Spanish-english code-switching among low-fluency bilinguals: Towards an expanded typology

John M. Lipski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Spanish-English code-switching in the United States is not confined to the speech of fluent bilinguals, although the latter group exhibits the greatest consistency of structural patterns as well as the highest likelihood of conscious and voluntary control over language switching. Among less fluent bilinguals (including heritage speakers of Spanish as well as foreign language students producing the second language under duress) incursions from English may depart significantly from structural patterns characterizing fluent bilinguals, and may represent involuntary and/or unconscious insertion of English elements, ranging from tags such as you know and I mean to larger discourse chunks. The present study compares data from a cluster of low-fluency Spanish heritage speakers and a group of fluent bilingual Spanish-English code-switchers in the United States, and proposes that the notion of congruent lexicalization (e.g. as proposed by Muysken, 2000) be expanded to include 'ragged' and possibly involuntary code-mixing among semi-fluent bilinguals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-55
Number of pages33
JournalSociolinguistic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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