Title

Switching by the Numbers: A Quantitative Case Study of Tag and Lexical Item Switching in Gibraltar

Subject Area

Hispanic Linguistics

Abstract

This case study analyzes language contact phenomenon in Gibraltar. Although English is the official language, Gibraltarians have traditionally been raised in Spanish-speaking homes and are bilinguals. Specifically this study examines the intrasentential and intersentential switching of twenty-seven Gibraltarians to determine whether or not English is being used more frequently in the informal domain. The data was analyzed using Myers-Scotton’s (1992, 1993, 1995, 2002) and Poplack’s (1980) research methods for codeswitching. The results highlight the turns in general and the switches for 14 tag words as well as switches for any other singleton (Picone, 2005; Bonamy, 2008). This study finds that approximately 60% of the participants switched into English; however, there was a higher frequency of use of Spanish tags with no switching. In general, approximately 59% of participants used English more than Spanish. The conclusions of this study deviate slightly from the findings of the other research in Gibraltar conducted by Moyer (1992) and Lipski (1986). Lipski found that Gibraltar was a diglossic society where English is used in the formal domains and Spanish in the informal. Moyer echoes the aforementioned findings by Lipski but also concludes that codeswitching is commonplace among speakers who have a relationship. Building on these findings, this study reveals that the traditional domains of Spanish and English may no longer be so rigidly delineated since there is evidence that English is being used more frequently in the home and among friends.

Brief Bio Note

Joelle Bonamy is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia since August 2010. Dr. Bonamy attended graduate school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her dissertation, titled Yanito Codeswitching and Language Shift in Gibraltar, was completed in accordance with the graduate program for Romance Languages, the Linguistics track. Dr. Bonamy's academic areas of interest are applied Spanish linguistics, societal language evolution, and second language acquisition and pedagogy.

Keywords

Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Codeswitching, Diglossia, Gibraltar, Spanish

Location

Room 212

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 2:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 1:30 PM Mar 26th, 2:45 PM

Switching by the Numbers: A Quantitative Case Study of Tag and Lexical Item Switching in Gibraltar

Room 212

This case study analyzes language contact phenomenon in Gibraltar. Although English is the official language, Gibraltarians have traditionally been raised in Spanish-speaking homes and are bilinguals. Specifically this study examines the intrasentential and intersentential switching of twenty-seven Gibraltarians to determine whether or not English is being used more frequently in the informal domain. The data was analyzed using Myers-Scotton’s (1992, 1993, 1995, 2002) and Poplack’s (1980) research methods for codeswitching. The results highlight the turns in general and the switches for 14 tag words as well as switches for any other singleton (Picone, 2005; Bonamy, 2008). This study finds that approximately 60% of the participants switched into English; however, there was a higher frequency of use of Spanish tags with no switching. In general, approximately 59% of participants used English more than Spanish. The conclusions of this study deviate slightly from the findings of the other research in Gibraltar conducted by Moyer (1992) and Lipski (1986). Lipski found that Gibraltar was a diglossic society where English is used in the formal domains and Spanish in the informal. Moyer echoes the aforementioned findings by Lipski but also concludes that codeswitching is commonplace among speakers who have a relationship. Building on these findings, this study reveals that the traditional domains of Spanish and English may no longer be so rigidly delineated since there is evidence that English is being used more frequently in the home and among friends.