Abstract: In this paper we address the question of whether it is possible to compare two theoretical approaches to the same phenomenon or whether these should be considered incommensurable. We focus on two contrasting approaches to the identification of code-switching vs. borrowing by Poplack and Meechan  and Myers-Scotton [2,3]. For Poplack the distinction is based on linguistic integration and for Myers-Scotton on frequency. We show how what is a definition for one is a hypothesis for the other, and vice versa. Overcoming this apparent incommensurability requires a theory-independent approach in which we define the unit of analysis as “donor-language items” rather than switches or borrowings. Using this unit of analysis in the analysis of English-origin verbs in a Welsh corpus, we examine the assumptions behind the contrasting definitions of CS vs. borrowing. First we consider whether it is possible to identify linguistic integration in an unequivocal, categorical way and secondly whether linguistic integration is related to frequency of usage. We show that the identification of linguistic integration depends on the test used and that both frequency of usage and listedness play roles in the integration of English donor-language items in Welsh. In this way we argue that we achieve a theory-independent approach and go some way towards overcoming incommensurability.
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explore a facet of bi/multilingual creativity in language mixing. The first aspect of creativity is driven by the consideration of formal principles, which fall outside monolingual or single language competence, e.g., . The rule-governed mechanism, which allows the integration of the embedded language verbs into the matrix language, is accounted for. This objective is achieved by employing two distinct data sets: (1) grammatical competence (intuitional data) involving the embedded lexical verb mixing in the Light Verb Construction in a variety of languages, particularly in South Asian languages (e.g., Hindi-English); and (2) an experimental data set that exhibits the relationships involved in the generative perspective through consideration of Universal Grammar. The underlying motivation for focusing on India is that language mixing constitutes a grass-roots phenomenon in India since the pre-Christian era; hence it is a stable and time-tested phenomenon which allows us to overcome key methodological issues in the study of language mixing.
Abstract: This paper investigates structural changes in the use of Bengali–English bilingual verbs through the exploration of Bengali film scripts from three decades: the 1970s, 1990s and post-2010. Previous research has shown that the increase in use of bilingual verbs, especially involving embedded language lexical verbs with matrix language helping verbs possibly results from increased bilingual proficiency. Over the past years, the use of English, including code-switching between Indian languages and English has increased dramatically in Indian society. Given this development, this paper explores film data to ascertain the extent to which the use of bilingual verbs, closely connected to code-switching and bilingual speech, has also changed diachronically in Bengali–English speech and if these changes occur from increased levels of bilingual proficiency. In connection with structural change, this paper also discusses the sociolinguistic factors that may be related to bilingual verb use. Results show a massive increase in bilingual verbs in the films post-2010, especially the ones involving English lexical verbs. Increased use of code-switching may have played a role in these changes and sociolinguistic factors related to the use of bilingual verbs seem to be less relevant now as compared to the earlier decades.
Abstract: In both child and adult Cantonese, code-mixing is used productively. We focus on the insertion of English verbs into Cantonese utterances. Data from nine simultaneous bilingual children in the Hong Kong Bilingual Child Language Corpus are analyzed. Case studies show that the children’s rates of mixing closely match the rate of mixing in the parental input, and that different input conditions influence rates of mixing. The bilingual children, nevertheless, show creativity, notably in inserting phrasal verb-particle combinations into a Cantonese frame. We argue that this is an innovation not derived from adult input.
Abstract: The present study provides a quantitative analysis of mixed verbs in the naturalistic speech of 20 Northern Belize bi/multilinguals of two different age groups (ages 14–20 and ages 21–40). I examined the relative frequency of Spanish/English mixed verbs vis-à-vis syntactic verb type and phrasal verbs in mixed verbs. Results showed that the token frequency of mixed verbs was a predictive measure of the relative frequency of ‘hacer + V’ in code-switched speech. In relation to syntactic verb type, it was found that the least productivity in terms of argument structures was attested among the youngest group of emergent bi/multilinguals. For the incorporation of phrasal verbs in mixed verbs, no marked differences were attested in the relative frequency of phrasal verbs across emergent and dynamic bi/multilinguals, but differences did emerge in the semantic nature of phrasal verbs. Findings highlight the fundamental role that adult code-switchers with higher levels of bi/multilingual proficiency play in the creation and propagation of morphosyntactic innovations.
Abstract: Most or all bilingual varieties of the languages spoken in the area between Sri Lanka and Greece have bilingual compound verbs, consisting of a lexical content verb from a donor language and a helping verb from the matrix language. In this paper, these verbs are described and analyzed, and the question is raised whether this widespread occurrence is specifically an areal feature, or a universally available pattern and a question of typological poise—the possibility of a construction arising due to propitious typological circumstances. Pleading for the areal perspective, it is concluded there is the fact that two large and important language families—Turkic and Indo-Iranian—either rapidly developed or already had a productive [noun + verb] construction. On the universalist side, it is clear that native [noun + verb] constructions very easily develop into [verb + verb] constructions in bilingual settings, though not in monolingual settings. This is a cross-generational change that is a contact phenomenon; that is to say, this development does not occur in monolingual, non-contact language settings.