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Code-Switching or Code-Mixing? Tiwi Children’s Use of Language Resources in a Multilingual Environment

  • Aidan Wilson
  • Peter Hurst
  • Gillian Wigglesworth
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities book series (PSMLC)

Abstract

This chapter analyses the language used by children on the Tiwi Islands with reference to current theories around bilingualism and code-switching. The Tiwi Islands (northern Australia) are a complex linguistic area with Modern Tiwi, English and Kriol, an English-lexified creole, being commonly spoken. At the preschool stage of the children’s linguistic development, none of these languages appears to be a dominant matrix language as described by Myers-Scotton and Jake (Linguistics 33, 981–1024, 1995; International Journal of Bilingualism 4(1), 1–8, 2000). We argue that children can do more than just code-switch and instead utilise a basic, fairly uniform grammar alongside a repertoire of language-specific features which they draw upon freely. Such versatility is particularly useful in shaping language for an audience which itself has differing abilities in each of the languages.

Keywords

Preschool children Translanguaging Multilingualism Language change Language choice Tiwi Islands, Australia 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aidan Wilson
    • 1
  • Peter Hurst
    • 2
  • Gillian Wigglesworth
    • 2
  1. 1.Intersect AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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