Code Switching

Topics: English language, Dialect, Sentence Pages: 19 (5695 words) Published: November 28, 2012
Urdu-English Code-Switching: The Use of Urdu Phrases and Clauses In Pakistani English (A Non-native Variety)


This paper presents an analysis of Urdu-English code-switching in Pakistani English. However, data has been analysed only at the phrase and clause level. Based on the empirical data from Pakistani English newspapers and magazines, this paper aims to show that code-switching is not a grammarless phenomenon rather it is ruled governed activity at the phrase and clause level. It also presents the brief overview of the use of English as a non-native variety. This paper suggests that variations and changes in a language are an integral part of bilingualism and multilingualism. All the present data shows that the occurrences of various Urdu phrases and clauses impose no ungrammatical effect on the construction of English syntax.

Key words: Bilingualism, code-switching, non-native varieties of English


This paper centres on the variations in the English language due to Urdu-English code-switching in Pakistan and also shows the significant role of the Urdu language in the formation of Pakistani English. Only those syntactic features that are found as a result of code-switching have been discussed. Mahboob (2003) described different phonological and grammatical aspects of Pakistani English, which are quite different from Standard British English. But in this paper, only that data has been taken into account where Urdu phrases and clauses have been used. This paper is interested in describing different aspects of language change in English when used in a non-native context i.e. Pakistan. First and foremost, ‘a great deal of interest has been generated in the English language as a result of its spread around the world and its use as an international language (Cheshire 1991:7).

Now-a-days English has become a global language. According to Bamgbose, (2001:357) English is recognised as the dominating language in the world as globalisation comes to be universally accepted in political and academic discourse. The development of ‘globalisation’ has been associated with the dominance of the English language (Bottery 2000:6). English is used all over the world by millions of native and non-native speakers because of its dominant position. According to Crystal (2003:65), there are approximately 430 million L2 users and 330 million L1 users. So the non-native speakers use English more than the natives ones. However, these figures exclude learners of English, and Crystal suggests there may be as many as one billion of them. Being an international language, it is used almost in all the countries of the world. When people started using English in non-native contexts because of its growing popularity, it developed as a transplanted language. According to Kachru (1986:30):

‘A language may be considered transplanted if it is used by a significant numbers of speakers in social, cultural and geographical contexts different from the contexts in which it was originally used………..a transplanted language is cut off from its traditional roots and begins to function in new surroundings, in new roles and new contexts’.

Non-native Varieties of English

Kachru (1978) was among the first to identify and delineate boundaries of a nativized variety of English in South Asia, which he terms as South Asian English (SAE). Kachru (1996) regarded SAE as an additional linguistic arm in the culture of identity. He believes that ‘nativization must be seen as the result of those productive linguistic innovations which are determined by the localized function of a second language variety, the culture of conversation and commutative strategies in new situations and transfer from local languages’ (Kachru 1986: 21-2). With this development, there was a gradual recognition and acknowledgement of the new and non-native varieties of English, e.g. Nigerian...
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