Conversational Code Switching Languaging Chinese Identities in Multilingual Malaysia
Asian Journal of Social Science
The mixing of three or more languages in casual conversations, a hallmark of Chinese Malaysian informal speech, expresses a range of sociological and ideological meanings in the ongoing construction of Chinese Malaysian heteroglossic identities. While code-switching patterns sometimes mark different speaker positions, they also express broader language identities and ideologies that transcend individual conversations. This is especially clear when analysing the relative frequency and semantic domains of single lexeme mixing, where English is mostly used for consumer culture, Malay for place names and personal names, and Chinese topolects for expressing emotion. Detailed analysis of 12 adult conversations recorded in natural settings in diverse regions of Malaysia is corroborated by language attitudes expressed in focus groups, Facebook posts, and informal conversations and interviews, revealing the diverse and sometimes contending language ideologies linked to specific languages in the Chinese Malaysian setting.
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Carstens, S., & Ang, L. H. (2019). Conversational Code Switching: Languaging Chinese Identities in Multilingual Malaysia. Asian Journal of Social Science, 47(4-5), 508-533.