Code Switching in Arabic – English and Telugu – English– A Minimalist AccountbyN.C.KiranmayiSupervisor: Prof. Hemalatha NagarajanDepartment of Linguistics and Contemporary EnglishThe English and Foreign Languages UniversityA dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of therequirements for the degree Master of Philosophyin Linguistics and PhoneticsThe English and Foreign Languages UniversityHyderabad, 500 065July 2010

ContentsAcknowledgementsiAbstractiiiChapter 1 Introduction and Literature Review11.1.Introduction11.2.Defining Code Switching21.3. A Formal Discussion of Postulated Universal Constraints onCode Switching61.3.1. Pffaff’s (1979) Approach71.3.2. Poplack’s (1980, 1981) Approach71.3.3. Bentahila and E. Davies’ (1983) Approach91.3.4. Di Sciullo, Muysken and Singh’s (1986) approach91.3.5. Mahootian’s (1993) approach111.3.6. Belazi, Rubin and Toribio’s (1994) approach111.3.7. Halmari’s Approach131.3.8. MacSwan’s (1997)“Minimalist” approach14Chapter 2 Methodology182.1. Research Questions182.2. Description of informants192.3.Methods of collecting the data232.4.Presentation of data in this thesis242.5.Abbreviations of terms used in presentation of data25

2.6 Types of sentences used in grammatical judgment tasks27Chapter 3. Syntax of Arabic, English and Telugu263.1. Select Syntax of Arabic273.2. Select Syntax of Telugu293.3. Features, Interpretability and Movement333.4. Interpretable and uninterpretable features in English, Telugu & Arabic 403.5. Parametric differences between Arabic, English & Telugu463.6. Literature on Word Order Differences503.7. The structures of DP, CP and IP in English, Telugu and Arabic533.8. Summary of Syntactic Differences between English,63Telugu and EnglishChapter 4.Basic findings of Arabic-English and Telugu-English67Code Switching4.1. Switching within IP67a. lexical items and verbs67b. subject pronouns and the verb68c. Object pronouns and verbs4.2. Switching within VP6978a. Duratives78b. Negation81c. Modals83d. To infinitives84

4.3. Switching within DPa. Demonstratives8787b. Determiners884.4 Switching within CP91a. That-complement91b. If and complement93c. Whether and complement94d. Conjunctions954.5. Switching within NP98a. Quantifiers and Non referential Quantified NPs98b. Negatively quantified nonreferential NPs99c. Nonegative nonreferential NP1004.6. Switches in modification structures (Adjective Phrases)104a. Switching involving adjectives and nouns104b. switches involving numerals and NPs1064.7. Switches involving clitics1074.8. Switches involving bound morphemes1084.9 Data obtained through naturalistic observation1094.10. Findings from my data vs. main constraints proposed112Chapter 5. Analysis of Telugu-English &Arabic-English113Code switching Data: A Minimalist Account5.1. Brief Introduction114

5.2.Analysis of Data: Switching within IP130a. lexical vs. pronominal subjects and objects119b. pure languages and pronouns121c. code switching and pronouns1235.3. Switching within VP128a. Duratives128b. Negation131c. Modals132d. To infinitives5.4. Switching within DP134135a. Demonstratives137b. Determiners1385.5. Switching within CP138a. That-complement138b. Conjunctions1415.7. Switches in modification structures (Adjective Phrases)1415.8.147ConclusionBibliography149

Dedicated toSRI SHIRDI SAIBABAIn all humility.I can never thank you enough for all the blessings that YOUshower on us .THANK YOU

