Modality in experimental code-switching research: Aural versus written stimuli

Co-authored book chapter published in the edited volume Code-switching – Experimental answers to theoretical questions: In honor of Kay González-Vilbazo.

Various methodological concerns are specific to code-switching research; however, the modality of experimental stimuli has yet to be thoroughly investigated. This study explicitly tests if the mode of presentation does in fact affect participants’ judgments in Spanish-English code-switching using two different syntactic phenomena: (i) pronouns and lexical DPs, and (ii) wh-movement. The results are parallel, but not identical for the two modalities. We found no difference on a global level, indicating that written code-switched stimuli do not produce depressed ratings. We found a few individual differences when looking at specific structures within the two phenomena. In those cases, the aural condition enhanced the ratings of more acceptable sentences. Crucially, these differences did not affect the interpretation of the results.


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.