The Morphosyntactic Structure of the Noun and Verb Phrases in Dholuo/Kiswahili Code Switching

Jael Anyango Ojanga, Furaha Chai, James Mutiti


Code switching, the use of any two or more languages or dialects interchangeably in a single communication context, is a common linguistic practice owing to the trend of multilingualism in the world today. In many situations of language in contact, constituents of one language can be found within the constituents of another language in a number of linguistic phenomenon namely lexical borrowing, transferring, interference, code switching and diffusion (Annamalai, 1989). Codeswitching is one of the linguistic phenomenon claimed to be the most prevalent and common mode of interaction among multilingual speakers. Brock and Eastman (1971) suggest that topic discussed influences the choice of the language. Nouns and verbs have been found to be the most code switched elements in bilingual exchange. The study took a qualitative approach with the descriptive research design. It was guided by the Matrix Language Frame Model which was formulated by Myers-Scotton in1993. This model expounds on the realization and structure of the major word classes as used in code switching. Data was collected in Nyangeta Zone, Winam Division of Kisumu East District. Winam Division is mostly inhabited by elite Dholuo L1 speakers. A sample of twenty four teachers was purposively selected to provide data needed for the study. Focus group discussion was used to collect a corpus of Dholuo/Kiswahili data which was recorded through audio taping. The recorded data was then analyzed morphosyntactaically using the Matrix Language Frame Model. The data revealed that the noun and verb phrases were realized under three categories: Matrix Language Island constituent (ML Island) ML+EL and Embedded Language Island (EL Island.

Keywords: Code switching, multilingualism, morphosyntactic

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