BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Conversational code-switching in a Chinese community in Britain: a sequential analysis

Li, Wei and Milroy, L. (1995) Conversational code-switching in a Chinese community in Britain: a sequential analysis. Journal of Pragmatics 23 (3), pp. 281-299. ISSN 0378-2166.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


The informal conversational data presented in this paper were collected in the course of a larger participant observation study of a set of ten Chinese/English bilingual families in the Tyneside area of northeastern England. A sequential analysis is offered in an attempt to illuminate patterns underlying code-switching both within and between speaker turns. The procedures of Conversational Analysis (CA) are adopted, with particular attention to the way in which code-switching might be said to contextualise particular conversational procedures. Evidence is presented to suggest that these bilingual conversationalists deploy code-switching as a resource to help them contextualise preference organisation and repairs. It is argued that code-switching functions in a manner similar to other contextualisation cues which have been discussed in the literature, and that it is available to bilingual conversationalists as an additional conversation management resource. It is suggested that some of the code-switching patterns discussed in the paper are specific to generational subgroups in the community, and an attempt is made to associate the strategic use of conversational code-switching by these subgroups with wider intergenerational patterns of language choice and language competence in the community as a whole.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2012 14:10
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:23

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item