Discourse Strategies and Dynamics: An Analysis of Code-switching as An On-going Meaning – Negotiation Process

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Abdel Rahman, Abdel Magid
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University of Khartoum
The main problem that this thesis addresses is the phenomenon of code-switching CS in bilingual, multilingual and bidialectal contexts. Having noticed gaps in spoken discourse analysis research in the two domains of sociolinguistics and the science of second/foreign language acquisition, we investigated five case studies: EFL teacher talk, Southern Sudanese Intellectuals Discourse SSID (in their interactions with Northern Sudanese Intellectuals (NSI), lecturing Discourse in the context of Sudanese lecturers in Saudi Arabia and the CS of Sudanese Immigrants of various job backgrounds who work in (Saudi Arabia), the Speech of Native English Teachers in Sudan (NS-NNS Discourse) and the interactions of Driving and Mecanic Trainers working in a multilingual and multidialectal milieu. The thesis draws on corpora from five contexts and uses data collected via various data gathering procedures. These, include; observational field notes, structured and semi-structured interviews, audio-taped spoken data and a questionnaire. The core data is collected through observational field notes and audio-tapes. The interviews and the questionnaire are for collecting additional data to support or refute the results of the core data. In the case study of EFL teacher discourse, 20 subjects from some Sudanese Universities were observed and audio-taped while at work. A corpus of about 15 hours of recorded talk was collected and later transcribed and checked for code-switching information. Using a method similar to the soft-ware-aided ‘logs’, the tapes were listened to and analysed carefully (see chapter four). The SSI case study draws on 50 speech events surveyed in a variety of situations and including both transactional and interactional discourses. The situations covered include; staff-clubs, classes/lectures, public transport interactions, radio and TV talk shows, students’ speaker corners, etc. In addition, a group of southern lecturers were interviewed to check how they reflect on their CS behaviour. In the context of SIS, 70 speech events were covered and a corpus of five hour lecturing discourse was recorded. The 70 speech events included, telephone conversations, as well. The ‘trainers’ were also observed and interviewed and the Native Teachers of xiii English, were interviewed (one of them was taped while at work). The findings, generally, indicate that CS exists as part and parcel of the discourses examined. The overall corpora suggest that CS is, against the general belief, an actively positive and effective strategy of discourse. It has been found to play important functions for codeswitchers. The functions fall into two important categories those which are already documented in the literature and those which are considered to be newly-observed or uncommonly accounted for in the literature. Moreover, the data shows some particular instances of CS which cannot easily be assigned any functions and as such proves the claims of Gumperz (1982) and Franceshini (1997). Furthermore, the data demonstrates important indications of the strong link between CS and the socio-cultural environment. In this respect, SSI demonstrate a complex and dynamic identity. Through code choice and the use of CS they manage to show the need to be close and distant at the same time, (with the dominant group). Thus, there is a link between the use of CS and power relations as is the position of Trudgill (1995) and Fairclough (2003). The general indication is, thus, a role of CS in which both micro-level and macro-level factors work to produce a meaning that is constantly and on-goingly negotiated between interlocutors. The thesis falls into six chapters. Chapter one introduces the topic of CS a long with the aims, research questions and gives a rationale for the study. Chapter two is the theoretical framework. In particular, it discusses at length the theories of discourse analysis, conversational analysis, accommodation, speech communities, domain analysis and schemata. Chapter three is divided into two parts. Part one introduces two established traditions of research in CS and a third one still forcing its way through. It, also, defines and introduces various documented functions of CS and models. Part two spans tens of studies of CS covering the period from (1964) to (2003). The chapter, moreover, discusses, the relationship between CS and socio-cultural issues such as identity, social concession, power, diglossia, attitudes and communication strategies. Towards the end, the chapter narrows down on studies of CS in the Arab world and Sudan. Afterwards, a set of hypotheses is stated.
404 Pages