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A Sociolinguistic Perspective of Codeswitching in French as a Foreign Language Class in Malta and its Implications for Learning

  • Anne-Marie BezzinaEmail author
  • Joanne Gauci
Chapter
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 26)

Abstract

Codeswitching (CS) between Maltese L1, English L2 and French as the target language (TL) in the French as a Foreign language (FFL) classroom in bilingual Malta is known to be a widespread reality, despite many French teachers’ claims that ideally lessons should be delivered in French only (Bezzina, Malta Rev Educ Res 10:277–296, 2016). The aim of this study is to evaluate, on the basis of corpus analysis, whether a wise use of previously known languages in the Foreign Language (FL) classroom can support the learning of the FL. Recordings of 16 FFL lessons delivered at two different learning levels by two teachers in Maltese secondary schools give indications as to the quantitative extent of the use of the L1, L2 and French L3 in these contexts. A qualitative analysis is carried out of the functions fulfilled in the teachers’ discourse by each of the three languages involved in the Maltese FFL context. The corpus analysis takes into account the structural manifestation of language juxtaposition. Interviews with the two teachers involved in the sampling exercise provide participants’ feedback on the analysis results. These results endorse literature attesting that L1 use in FL classrooms allows better content management and transmission, and helps establish a generally positive classroom ambiance. An interpretation is attempted of the social meaning of the observed switching in the context of the societal factors that mark language use in bilingual Malta, and the relationship between the macro- and micro-sociolinguistic dimensions of CS in the FL classroom is investigated.

Keywords

Language alternation Functions Structure Teacher talk Dominant language Social meaning 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MaltaMsidaMalta
  2. 2.St. Martin’s CollegeMsidaMalta

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