International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Bilingual Cognitive Faculty and Pragmatic Markedness in Code-switching
Longxing Wei

One of the prevailing views about the relation between linguistic choices and society has been that linguistic choices depend on the social context, the social identities of speakers and their addressees, as well as other factors such as topic, setting, and genre. While most social context-based approaches can explain normative choices, they do not explain departures from the norm. Based on the studies of the naturally occurring Chinese/English code-switching instances, this paper argues that speakers’ rationality is the crucial mechanism in linguistic choices, and although the social context is important and indispensable, the social context alone cannot be the crucial determinant in linguistic choices. Departing from the models putting primacy on the social context in accounting for code choices, this study applies a rationality-based model to the explanation for codeswitching as a general cognitive faculty. It explains why speakers engage in code-switching, and what motivates their choice of codes.

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