Catalan Review

COMPARING THE PRAGMATIC FUNCTION OF CODE SWITCHING IN ORAL CONVERSATION AND IN TWITTER IN BILINGUAL SPEECH FROM VALENCIA, SPAIN

Catalan Review (2017), 31, (1), 15–39.

Abstract

This study examines the pragmatic function of code switching (CS) in Twitter and conversation in Valencia by comparing data from the PRESEEA corpus with a corpus of 106,719 words and 8,432 tweets collected by the author. A secondary comparison was made with data from studies on e-mails and blogs. In Twitter, CS is used most frequently with tag switches, followed by lexical unit switches and the use of CS for emphasis. In conversation, CS is used primarily for lexical unit switches, in free switches, i.e. those switches that are not easily classified into neat categories, and in quote switches. The idea of expected vs. non-expected reciprocity seems to be an important factor in determining the similarity between the pragmatic functions of a communication medium. In those mediums where reciprocity is expected, the pragmatic function of CS will be similar, as in the case of conversation in PRESEEA and in e-mails. In those mediums where reciprocity is not necessarily expected, we see that CS has a similar pragmatic function across these types of mediums, such as Twitter and blogs. This study suggests that CS in Twitter is a type of “we-code” among Valencian users. The use of English by Twitter users seems to be a way of expressing affiliation in the “global youth culture.”

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LAVENDER, JORDAN