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Journal of English as a Lingua Franca

Ed. by Seidlhofer, Barbara / Dewey, Martin


CiteScore 2018: 1.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.527
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.348

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2191-933X
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“You are struggling forwards, and you don’t know, and then you … you do code-switching…” – Code-switching in ELF Skype conversations

„Du wurstelst dich durch, und du weißt nicht, und dann … dann codeswitchst du…“ – Code-Switching in Englisch als Lingua Franca Skypegesprächen

Marie-Louise Brunner
  • Corresponding author
  • Language and Communication, FB UW/UR, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, PO Box 13 80, 55761 Birkenfeld, Germany
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Stefan Diemer
  • International Business Communication and Digital Business, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, PO Box 13 80, 55761 Birkenfeld, Germany
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  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2018-03-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2018-0003

Abstract

This article analyzes how code-switching (CS) is used as a key strategy in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) interaction. We use data from CASE, a corpus of ELF Skype conversations in an informal setting between students from nine European countries. CS in our data is commonly used as a communication strategy. A quantitative analysis shows that it occurs in the majority of conversations and across all nationalities. Participants mostly switch to their own L1, frequently also to their interlocutors’ L1, rarely to other languages. CS co-occurs with other discourse features, in particular other instances of CS and laughter. Based on a qualitative analysis, we distinguish three motivations and functions of CS: On an interpersonal level, CS can underline group membership or cultural identity and create rapport, often in combination with laughter. CS is used to improve communication at the discourse level by conveying concepts that are untranslatable and possibly unknown to the interlocutor, in metalinguistic commentary, or to close lexical gaps. CS can also be used for addressee specification. Through its combined qualitative and quantitative approach, the article aims at contributing to the analysis of the context as well as the motivations and functions of CS in ELF.

Zusammenfassung

Der Artikel analysiert, wie Code-Switching (Sprachwechsel; CS) als häufige Strategie in Englisch als Lingua Franca (ELF)-Interaktionen verwendet wird. Die Datengrundlage für unsere Studie ist CASE, ein Korpus von ELF Skypegesprächen in einer informellen Umgebung zwischen Studierenden aus neun europäischen Ländern. CS wird in unseren Daten häufig als Kommunikations-strategie genutzt. Eine quantitative Analyse von CS in CASE zeigt, dass CS in der Mehrzahl der Konversationen und bei allen Nationalitäten vorkommt. Die Sprechenden wechseln meist zu ihrer eigenen Muttersprache (L1), häufig auch zur L1 der Gesprächspartner/innen, selten zu anderen Sprachen. CS tritt zusammen mit anderen Diskursmerkmalen auf, besonders mit anderem CS und Lachen. Auf der Grundlage einer qualitativen Analyse unterscheiden wir drei Hauptmotivationen und Funktionen von CS: Zwischenmenschlich motiviertes CS kann Gruppenzugehörigkeit oder kulturelle Identität betonen und dem Aufbau emotionaler Verbindungen zwischen den Sprechenden dienen, oft in Kombination mit Lachen. CS wird auch zur Diskursverbesserung genutzt, indem Konzepte vermittelt werden, die unübersetzbar oder möglicherweise für die Gesprächspartner/innen unbekannt sind, in metalinguistischen Kommentaren, oder um lexikalische Lücken zu schließen. CS kann auch der Adressatenspezifizierung dienen. Durch den kombinierten quantitativen und qualitativen Ansatz trägt der Artikel zur Analyse des Kontexts und der Gesprächsfunktionen von CS in ELF bei.

Keywords: code-switching; ELF Skype conversations; computer-mediated discourse; conversation strategies; functions of code-switching

Schlagworte: Code-Switching; Sprachwechsel; Englisch als Lingua Franca Skypegespräche; computergestützter Diskurs; Gesprächsstrategien; Funktionen von Code-Switching

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About the article

Marie-Louise Brunner

Marie-Louise Brunner is Doctoral Researcher and Head of the Intercultural Communication program at Trier University of Applied Sciences and Doctoral Researcher and Lecturer in English Linguistics at Saarland University, Germany. She investigates discourse strategies and the negotiation of intercultural communication in ELF Skype conversations. Her research interests include corpus-based discourse analysis, pragmatics, intercomprehension, and ELT. As a partner at Teaching Solutions Corporation, she works as a consultant on intercultural and educational issues.

Stefan Diemer

Stefan Diemer is Professor of International Communication and Digital Business at Trier University of Applied Sciences and Associate Professor of Linguistics at Saarland University, Germany. He is head of the team compiling CASE, a corpus of ELF Skype conversations. His research interests include Web language, ELF, ELT, intercomprehension, language and identity, and food discourse. As partner at Teaching Solutions Corporation, he works as a consultant on intercultural and educational issues.


Published Online: 2018-03-13

Published in Print: 2018-03-26


Citation Information: Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 59–88, ISSN (Online) 2191-933X, ISSN (Print) 2191-9216, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2018-0003.

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