“When I went to Canada, I saw the madre": evaluating two theories' predictions about codeswitching between determiners and nouns using Spanish-English and Welsh-English bilingual corpora

Jon Herring, Maria Del Carmen Parafita Couto, Monica Moro Quintanilla Moro Quintanilla

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Previous work on intrasentential codeswitching has noted that switches between
determiners and their noun complements are frequent in both SpanishEnglish
and WelshEnglish data. Two major recent theories of codeswitching, the Matrix
Language Frame model and a Minimalist Program approach, make potentially
competing predictions regarding the source language of the determiner in these
mixed nominal constructions. In this paper we evaluate the predictions of each theory with reference to comparable sets of SpanishEnglish and WelshEnglish codeswitching data. Mixed nominal constructions are extracted to test the compatibility of these data with the predictions, taking into account coverage and accuracy. We find that the data are broadly consistent with each set of predictions but do not find statistically significant differences between the accuracy of the predictions of the two theories.We examine in detail the counterexamples to the predictions of each theory to see what further factors may influence codeswitching patterns between determiners and their nouns, and also discuss the differences in observed patterns in the data from each language pair.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-573
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • codeswitching
  • bilingual corpora
  • evaluation of theories
  • matrix language frame theory
  • minimalist approaches to codeswitching
  • intrasentential codeswitching

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