Determiner-noun code-switching in Spanish heritage speakers

Sarah Fairchild, Janet G. Van Hell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Code-switching is prevalent in bilingual speech, and follows specific syntactic constraints. Several theories have been proposed to explain these constraints, and in this paper we focus on the Minimalist Program and the Matrix Language Frame model. Using a determiner-noun picture naming paradigm, we tested the ability of these theories to explain determiner-noun code-switches in Spanish-English bilinguals. The Minimalist Program predicts that speakers will use the determiner from the gendered language, whereas the Matrix Language Frame model predicts that the determiner will come from the language that dominates the syntactic structure in a code-switched utterance. We observed that the bilinguals had slowest naming times and decreased accuracy in Spanish determiner - English noun conditions ('el dog'), and that adding a Matrix Language did not modulate this pattern. Although our results do not align with either theory, we conclude that they can be explained by the WEAVER++ model of speech production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-161
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Determiner-noun code-switching in Spanish heritage speakers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this