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Summary Details


Query:   re Query:10.1759:Code-Switching:Matrix Language
Author:  Sophie Alby
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Sociolinguistics

Summary:   THANKS TO CAROL MYERS-SCOTTON FOR HER COMMENTS ON MY MAIL (19/11/99) : ''I AM PRESENTLY DOING SOME DOCTORAL WORK ON FRENCH-KALI'NA (AN AMERINDIAN LANGUAGE SPOKEN IN FRENCH GUIANA - CARIB FAMILY) CODE-SWITCHING.

I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE QUESTION OF THE 'BASE LANGUAGE' OF THE SENTENCES WHERE I HAVE OCCURENCES OF CODE-MIXING. ELLEN F. PRINCE AND SUSAN PINTZUK (BILINGUAL CODE-SWITCHING AND THE OPEN/CLOSED CLASS DISTINCTION - UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 1984) STATES THAT:

''FOLLOWING JOSHI 1983 AND OTHERS, WE USED THE TENSED VERB OF EACH TENSED S TO DETERMINE THE MATRIX LANGUAGE OF THAT S''. IS THERE A GENERAL DEFINITION OF MATRIX LANGUAGE THAT WOULD FIT FOR TENSED S AND FOR OTHER TYPES OF SENTENCES ?''


COMMENTS FROM CAROL MYERS-SCOTTON :


(1)
FIRST, UNDER THE MATRIX LANGUAGE FRAME MODEL (SEE THE ''AFTERWORD'' IN THE 1997 PAPERBACK EDITION OF DUELLING LANGUAGES--OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS), I DEFINITELY DO NOT SAY THAT THE MATRIX LANGUAGE (HEREAFTER ML) CAN BE IDENTIFIED AS THE LANGUAGE OF THE FINITE VERB. FOR EVIDENCE, SEE THE ARTICLE BY MY COLLEAGUE JAN JAKE AND ME (JAKE AND MYERS-SCOTTON) IN THE 1997 ISSUE (THE FIRST ISSUE) OF THE NEW JOURNAL, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUALISM. WE SHOW THAT IN AN ARABIC/ENGLISH CS DATA SET, THE FINITE VERB OF MANY, MANY CPS IS IN AN EMBEDDED LANGUAGE ISLAND. THAT IS, ARABIC IS THE MATRIX LANGUAGE, BUT THE IP IS ALL IN ENGLISH (AS AN EMBEDDED LANGUAGE ISLAND).

FOR EXAMPLE: 'ANA I DON'T THINK SO.
TRANSATION: ''EMPHATIC I, I DON'T THINK SO.''


(2)
I MAKE CLEAR THAT THE ML CAN BE IDENTIFIED ON THE BASIS OF THE TWO PRINCIPLES I PROPOSE IN DUELLING LANGUAGE AS STRUCTURING A MIXED CONSTITUENT. THAT IS, THE ML IS THE LANGUAGE OF MORPHEME ORDER (THE MORPHEMME ORDER PRINCIPLE STATES THAT ONLY ONE LANGUAGE PROVIDES THE MORPHEME ORDER FOR A MIXED CONSTITUENT) AND IS THE LANGUAGE OF THOSE SYSTEM MORPHEMES THAT HAVE RELATIONS EXTERNAL TO THEIR HEADS (THE SYSTEM MORPHEME PRINCIPLE). THAT IS, THE ML IS A THEORETICAL CONSTRUCT USED TO ''NAME'' THE SOURCE OF ABSTRACT GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURE IN A BILINGUAL CP (MIXED CONSTITUENT).

(3)
FROM THE ABOVE, IT SHOULD BE CLEAR THAT THE ML IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE IDENTIFIED SEPARATELY FROM THESE TWO PRINCIPLES. IN THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF DUELLING LANGUAGES (1993), I TRIED TO IDENTIFY THE ML SEPARATELY (WITH SOME SOCIOLINGUISTIC CRITERIA AND ALSO BY COUNTING MORPHEMES. AS I POINT OUT IN THE 1997 EDITION OF DUELLING LANGUAGES, COUNTING MORPHEMES DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK ---ALTHOUGH THE ML IS USUALLY THE SOURCE OF MORE MORPHEMES, IT IS TRUE.

(4)
THE BEST WAY TO THINK OF THE ML IS NOT AS A ''LANGUAGE'' ITSELF, BUT RATHER AS THE GRAMMATICAL FRAME. IN THE CASE OF CLASSIC CS, THIS GRAMMATICAL FRAME IS SYNONYMOUS WITH THE FRAME OF ONE OF THE PARTICIPATING LANGUAGES, IT IS TRUE. BUT IN OTHER-THAN-CLASSIC CS, THE FRAME MAY BE A COMPOSITE OF GRAMMATICAL MATERIAL FROM BOTH (OR MORE) LANGUAGES INVOLVED.

THAT IS, IF EITHER BECAUSE THE SPEAKER DOES NOT HAVE FULL PSYCHOLINGUISTIC
ACCESS TO THE PREFERRED ML OR BECAUSE THE ML IS ''TURNING OVER'' (FOR
SOCIO-POLITICAL MOTIVATIONS), THEN THE ML IS A COMPOSITE.

(5)
WHEN IT IS A COMPOSITE, THE ML TYPICALLY STILL LARGELY CONSISTS OF
GRAMMATICAL MATERIAL FROM ONE OF THE LANGUAGES, BUT THE HYPOTHESIS IS THAT
IT GRADUALLY ''TURNS OVER'' TO MORE OF THE GRAMMATICAL MATERIAL FROM THE OTHER
LANGUAGE. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN LANGUAGE SHIFT. OR, AT LEAST IT COULD BE
ONE WAY THAT LANGUAGE SHIFT IS ACCOMPLISHED.

LL Issue: 10.1822
Date Posted: 29-Nov-1999
Original Query: Read original query