The functional element effect (Muysken, 1997) refers to the systematic favoritism of certain grammatical categories to appear in one language versus the other during codeswitched speech. The current paper explores whether this effect, often observed in production, is replicated in on-line comprehension results. As a preliminary test, we compared the results of published frequency counts involving Spanish-English codeswitches with comprehension-timed experimental results. Two syntactic sites were analyzed: switches between a noun and its determiner and switches between a complementizer and its IP. Production frequencies for these sites were taken from Milian (1996, cited in Myers - Scotton & Jake, 1997) and Sankoff and Poplack (1981). Comprehension data were taken from Dussias (1997). Comparisons of the two sets of data show that corpus frequency and comprehension complexity are inversely related to each other in that the more frequent a codeswitch is in corpora, the less difficult it is to process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language