Asymmetry in mixed nominal constructions: Determining the factors that influence code-switching patterns.

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Asymmetry in mixed nominal constructions: Determining the factors that influence code-switching patterns.

Type: Master thesis
Title: Asymmetry in mixed nominal constructions: Determining the factors that influence code-switching patterns.
Author: Blokzijl, Jeffrey
Issue Date: 2017-08-31
Keywords: code-switching; matrix language; determiner-phrases; Spanish; English; Nicaraguan Creole English
Abstract: This thesis focuses on the factors influencing the language of determiners in nominal constructions in two sets of bilingual data, Spanish-English from Miami and Spanish- Nicaraguan Creole English from Nicaragua. Previous studies (Liceras, Fernández Fuertes, Perales, Pérez-Tattam, and Spradlin, 2008; Quintanilla, 2014) have argued that Spanish determiners are preferred in mixed nominal constructions because of their grammaticized nature, since they mark gender. However, those studies did not take the matrix language into account, even though Herring, Deuchar, Parafita Couto, and Quintanilla (2010) found that the language of the determiner generally matched the matrix language. For that reason, the hypothesis of this study is that the matrix language is the main influence on the language of the determiner in both mixed and unmixed nominal constructions. This would mean that bilinguals will have to option to switch language in selecting the noun, meaning that the noun complement could be influenced by extra-linguistic factors. The results are consistent with this hypothesis: once the matrix language is controlled for, the Miami data shows a greater tendency for Spanish determiners to appear in mixed DPs than English determiners. However, the reverse tendency is found in the Nicaragua data, in which we found only mixed DPs with an English creole determiner. The results suggest that bilingual communities can follow different patterns, and that social factors play a role as well. This study concludes that while the language of the determiner is influenced by clause-internal structure, the language of its noun complement and the matrix language itself depend on extralinguistic considerations.
Supervisor: Parafita Couto, Maria del Carmen
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Latin American Studies (Master)
Specialisation: Linguistics
ECTS Credits: 20
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52613
 

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