The Sociolinguistic Dimensions of Code-Switching between Arabic and English by Saudis

Manal A. Ismail
2015 International Journal of English Linguistics  
The neglected area of Arab speakers' verbal performance in mixed-sex contexts is the focus of this study. This paper attempts to contribute to this area by studying the frequency and type of code-switches from Arabic into English in the casual conversations of young bilingual Saudis. Findings indicate that Saudi females' style of speech was characterized by substantially more code-switching from Arabic into English particularly single noun and adjective switches than their male counterparts in
more » ... le counterparts in both single and mixed sex interactions. Women's turn-switches were marked by more linguistic convergence between one another, however they were less inclined to turn-switch to the language of a speaker of the opposite sex. Men's code-switching performance at a turn boundary was overall more inclined towards linguistic divergence. The findings in relation to turn-switching would indicate that although these women and men interacted in mixed-sex settings, they still seemed to adhere to Saudi cultural values that encourage social distance between the sexes. It is argued that underpinning Arab women's and men's code-switching behavior are lingering cultural customs and gendered ideologies of language. 100 relation to Saudi women's and men's CS performance. Defining CS It is common for bilinguals to alternate between two languages in the same conversation. The term CS is usually used to describe this linguistic behavior. The literature is however awash with a range of terms describing different aspects of this verbal behavior, for example, code-mixing, code-borrowing, insertion, alternation, and congruent lexicalization. Definitions are problematic and an area of contention by scholars in the field primarily because the linguistic criteria used to differentiate between CS terms often overlap (see, e.g.
doi:10.5539/ijel.v5n5p99 fatcat:wpp5rd4l2zgu3fet6nc2edh65u