Code Switching in the Community

Code Switching in the Community

Primary Investigator: Rena Torres Cacoullos

Graduate Students: Grant Berry

The contact site is the northern part of the U.S. southwestern state of New Mexico,where Spanish and English have co-existed as the main competing languages for over 150 years. Participants in the study are all at least third-generation Nuevomexicanos ‘New Mexicans’, who were selected to cover a range of demographic backgrounds (e.g., miners, ranchers, schoolteachers). All meet the criterion of regular use of both languages with the same interlocutor in the same domain.

Spontaneous bilingual speech is recorded through the community-based method of sociolinguistic interviews (Labov1984) conducted by in-group members (Poplack 1993). The New Mexico Spanish-English Bilingual (NMSEB) corpus (Torres Cacoullos & Travis, In Preparation) comprises 31 interviews, for a total of 29 hours of speech, approximately 340,000 words. In addition to single other-language words, NMSEB records copious switching between multi-word strings of Spanish and English.

Fabiola .. who’s going to the party?
Molly …(0.7) no sé no,
.. no más me dijo que,
.. (H) .. que le iban a hacer algo at five or six something.
Fabiola .. oh this evening?
… oh so entonces no misstiste nada.
[NMSEB 09 La salvia, 0:44:56-0:45:06]