Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

The architecture of the bilingual language faculty: evidence from intrasentential code switching

Jeff MacSwan a1c1
a1 Arizona State University


In this article, the author addresses the question of how the mind represents two languages in simultaneous bilingualism. Some linguistic theories of intrasentential code switching are reviewed, with a focus on the Minimalist approach of MacSwan (1999b); the author concludes that evidence from code switching suggests that bilinguals have discrete and separate Lexicons for the languages they speak, each with its own internal principles of word formation, as well as separate phonological systems. However, the author argues that computational resources common to the two languages generate monolingual and bilingual syntactic derivations alike. Advantages of the Minimalist Program for the analysis of code switching data are discussed at some length.

c1 Address for correspondence: Arizona State University, P.O. Box 872011, Tempe, AZ 85287–2011, USA. E-mail: