AuthorAl-Qudhai'een, Muhammad A.I.
AdvisorTroike, Rudolph C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe syntax of intrasentential codeswitching has been the main focus of research on codeswitching in the last two decades, and several constraints on its occurrence have been proposed. Belazi et al.'s (1994) Functional Head Constraint is one of the most recent among these constraints. It states that codeswitching is not allowed between functional heads and their complements. This study tests the predictions of this constraint, as well as Poplack's (1980) Equivalence Constraint, using Saudi Arabic-English codeswitching data from ten graduate students studying at U.S. universities. A total of ten hours of naturalistic telephone conversational data was tape-recorded, and transcribed for analysis. Selected portions of the conversations containing fairly frequent codeswitching are included in an appendix, which may be a source for further research. Codeswitches were classified according to the category of syntactic unit in which they occurred, and their frequency was tabulated. Illustrative examples of each category are given, and the applicability of major proposed constraints to the examples is discussed, with particular attention to the Functional Head Constraint. Analysis shows that Saudi Arabic-English codeswitching poses an apparent challenge to the Functional Head Constraint, as the database contains frequent counterexamples, consisting primarily of a switch between the bound Arabic definite article el- and an English Noun or modifier + Noun. Analyzed in terms of Chomsky's (1995) Minimalist Program, this switch is seen as occurring between the head of the DP and its complement, with the /l/ of the Arabic head assimilating to the first [+ Coronal] consonant of the English word, following regular phonological rules. It is proposed that the definite article has weak features, and does not have to check its language feature, so that it does not block codeswitching. The Functional Head Constraint can thus be maintained if it is restricted to apply to heads with strong features, such as demonstratives, which block codeswitching. However, the phenomenon remains a clear violation of the Free Morpheme Constraint (Poplack 1980).
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching