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Building bilingual oppositions: Code-switching in children's disputes
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2314-4942
2004 (English)In: Language in society (London. Print), ISSN 0047-4045, E-ISSN 1469-8013, Vol. 33, no 1, 33-58 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates children's procedures for constructing oppositional stances in argumentative exchanges. While most previous research on children's arguments entails a monolingual bias, the present analysis focuses on bilingual practices of code-switching in disputes emerging during play activities. Drawing on more than ten hours of video-taped play interaction in a bilingual school setting, it is shown how the language contrast arising through code-switching displays and highlights the affective intensity of oppositional stances. Sequential analyses show how code-switching works to escalate social opposition, often to the peak of an argument, resulting in subsequent backdown or full termination of the dispute. Moreover, in certain participant constellations code-switching may be used to constrain opponents' opportunities to engage in further adversative interaction. Finally, it is argued that an approach to play discourse concerned with children's methods for accomplishing accountable actions allows for a view of bilingualism as socially distributed, that is, as an emergent and interactionally managed feature of discourse. (Bilingualism, child disputes, code-switching, social interaction)*.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 33, no 1, 33-58 p.
Keyword [en]
bilingualism, child disputes, code-switching, social interaction
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-46304DOI: 10.1017/S0047404504031021OAI: diva2:267200
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2015-09-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Code-switching for all practical purposes: Bilingual organization of children's play
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Code-switching for all practical purposes: Bilingual organization of children's play
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study examines bilingual children's code-switching practices as they occur in multiparty play activities in an English school in Sweden. By focusing on the endogenous organization of play events, the study contributes to our understanding of bilingualism as both resource for and result of children's social conduct. The central questions are: what is the role of bilingual practices in children's mundane reflexive production of social order, and, specifically, what sort of interactional work may be accomplished through code-switching?

Interpretive analyses of naturally occurring play episodes were conducted, broadly along the lines of interaction and conversation analytic research. The empirical data comprise over 20 hours of audio- and video-recorded play, taking place during recess. The analyses draw upon previous work on language alternation, which focuses on members' procedures for accomplishing locally meaningful interaction in bilingual conversation (Auer, 1984; Gumperz, 1982).

The results are reported in four empirical studies, highlighting the following features: The children did not make use of a specialized play language. Rather, both English and Swedish were commonly spoken during recess activities. Further, the children's choice of language was locally sensitive and guided by a general preference for same language talk. In light of this preference, the linguistic contrast arising with code-switching served to contextualize children's actions. More specifically, the empirical studies demonstrate (i) how code-switching may be used to facilitate children's entry into ongoing play; (ii) how it may serve to bring about a shift in conversational footing; (iii) to highlight the oppositional nature of certain actions within dispute exchanges, and finally, (iv) to enhance, in certain sequential locations, children's competitive bids for the conversational floor.

The present approach diverges from the monolingual perspective traditionally adopted in research on bilingualism, as well as the commonplace conceptualization of bilingualism as, above all, an aspect of the individual mind. Instead, bilingualism is viewed as a set of contingent practices within joint activities in play. Thus, the present study highlights the socially distributed nature of bilingualism, managed and accomplished within interactional exchanges.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2000. 131 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 223
Childhood bilingualism; Code-switching; Play dialogues; Social interaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-24373 (URN)6465 (Local ID)91-7219-883-4 (ISBN)6465 (Archive number)6465 (OAI)
Public defence
2000-12-15, Sal Key 1, Hus Key, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2015-09-22Bibliographically approved

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Cromdal, Jakob
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Department of Child StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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