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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Codeswitching refers to a range of linguistic phenomena in which the speaker alternates elements from different languages or language varieties. It is often regarded as the defining feature of the bilingual or multilingual speaker. Linguists who are interested in the phenomena have focused on what triggers the speaker’s alternation and the structural constraints of the switch point. The phenomena also raises important questions about what constitutes a language. In the context of Chinese, codeswitching could include the alternation between Chinese and non-Chinese languages, between different regional varieties of Chinese, which are conventionally called dialects or subdialects, or between the spoken and other forms of Chinese. In fact, one could argue that Chinese speakers are natural multilinguals who codeswitch routinely. This chapter reviews current theories and models of codeswitching in general and studies of codeswitching that involve Chinese in particular.

Keywords: codeswitching, bilingual, multilingual, variety, structural constraints

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