"Fluent dysfluency" as congruent lexicalization: A special case of radical code-mixing

John M. Lipski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Code-switching among bilinguals has been typologically classified into three categories e.g. by Muysken (2000): alternation, insertion, and congruent lexicalization. Congruent lexicalization as usually defined not only requires that the languages in contact be structurally congruent, but also presupposes a high level of bilingual competence, as well relatively equal prestige and no tradition of overt language separation. The present study presents data from several communities in which Spanish is in contact with languages increasingly less cognate: Portuguese, Italian, and English, respectively. The data are drawn from "fluently dysfluent" speakers, meaning that they use their L2 frequently and speak it without hesitation, but with much involuntary intrusion of their L1; these dysfluent bilinguals rely on their interlocutors' passive competence in the speakers' L1, and in so doing exhibit code-switching which fits the typological pattern of congruent lexicalization. A componential analysis of several dysfluent bilingual communities results in the suggestion that the definition of congruent lexicalization be expanded to include the special case of fluently dysfluent bilingualism, a situation that arises in several language contact environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Language Contact
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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