Codeswitching occurs when multilingual speakers embed elements of more than one language into the dominant (or Matrix) language within individual utterances of conversation. Codeswitching in Igbo-English Bilingualism explores the syntax of bilingual codeswitching between the Benue-Congo African language of Igbo and English. Within the framework of Myers-Scotton's highly influential Matrix Language Frame (MLF) model, Kelechukwu Ihemere explores the notion of asymmetry in Igbo-English codeswitching, arguing that the two languages do not contribute equally in the creation of mixed utterances. In the abstract interaction between the two grammars, the Matrix language is more activated than the Embedded language, resulting in either monolingual Igbo discourse or discourse with an Igbo morphosyntactic frame but with English insertions.
Using both linguistic and quantitative analyses, this book uniquely investigates the governing principles and restrictions on bilingual clauses and grammatical codeswitching in the context of a West African language and English. Providing a detailed descriptive and theoretical investigation of Igbo-English data and a deeper analysis of the MLF model, this book will be of interest to anyone working in the fields of comparative syntax, bilingualism and contact linguistics.
Kelechukwu Ihemere is Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Westminster, UK.
List of Figures List of Tables Preface Acknowledgements List of abbreviations and symbols 1. Introduction 2. Studying the grammar of codeswitching 3. Theoretical framework 4. Comparison of aspects of Igbo and English grammars 5. Methodology 6. Embedded language single words: Nouns and Adjectives 7. Embedded language single words: Verbs 8. Embedded language islands 9. Concluding remarks and implications Appendix A: Sample interview protocol Appendix B: Summary of findings from the interview protocol Notes References Index