Code-switching in the speech of Spanish-English bilinguals
The purpose of this study is the investigation of (a) the motivations for code-switching; and (b) the process by which bilinguals perceive code-switching as meaningful. The empirical basis for the study is data gathered from Spanish-English bilinguals in the U.S.
The results suggest that the motivations for code-switching and the conversational functions that code-switching often serves are the same. Speakers code-switch because doing so allows them to convey some meaning beyond the information contained in the proposition of an utterance.
The author proposes that the communicative value of code-switching among balanced bilinguals can be explained in relation to Grice's (1975) cooperative principle. The cooperative principle is composed of five maxims, rather than the original four, which are: Quantity, Quality, Relation, Manner, and Mode. The maxim of Mode directs speakers to use a single linguistic code for any given social event, and to use the linguistic code that is most appropriate for the given social situation.