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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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Light Switches: On v as a Pivot in Codeswitching, and the Nature of the Ban on Word-Internal Switches

Light Switches: On v as a Pivot in Codeswitching, and the Nature of the Ban on Word-Internal Switches

Chapter:
(p.161) 7 Light Switches: On v as a Pivot in Codeswitching, and the Nature of the Ban on Word-Internal Switches
Source:
Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching
Author(s):

Shoba Bandi-Rao

Marcel den Dikken

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027892.003.0007

English -ify and Telugu -inc have similar distributional profiles, both instantiating the ‘little light verb’ v of Chomsky. But while -ify is heavily exploited as an intermediary between a Telugu verbal root and English verbal inflection in English/Telugu codeswitching, performing a switch at the light v level, ‘light switches’ in the opposite direction, employing Telugu -inc as an intermediary between an English verbal root and Telugu verbal morphology, are out of the question. We seek to answer this asymmetry in English/Telugu codeswitching. Our analysis capitalizes on the difference between English-ify and Telugu -inc: while occupying the same structural position in the tree (v), the two morphemes differ; -inc, an incorporator, creates a complex X0 category which, in codeswitching cases in which the verbal root is English, is not ‘language uniform’. We show that this ban on head-internal switches is a phonological constraint on codeswitching. When ‘light switches’ featuring the ‘little light verb’ v are blocked by this constraint, switching with the aid of a ‘lexical light verb’ V (‘do’) is available as a last resort; when ‘light switches’ employing v are successful, economy considerations block the structurally more complex alternative of switching at the ‘lexical light verb’ level.

Keywords:   Codeswitching, lexical light verb, Telugu verbal morphology, Morphosyntax, word-internal switches, light switches

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