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Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching$
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Jeff MacSwan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027892

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027892.001.0001

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Programs and Proposals in Codeswitching Research: Unconstraining Theories of Bilingual Language Mixing

Programs and Proposals in Codeswitching Research: Unconstraining Theories of Bilingual Language Mixing

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Programs and Proposals in Codeswitching Research: Unconstraining Theories of Bilingual Language Mixing
Source:
Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching
Author(s):

Jeff MacSwan

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027892.003.0001

In this chapter, MacSwan provides an overview of the history of research on codeswitching (CS), distinguishing constraint-based (CB) approaches, which posit explicit rules governing language mixing, from constraint-free (CF) approaches, which seek to derive the facts of language mixing from independently motivated properties of grammar and permit no CS-specific constraints. The chapter documents that CB approaches have generally acknowledged the preference for CF approaches, but have come short of implementation; these studies have (1) explicitly confronted the limitations of the formal mechanism, and reluctantly but explicitly introduce CS-specific devices; (2) left the analytic framework inexplicit or inadequately developed so that the issue did not arise; or (3) proposed explicit CS-specific mechanisms, and argued that they are vacuously available to monolinguals too. MacSwan argues that early lexical insertion in the Minimalist Program resolves technological limitations associated with prior models which prevented implementation of a CF solution to CS. Illustrations, offered as proof of concept for the utility of the CF approach, are presented.

Keywords:   Codeswitching, Constraint-free approach, Constraint-based approach, Early lexical insertion, Late lexical insertion, Minimalist Program, Grammatical theory, Bilingualism

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