Specializations > Sociolinguistics
Code-mixing and borrowing
I’m trying to understand the difference between code-mixing and borrowing.
1) Can we say that code-mixing is a general term encompassing any kind of mixing due to language contact, so not only pidgin or creole but borrowing too ?
2) Can we consider that unassimilated borrowings only belong to code-mixing ?
The terminology is not necessarily used consistently. In fact, it says that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code-mixing
There are several different concepts:
1. Code-switching is an active process in bilinguals, using two languages in a single sentence/conversation, but not necessarily 'changing' either language. Importantly, both speakers must be bilingual (or at least have some basic knowledge) for this to make sense. Importantly, code-switching is typically not conventionalized in a speech community. It's "made up" as they speak. (That isn't to say it's unstructured: for example, some phrasal boundaries are likely to be places where the language switches, and there is a lot of research about that sort of thing.)
2. A mixed language is one where two varieties have thoroughly mixed to the point of having a sort of conventional hybrid. An example is Quechua+Spanish 'Media Lengua', or (Guarani+Spanish) Jopara in Paraguay. These are similar to pidgins and creoles in some sense but have a mixing rather than acquisition origin. Conventionalized code-switching could lead to a mixed language.
I think "code-mixing" can refer to either of the above.
3. Borrowing is a lexical process (well, usually lexical, rarely something like phonemes, but also sometimes syntactic constructions or morphology), where one language "borrows" a word (etc.) from another language and incorporates it. An extreme case of borrowing might end up looking like a mixed language, so the difference may be in the extent. But there is fairly clearly a difference in most cases. Of course some people have called English a "creole" because of all of the borrowed French/Danish/etc. words, so I suppose that is exactly their argument (but not the most popular interpretation in that case). As for code-switching vs. borrowing, the distinction is that borrowing is a conventionalization process, while code-switching is just a using-in-the-moment process. You could say, I guess, that borrowing is conventionalized code-switching, although that would be misleading in terms of extent (since code-switching rarely results in borrowing, and fewer words are borrowed than are used in code-switching).
--- Quote from: Daniel on October 21, 2017, 06:06:37 AM ---As for code-switching vs. borrowing, the distinction is that borrowing is a conventionalization process, while code-switching is just a using-in-the-moment process.
--- End quote ---
That’s right. I would also say that borrowing consist in introducing a unit from language A into language B without producing a language C which would be incomprehensible for the speakers of language B.
Daniel: I would like to quote the following statement from you in an assignment "As for code-switching vs. borrowing, the distinction is that borrowing is a conventionalization process, while code-switching is just a using-in-the-moment process." I cannot access your profile to find out your last name. Please let me know how you would like me to attribute the quote. Thanks
As much as I appreciate the compliment, I would strongly advise finding a published source for any official paper. Citing me here would be similar to citing one of your instructor's comments during office hours. You could do it, it might even be helpful for the paper, but there are probably better options, and your instructor might not consider it a proper citation for an assignment.
From a purely technical perspective, whatever citation style you're using would have information on how to cite a webpage (or even specifically a forum post). But that still isn't generally advisable for academic work, if you're citing it for content. If it's just for phrasing, I'd still ask your instructor first, but maybe that's acceptable.
In this case, I will just emphasize that while I'm glad I clarified it (and I understand that it's often hard to find the exact phrasing for a quote you're looking for), what I wrote here is by no means original, just my understanding from what others have said and experience in general. I'd treat it like Wikipedia: helpful to get started, and then ideas to research more thoroughly and cite from published sources. I'm confident you will find what you need, although it might take some time to find the best sources-- which is good to do anyway.
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