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Re: [code-switching] urgent help needed with definition of metaphorical switching

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  • Susan Ervin-Tripp
    I am sure many people will say this distinction doesn t work, because everything is negotiated and fluid. However.... This was a distinction developed decades
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 21, 2005
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      I am sure many people will say this distinction doesn't work, because
      everything is negotiated and fluid. However....

      This was a distinction developed decades ago, for somewhat stable
      social situations, and roughly
      corresponds to "predictable from place, persons, and event/genre".
      e.g. the Catholic mass which might have had Latin in the mass and
      vernacular in the church announcements. The test is whether the
      usage can be altered without being noticeable (like early English Quakers
      using "thee" to superiors, which was a serious violation).

      In individually negotiated settings, like the one you describe, there is
      a lot more fluidity according to discourse and social factors, so certainly
      this would not be a a case of completely predictable situational
      switching, as you describe it.

      However, Charles Ferguson once described the switch between
      formal Arabic of university lectures and informal conversation of
      lecturer and students in colloquial Arabic after class as a situational
      (diglossic) switch.
      This all may have changed decades later, just as more colloquial Arabic
      is now being used on Arabic TV newscasts, in a somewhat fluid way.
      Then it becomes a semiotic resource, as in the case you describe.

      But don't forget that what creates the semiotic resource is that there has
      to be some social difference in distribution of the choices to begin with. That
      is why it was called metaphorical, based on the frequent cases that were short
      of 100% but strong enough to bias the meaning.

      Susan Ervin-Tripp
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