Code-Switching or Code-Mixing? Tiwi Children’s Use of Language Resources in a Multilingual Environment
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.
KeywordsPreschool children Translanguaging Multilingualism Language change Language choice Tiwi Islands, Australia
- Jake, J. L., Myers-Scotton, C., & Gross, S. (2002). Making a minimalist approach to codeswitching work: Adding the matrix language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5(01). doi: 10.1017/S1366728902000147.
- Lee, J. R. (1987). Tiwi today: A study of language change in a contact situation. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.Google Scholar
- Myers-Scotton, C. (1993 ). Duelling languages: Grammatical structure in codeswitching (1997 edition with a new afterword). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- MacSwan, J. (2000). Bilingualism: Language and cognition the architecture of the bilingual language faculty: Evidence from intrasentential code switching. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 3, 37–54.Google Scholar
- Poplack, S. (1980). “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish y termino en Espanol”: Toward a typology of code-switching. Linguistics, 18, 581–618.Google Scholar
- Poplack, S. (1981). The syntactic structure and social function of code-switching. In R. Durán (Ed.), Latino language and communicative behavior (pp. 169–184). Norwood: Ablex.Google Scholar
- Radford, A. (2007). Minimalist syntax revisited. Essex: Essex University.Google Scholar
- Simpson, J, Caffery, J., & McConvell, P. (2009). Gaps in Australia’s Indigenous language policy: Dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory. AIATSIS research discussion paper 24. Canberra: AIATSIS Research Publications.Google Scholar
- Smith, J. C. (2008). The refunctionalisation of first person plural inflection in Tiwi. In C. Bowern, B. Evans, & L. Miceli (Eds.), Morphology and language history: In honour of Harold Koch. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Wilson, A. (2013). Tiwi revisited: A reanalysis of Traditional Tiwi verb morphology (Unpublished master’s thesis). Melbourne: The University of Melbourne. http://hdl.handle.net/11343/39640