AcknowledgementsThis is my first opportunity to acknowledge many people who have been a guidingforce throughout my journey into Linguistics and this research.Firstly, I am thoroughly indebted to my supervisor, Prof. Hemalatha Nagarajan, whoactually planted this exciting idea of code switching in my mind. She was the one whosuggested that this could be an interesting topic to pursue. Despite her hectic and mindboggling schedules, she showed extraordinary patience in listening to my half-bakedideas, often sketchy earlier versions of the chapters, wading through my constant emailsbugging her to help, and making many helpful suggestions. She has read and re read allthe chapters and provided insightful comments. Most of core ideas in all the chaptersemerged in conversations with her, and her comments throughout have led to manyrefinements. She has also seen me through my personal ups and downs.Secondly, I am thankful to all the professors of Linguistics at The English and ForeignLanguages University (formerly CIEFL), Hyderabad who have influenced myintellectual as well as my everyday life. The list is very long, but each one of themdeserves a special mention.Prof. Jayaseelan for initiating me into Syntax, Prof.Vijayakrishnan for Morphology, Prof. Madhavan for Semantics, and Prof. PrabhakarBabu for Phonetics. They laid the foundation of my long lasting relationship withLinguistics.Thanks are also due to Prof. Tapas Ray and Prof. Surabhi Bharati, Prof. KomaliPrakash and Dr. Sarwatunnisa from the Distance Education Department for furtheringmy interest by involving in fruitful discussions. Many thanks especially to Prof.Surabhi Bharati, Coordinator, Linguistics Department, for arranging the schedules ofcompulsory contact programs around the times which were suitable for me. ManyThanks. A special mention to Prof. Tapas Ray for the insights into Minimalism is amust. He was also constantly bugged by me about my performance in the syntaxclasses. Thanks for bearing with me. Prof. Hariprasad also deserves a special mentionfor his comments on code switched sentences in Telugu. Many Thanks to all of you!I owe my gratitude also to people from my family, especially my husband, Sridhar forhis constant support, unrestrained love and blind faith that I could achieve anything if Ii

was consistent. But for him, I wouldn’t have completed three Masters’ degrees and thisdissertation. I also wish to thank my parents for their silent and consistent support andmy younger sisters (Hema and Geetha) and my nieces and nephews (Aditya,Harichandana, Mrudula, Harivamshi, SriKaumudi and Srivatsa) for providing therequired relief from the rigorous routine of attending classes, completing assignmentsand shuttling between Muscat and Hyderabad. My parents-in-law also contributed tomy present success in their own small little ways.Next, to my close friend, Mrs. Meenalochana, who was continuously pushing metoward achieving my goal. Without her I would have long before given up the idea ofdoing anything after my M.A.(Hons). Thanks a lot Meenaji!!!!!!!!!!Also, our close family friend, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Meherzi deserves a specialmention. He is an Omani but has been a constant source of inspiration for both me andmy husband. He was very excited when this idea of Arabic-English code switchingwas discussed with him and he was constantly pumping in the data collected from hisclassroom conversations and his own conversations with his colleagues. Without hisconstant encouragement and support, most of the data that I have presented in thisthesis, would not have been there. Thanks, Meherzi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Next, are the people from my work place, Scientific College of Design, Muscat, whodeserve a special mention for without their cooperation, it would have been impossibleto attend the compulsory contact programs in M. Phil and put in the required attendancefor submitting the thesis. Whenever I needed to attend the contact programs, they veryenthusiastically approved my leave of absence for they strongly believe in professionaldevelopment of the teachers. They are Mr. Mohammed Adel, Chairman of ScientificCollege of Design, ex-Dean Dr. Ziad Al Malawi and the HOD, Mr. Shahlan Abdullahand my all colleagues from the department for supporting me when I was away busyattending the classes. Thanks a lot!!Finally, it would be ungrateful on my part if I didn’t mention four important namesJeff MacSwan, B.S. Chan,and Ji Young Shim who inspite of their busy schedules responded to my e-mails immediately and sent mepersonal copies of their articles which I couldn’t seem to get from the internet or anylibrary. Thank You!!!!!!ii

