First Advisor

Keith Walters

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, Code switching (Linguistics), Spanish language -- Discourse analysis



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 150 pages)


The present study analyzed the language in the script of the bilingual play Mi Vida Gitana 'My Gypsy Life' (Malán, 2006) in order to better understand issues relating to codeswitching (CS). The analysis was done from a structural and a functional perspective and utilized various models developed by renowned CS scholars.

For the structural analysis, I utilized concepts and ideas put forth in the three-tiered typology created by Muysken (2000) and the Matrix Language Frame model developed by Myers-Scotton (1993). The results of this portion of the study showed that some form of CS, whether occurring between turns or within turns, was observed in 78% of all turns. With regard to CS types and elements most commonly observed in the data, the alternation of clauses and the insertion and alternation of nouns and noun phrases were the predominant phenomena occurring in the script.

I used Myers-Scotton's (1993) Markedness Model and Gumperz's (1982) functions of conversational CS to guide the functional analysis conducted during this study. The results arising from this portion of the analysis showed that CS served an important function in terms of character development. Marked and unmarked CS helped create different characters and likely assisted audiences in understanding those characters. The data analyzed also showed that CS served a purpose with regard to the communication of the message to diverse audiences. The use of reiterations and conjunctions were determined to be important CS strategies that contributed to making the story accessible to bilingual as well as monolingual audiences.

The results of this study are in line with previous research that has documented the types of structures found in English-Spanish CS and some of the functions served by this phenomenon. The implications of the study provide additional support for the recognition of CS as a possible factor in the language acquisition process and suggest that language educators acknowledge its occurrence and utilize it to further develop learners' language skills.


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