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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

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Title: The Grammar of English-Afrikaans Code Switching
Subtitle: A feature checking account
Written By: Ondene van Dulm
Series Title: LOT Disseration Series

This dissertation focuses on structural aspects of code switching between South
African English and Afrikaans. Specifically, the main aim is to investigate the
merit of an account of intrasentential code switching in terms of feature
checking theory, a theory associated with minimalist syntax. The hypothesis
is that feature checking theory and its related principles and operations
provide an adequate framework within which to characterise and explain
structural aspects of English-Afrikaans intrasentential code switching. A
number of word order differences between English and Afrikaans, specifically
involving verb position, are analysed within the framework of feature
checking theory, where the movement of lexical items is proposed to be driven
by the need to check strong uninterpretable features associated with functional
heads. The constructions include constructions with adverbs, focalisation and
topicalisation constructions, embedded that and wh clauses, and yes-no
questions. On the basis of the feature checking analyses, predictions are made
regarding the well-formedness of constructions of these types in which code
switching between English and Afrikaans occurs.

The predictions are tested on the basis of data elicited from 30 fluent
English-Afrikaans bilingual participants by means of (i) judgments of the
relative wellformedness of visually-presented sentence pairs, (ii)
judgments of the relative well-formedness of auditorily-presented utterance
pairs, (iii) sentence construction, (iv) video clip description, and (v)
magnitude estimation of the relative well-formedness of visually-presented
sentence sets. The results indicate support for some of the predictions,
but uniform support for the hypothesis is not evident. Further linguistic
factors playing a role in participants' performance are discussed.

This dissertation is of interest to scholars in the field of bilingualism,
particularly those interested in the application of syntactic theory to
bilingual phenomena, and in experimental techniques tapping bilingual

Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
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Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Subject Language(s): Afrikaans
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789078328308
Pages: 271
Prices: Europe EURO 24.79