AbstractThis thesis addresses grammatical aspects of code switching in two languagepairs- Telugu-English and Arabic-English.The two language pairs are selectedprecisely for the reason that they are diametrically opposite to each other in terms ofword order. Telugu is an SOV language, whereas (Spoken) Arabic is SVO just likeEnglish.Many researchers have looked at a single language pair and arrived atdifferent conclusions. Some of them (Pfaff, Joshi, et al) said that there was a need for aspecific lexical apparatus to describe code switched sentences while some of them(MacSwan and Chan) advocated Null Theory. In other words, they said that there wasno need for a separate grammar but the same lexical apparatus that were used todescribe monolingual sentences can be used to account for code switched sentences.Though this thesis, at heart is an addition to the list of the Null Theory advocates, itdoes so in a different way. It looks at data from two language pairs which according tothe limited knowledge of the researcher is first of its kind.A lot of data was collected using two methods – grammatical judgment andnaturalistic observation. Though some researchers are against former method, manyothers are of the opinion that unless one knows what is wrong, how does one explainwhat is right?The approach followed in this thesis to analyze the data is minimalist in the sensethat only mechanisms that were absolutely essential to account for the data were used.Firstly, earlier literature that had been proposed specific lexical apparatus for codeswitched data is reviewed in the light of newly collected data and each one isdisconfirmed.Then the analysis proceeds to confirm the Null theory. Finally it is proved thatthough the languages differ in their basic word orders, there is switching possible atalmost all boundaries and that the same lexical apparatus used to analyze monolingualdata can be extended to account for code switched data.Keywords: antisymmetry, code switching, grammatical aspects, Greenberg’s universal20, minimalist theory, syntactic constraints.iii

Chapter 11. IntroductionThis thesis addresses the grammatical aspects of code switching in two pairs oflanguages- Arabic-English and Telugu-English. The phenomenon of code switchinghas received a lot of attention from both language experts and linguists from a verylong time. While language experts are interested in the ‘why’ of code switching,linguists have been interested in the ‘how’ of code switching. As a budding linguistand an experienced language instructor, I have been intrigued by this phenomenonmore so after coming to Oman, where I am working now. I have selected to look intothe syntactic aspects of code switching of these language pairs because Telugu, an SOVlanguage is my mother tongue and Spoken Arabic, an SVO language is the firstlanguage in Oman. While code switching is a way of life in Andhra Pradesh, India,where I come from, code switching is gaining popularity here in Oman because Englishis the second most important language in Oman. My students and other colleagues mixArabic and English for communicating. I selected these two language pairs as theyhave different word orders and very few linguists have looked at such pairs. In thischapter, I review different theories put forward by many linguists outlining thegrammatical restrictions in terms of these language pairs and disconfirm each of themgiving examples from my findings. In Chapter 2, the methodology of data collection isexplained. In Chapter 3, a short introduction to the syntax of Arabic and Telugu ispresented. Their syntax is contrasted with that of English to know the availability ofdifferent sites for code mixing and code switching. In chapter 4, I present the datacollected in natural settings and provide speakers’ intuitions regarding code switchingin grammaticality judgment tasks. In Chapter 5, I compare the findings from the two1

pairs of languages and contrast them as the two languages Arabic and Telugu arestructurally different from English.1.2. Defining Code SwitchingCode Switching (CS) refers to the mixing of two or more languages by bilinguals (ormultilinguals) in a discourse. Two types of code switching have been recognized bymost researchers: Intrasentential code switching used for switches within sentences, andintersentential code switching for switches between sentences.The choice of code used in a particular speech act is influenced by such factors as thenature of the interlocutor, topic or setting, the speaker’s mood, purpose and so on(Kachru, 1977). Such mixing may take place at any level of linguistic structure, but itsoccurrence within the confines of a single sentence or even word, has attracted mostlinguistic attention. Before proceeding further, defining and distinguishing the coreterms; code mixing and code switching is in order.The earliest definition of CS dates back to Weinreich (1953), who defines bilingualpeople as individuals who switch “from one language to the other according toappropriate changes in speech situation”. (Naseh 1997: 202).In recent literature, there has been some variation in defining this term in comparison tocode mixing.The two phenomena are defined here as in (1) and (2), respectively, in the light ofstudies conducted (cf. Kachru (1978, 1982), Sridhar and Sridhar (1980) :2

(1) Code switching is the embedding or mixing of words, phrases, and sentences fromtwo codes within the same speech event and across sentence boundaries.(2) Code mixing is the embedding or mixing of various linguistic units, i.e., affixes,words, phrases and clauses from two distinct grammatical systems or subsystemswithin the same sentences and the same speech situation. He adds to say that thisdistinction between the two phenomena is not only convenient but also necessarybecause they make different linguistic and psycholinguistic claims. For example, CSdoes n