Language Contact researchers have been asking the same question/s for the
last five decades and nobody has come up with a satisfactory answer yet.
You're welcome to have a look at the Links folder of our e-group for an
overview of such questions and non-answers, also for a discussion on
'codeness vs languageness' in bilingual settings. A shift of research focus
from labels to patterns might be more beneficial to all.
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The phenomenon that Daniel describes (using "English" for
expressing concepts lacked in "Spanish", or viceversa) was
dubiously labelled by Carmen Silva-Corvalán as the "Compensate
for Lack of Competence" function of "code-shifting". In my
mind, this is not a very spectacular "function", as we do that
constantly in monolingual speech as well: one resorts to
whatever lexical repertoire of whatever level to find the
right words for what we have in mind. Actually, we resort to
whatever communicative resources (signalling systems) we have
at our disposal.
The difference between "monolingual" and "bilingual" speech,
in this respect, is that bilinguals (the more educated, the
clearer) typically also have at their disposal the
metalinguistic notions about "languages" such as "English"
and "Spanish", so metapragmatic awareness about what "language"
is being used is salient. This consciousness is, in itself,
also a communicative resource, very much connected to literacy
and to monolingual language ideologies.
Silva Corvalán, Carmen. 1983. "Code-shifting patterns in
Chicano Spanish". In Spanish in the U.S. setting. Beyond the
Southwest, ed. by Lucía Elías-Olivares. Rosslyn: National
Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, 69-87.
Celso Alvarez Cáccamo Tel. +34 981 167000 ext. 1888
Linguística Geral, Faculdade de Filologia FAX +34 981 167151
Universidade da Corunha lxalvarz@...
15071 A Corunha, Galiza (Espanha) http://www.udc.es/dep/lx/cac/