been of some help. Jim James L. Fidelholtz Graduate Program in Language Sciences Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades Benem'erita Universidad Aut'onoma de Puebla, M'EXICO
Reply From: James L Fidelholtz      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?    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (11-Sep-2012)
  4. Re: What happens at the boundary of a phonological code-switch?    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (13-Sep-2012)

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