5dez 2022
06:30 UTC

The comparison of two code-switching frameworks on morphosyntactic integration

The aim of this research is to juxtapose and evaluate competing code-switching theoretical frameworks by examining their predictions on morphosyntactic integration. In this study, two main approaches are compared, namely, Poplack’s (1998, 2018) Nonce Borrowing Hypothesis (NBH) and Myers-Scotton’s (1993, 2009) Matrix Language Framework (MLF) model. These models’ predictions on morphosyntactic integration are compared by an analysis of Hungarian-English code-switching examples. In case the predictions match or differ from actual manifestations, we can get closer to an objective claim about which model is superior if their number of “successful” predictions is different.
The examples are taken from informal podcast talks in Hungarian contexts. The participants are communicating in Hungarian with the occasional use of English. By analysing the integration of the English words or phrases we can shed light upon the validity of the above mentioned models’ explanations.
According to the NBH, language contact takes place between the donor and the recipient language, where the donor language provides free morphemes or lexical items that preserve their original grammatical features (word order as well) in the case of code-switching. As for the word order it is unsure whether the rule applies only for the code-switched elements from the donor language or for the whole clause/ sentence. Furthermore, the question of how the identification of the recipient and donor language happens is also unanswered. According to Poplack (2018), during code-switching, usually more than one word is inserted into the recipient language. As claimed by the theory, the case should be considered as borrowing, when (mostly) a single (lone) item is inserted into the other language, this item adapts to the grammar of the recipient language, thus the elements of the donor language behave as they were of the recipient language morphosyntactically. In this research the recipient language is Hungarian, whereas the donor language is English.
According to the MLF model, the matrix language provides the grammar for the embedded language items. The main difference between this model and the one mentioned above is that this model considers all manifestations code-switching where items are inserted from one language to the other and the identification of the matrix language is well defined (presence of system-morphemes, number of morphemes is usually higher).
In the present study, I present the predictions of the two theories and their approach to the different language contact manifestations. The following example sentence and some explanations below are an illustration of attempting to solve the research problem:
Example (1): ” Mindenki nagyon clean akar lenni.”
Everyone.PRON very.ADV clean.ADJ want.V be.AUX
“Everyone wants to be very clean.”
According to Poplack’s view: Hungarian is the recipient language; English is the donor language; the lone donor language item [clean] shows that it is a borrowing; etc.
According to Myers-Scotton’s view: Hungarian is the matrix language; English is the embedded language; in this code-switching process there is no surface integration, however the syntactic functions are parallel; etc.
By the concordance (if there is any) of the predictions and the manifestations we can draw the conclusion of one model being superior to the other in terms of examining the phenomenon.