Tú y yo can code-switch, nosotros cannot: Pronouns in Spanish-English code-switching

Co-authored book chapter published in the edited volume Spanish-English Codeswitching in the Caribbean and the US.

Pronouns have been generally reported to be ungrammatical in intrasentential codeswitching (CS) (Gumperz, 1977; Lipski, 1978; Timm, 1975; among others). However, pronouns can be found in a variety of syntactic, prosodic and/or phonological contexts, the full breadth of which has yet to be investigated systematically in Spanish-English CS. It is uncertain whether the inability to be codeswitched is generalizable to all Spanish and English pronouns regardless of context. To test this, an acceptability judgment task including pronouns in varied contexts was conducted with Spanish-English bilinguals in the United States. The results provide evidence that not all pronouns are unacceptable in intrasentential Spanish-English CS. Specifically, four different contexts are found to enable pronouns to be codeswitched: coordination, modification, prosodic stress and cleft constructions.


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