Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (2010), 13:409-428 Cambridge University Press
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Research Article

Adverb code-switching among Miami's Haitian Creole–English second generation*


a1 University of Florida
Article author query
hebblethwaite b [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


The findings for adverbs and adverbial phrases in a naturalistic corpus of Miami Haitian Creole–English code-switching show that one language, Haitian Creole, asymmetrically supplies the grammatical frame while the other language, English, asymmetrically supplies mixed lexical categories like adverbs. Traces of code-switching with an English frame and Haitian Creole lexical categories suggest that code-switching is abstractly BIDIRECTIONAL. A quantitative methodology that codes the language-indexation of the token in addition to the surrounding lexical items was used for all mixed (e.g. xYx/yXy, xYy/yXx, yYx/xXy) and unmixed (xXx/yYy) adverbs. Discourse position, especially the left-periphery, is found to be a significant factor in adverb code-switching. Sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic analyses which acknowledge the ‘low’ status of one language and the ‘high’ status of the other explain better the frequency of mixed English adverbs in a Haitian Creole frame and the rarity of mixed Haitian Creole adverbs in an English frame than a minimalist approach, such as MacSwan's (1999 and subsequent work), which uses phi-feature valuation and entails asymmetry without bidirectionality. While I provide confirmation for Myers-Scotton's (1993) Matrix Language Frame approach, I emphasize that trace bidirectional data need to be accounted for by a theory that is grounded in the sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic realities.

(Received November 03 2008)

(Revised September 17 2009)

(Accepted November 14 2009)

(Online publication March 19 2010)

Keywords:adverbs in Haitian Creole–English code-switching; asymmetry and bidirectionality; Matrix Language Frame compared with minimalism; lexical and functional categories in bilingual syntax


c1 Address for correspondence: Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Florida, 301 Pugh Hall, PO Box 115565, Gainesville, FL 32611-5565, USA


* I would like to thank Carmen Silva-Corvalán, Ewa Jaworska, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on and corrections to this article. Their constructive criticism and careful editing greatly improved this paper. I would also like to thank Carol Myers-Scotton and Margaret Deuchar for their correspondence, comments and encouragement. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Barbara Vance, Julie Auger, Laurent Dekydtspotter, Kevin Rottet, and Albert Valdman who helped lay a foundation for this research. All errors are my own.