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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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On the Asymmetric Nature of the Operations of Grammar: Evidence from Codeswitching

On the Asymmetric Nature of the Operations of Grammar: Evidence from Codeswitching

(p.63) 3 On the Asymmetric Nature of the Operations of Grammar: Evidence from Codeswitching
Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching

Anna Maria Di Sciullo

The MIT Press

Evidence from intra-sentential codeswitching brings additional support to the Asymmetry Hypothesis, according to which asymmetrical relations are core relations of the language faculty. It is proposed that intra-sentential codeswitching is an instance of syntactic variation, which follows from feature valuation in the Minimalist framework, and that feature valuation sites are possible codeswitching sites. It is shown, on the basis of the analysis of multilingual free conversations, as well as on the basis of elicited judgements, that the complement/non complement asymmetry, relativized to the lexical/functional domains, provides the syntactic articulation of codeswithching grammars. Based on the difference between External Merge and Internal Merge, as well as on the distinction between lexical and functional domains, a typology of codeswithching grammars is proposed. Codeswitching grammars differ from one another depending on whether or not External Merge may give rise to possible head-complement switch sites in the lexical or in the functional domain, and whether or not Internal Merge may or not give rise to possible switch sites in specifier-head configurations in the lexical or in the functional domain. The parameterized theory predicts possible from impossible switch sites given the basic asymmetry of the operations of the grammar.

Keywords:   Minimalism and the Asymmetry Hypothesis, complement/non complement asymmetry, lexical/functional domains, External/Internal Merge, parameterized codeswitching grammars, Codeswitching

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