Subject-predicate code-switching: Testing the need of a matrix language through embedding

Book chapter published in the edited volume Hispanic linguistics: Current issues and new directions.

There is continued debate on what determines the rule-governed behavior of intrasentential code-switching. Central to this debate is whether it is essential to differentiate between the languages involved, i.e., a matrix language and an embedded language. In favor of such an approach is Myers-Scotton’s (1993, 2002) Matrix Language Frame Model, whereas MacSwan’s (1999, 2014) Minimalist approach to code-switching operates independently of such a notion. To compare these two frameworks, a written Acceptability Judgment Task was completed by highly proficient Spanish-English bilinguals. The results suggest that the (un)grammaticality of the subject-predicate switch in embedded contexts does not align with the predictions made by the proposal by Jake (1994), an analysis that operates under the Matrix Language Frame Model. Proposals within the Minimalist approach to code-switching, both van Gelderen and MacSwan (2008) and González-Vilbazo and Koronkiewicz (2016), however, are effective at predicting grammaticality.

doi: 10.1075/ihll.26.12kor

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