Programs and Proposals in Codeswitching Research New Questions and

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Programs and Proposals in Codeswitching Research New Questions and Powered By Docstoc
					Programs and Proposals in Codeswitching Research: New Questions and New
Directions

Jeff MacSwan, Arizona State University


The presentation maps out two distinct research programs in codeswitching (CS) – a constraint-
oriented approach and a constraint-free approach. The constraint-oriented approach emerged in
the context of early models in generative-transformational grammar which posited constraints on
transformations and phrase structure. While the history of the field reveals much interest in a
constraint-free approach to CS, technological limitations of earlier grammatical models involving
late lexical insertion prevented implementation of a viable model. It is argued that the lexicalist
character of the Minimalist Program, unlike previous syntactic theories, permits implementation
of a constraint-free research program because lexical items are inserted into the syntax at the
onset, carrying along whatever peculiar linguistic properties they may have. The task of a
constraint-free research program consists in explaining the grammaticality facts in CS in terms of
the linguistic properties introduced into the syntax by distinct lexical items, whatever the
language of origin may be. Specific proposals articulated within this research program give rise
to new and intriguing questions which never surfaced in connection with proposals in the
constraint-oriented program, and chart a course for discovering the actual properties of a
bilingual’s linguistic system relevant to the grammaticality facts observed in mixed-language
utterances. These points are illustrated with constraint-free solutions to several intriguing puzzles
in the CS literature, including an analysis of the restriction on mixing in pronominal contexts and
observed patterns of adjective-noun word order in CS contexts.