University of Oulu

Gaskins, D., Frick, M., Palola, E., & Endesfelder Quick, A. (2019). Towards a usage-based model of early code-switching: Evidence from three language pairs. Applied Linguistics Review, 12(2), 179–206.

Towards a usage-based model of early code-switching : evidence from three language pairs

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Author: Gaskins, Dorota1; Frick, Maria2; Palola, Elina3;
Organizations: 1Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck College School of Languages Linguistics and Culture, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2Department of Languages and Literature, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Institute of British Studies, University of Leipzig Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Leipzig, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 12.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: De Gruyter, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-05-21


Usage-based studies trace children’s early language back to slot-and-frame patterns which dominate spontaneous language use. We apply the Traceback method to data from three bilingual children with English as one of their languages and Polish, German, or Finnish as the other to examine what these children’s code-switching has in common and how it differs in light of the genealogical distance between the languages used. Their bilingual constructions are derived from individual corpora of naturalistic interactions of each child respectively and traced back to monolingual language produced previously to establish whether they are unprocessed chunks or partially schematic units. Based on this, we propose a model of switching which helps us to distinguish between the qualitative aspects of bilingual use in these two types of combinations. Our results show that all three children filter out some mixing occurring in chunks before these give basis to longer units. Whatever bilingual combinations remain frozen in those units can be explained by phonological overlap of the children’s two languages, which is highest in the acquisition of English-German due to their genealogical proximity.

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Series: Applied linguistics review
ISSN: 1868-6303
ISSN-E: 1868-6311
ISSN-L: 1868-6303
Volume: 12
Issue: 2
DOI: 10.1515/applirev-2019-0030
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Copyright information: © 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.