AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Code-switching in Greater Bilbao : A bilingual variety of colloquial Basque

by Hanna Lantto

Institution: University of Helsinki
Department: Department of Modern Languages
Year: 2015
Keywords: kielitiede
Record ID: 1141203
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/154646


This doctoral dissertation examines the role of code-switching between Basque and Spanish linguistic elements in the metropolitan area of Greater Bilbao in the Basque Country. The study consists of four articles and a compilation article. The articles examine bilingual speech from different points of view: variation in grammatical code-switching patterns, the role of swearing, slang and code-switching in constructing an informal register of Basque, language ideologies that discourage and encourage code-switching, and conventionalization of semantic-pragmatic code-switching patterns. The Basque context of language revitalization has created new divisions between speakers, as the formerly unidirectional bilingualism has turned into a situation where great numbers of Spanish speakers are learning Basque in adult acquisition programs or in Basque-medium education. Basque is still, however, a minority language in the Greater Bilbao area and the bilingual Basque speakers live scattered among the monolingual majority. The effect of these social structures on linguistic structures is examined in two sets of data that were collected for the purposes of this study. For the first set of data, 22 hours of naturally occurring peer-group conversations with 22 Basque-Spanish bilinguals were recorded, while the second set consists of 12 hours of metalinguistic conversations with 47 bilingual Basques. The speakers use their bilingual repertoire in numerous creative and dynamic ways. Yet some tendencies can be detected. Colloquial Basque in Bilbao is a bilingual speech style that always includes some code-switching to Spanish. There is considerable variation in the individuals code-switching patterns. Some of the informants, particularly L1-speakers of Basque, use very intensive and syntactically intrusive code-switching, whereas others, especially L2-speakers of Basque, only engage in syntactically peripheral code-switching, such as Spanish interjections, discourse markers and tags. The L2-speakers purist tendencies seem to have two sources: firstly, the normative setting of acquisition where language mixing is discouraged, and secondly, the general interpretation of new speakers code-switching as lack of proficiency in the minority language. Some Spanish elements have become conventionalized throughout the speech community as the default option. All informants use Spanish discourse markers, and swear words and colloquialisms are always introduced in Spanish in otherwise Basque speech. Spanish discourse markers seem to have been automatized as conversational routines, whereas Spanish swear words and colloquialisms have become conventionalized because of the domains they are associated with, and because of the lack of these stylistic categories in standard Basque. Koodinvaihto Suur-Bilbaossa: alueen puhekieleen kuuluu baskin ja espanjan sekoitus Kaksikieliset puhetyylit saavat usein liikanimiä kuten Spanglish (Spanish + English) ja portuñol (português + español), ja niitä pidetään helposti huonona kielenkäyttönä, jota…