Chiu-Chow-Cantonese Code-Switching Within a Hnog Kong Domestic Discourse

Topics: Multilingualism, Language, Chinese language Pages: 27 (9456 words) Published: January 27, 2013
As learning an additional language is regarded as being competitive and advantageous, there are more and more bilinguals and multilinguals in many places worldwide, and Hong Kong is one of these places. With a majority of the population being able to master a number of languages, code-switching, which is the alternate use of (more than) two languages by a bilingual (or multilingual) within a discourse, is undoubtedly a common and frequently occurring linguistic phenomenon in Hong Kong. 1.1 Significance of the case study

Much previous research on code-switching in Hong Kong has focused on the two major and official languages – English and Cantonese. Code-switching studies were almost always about these two distinct languages that are most often heard in the community. However, people have seldom looked into other dialects of Chinese. A lot of dialects actually exist and are used frequently among the domestic household and local neighbourhood, and it would be a very new point of view to look into the reality of code-switching in one of the minority languages in Hong Kong. As more and more mainlander immigrants come to Hong Kong from all over China, it is inevitable that dialects from different regions will be heard for a period of time, and dialect code-switching is likely to become more and more common in the future. Hence, this case study is an update of today’s dialect code-switching in a Hong Kong’s domestic discourse. 1.2 Aims and Objectives

The general aim of this case study is to investigate the characteristics of code-switching between two Chiu-Chow-Cantonese[1] bilinguals in a discourse from a sociolinguistic dimension which focuses on the social motivations for switching. Specifically speaking, these characteristics refer to:

- where they code-switch (where it occurs in a sentence),
- how frequently they code-switch (how many turns on average) and - why they code-switch (the function of code-switching).
At the same time, the objective is to provide a brief overview of what linguistic features may be present in a Hong Kong domestic household which speaks both the Chiu-Chow and Cantonese dialect. 1.3 Research questions

For further in-depth discussion, it would be interesting to find a suitable framework to explain the reason for Chiu-Chow-Cantonese code-switching in Hong Kong. According to Myers-Scotton (1993), Gumperz (1982) became the most influential figure in the discussions of the social motivation for code-switching in the 1970s and 1980s (1993: 48). He presented six conversational functions of code-switching, and they are widely accepted and used by other researchers. Baker (2001) studied bilingualism and education and presented his own twelve purposes of code-switching in a conversation. By applying and comparing Gumperz and Bakers’ explanatory frameworks to our case study, we can investigate which set of framework is more suitable to use when analyzing Chiu-Chow-Cantonese code-switching. Thus, our research questions are: (i) What are the characteristic features of Chiu-Chow –Cantonese code-switching? (ii) What explanatory framework is more suitable to be applied to our case? (iii) Does Gumperz or Bakers’ set of functions complement or substitute each other? Before we start investigating, it is proper to first define code-switching and then provide an overview and comprehensive knowledge of the essential literature in the field, so as to familiarize ourselves with the topic and emphasize the credibility of the previous scholars. 1.4 Definition of code-switching

According to Gumperz (1982), “conversational code-switching can be defined as the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or subsystems”. Similarly, MacSwan (1999) has argued that “Code-switching is a speech style in which fluent bilinguals move in and out of two (or conceivably more) languages”. It cannot be...
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