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English to Malay and back again: an analysis of lecturers' code switching in English classrooms

Majid, S. (2020) English to Malay and back again: an analysis of lecturers' code switching in English classrooms. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00089400


Bilingual speakers often engage in code mixing, that is the use of lexical items and grammatical features from two languages in one sentence (Muysken, 2000, p. 1). Malaysia is no stranger to the phenomenon of code switching1 as it is a multilingual country. The study offers a new perspective on code switching focusing on Muysken’s (2015) code mixing typology and filled an important gap in our knowledge about code switching in education settings, as this study is the first to apply this typology to classroom settings in Malaysia. The second focus of this study was the functions of code mixing used by the participants. The functions identified were based on available works of literature, however, there are two new functions identified in the current study namely the ‘technical vocabulary’ function and the ‘verbal cue’ function. The third aim of this study was to investigate the lecturers’ perceptions regarding the use of code switching. This is a mixed methods study and the data was obtained from the recordings of two English lecturers, Azma and Ali, in Malaysia who were observed for seven weeks. The classroom recordings were transcribed and the types of code mixing were calculated using the Computerized Language Analysis (CLAN) programme (MacWhinney, 2000). The functions of code mixing were analysed and calculated using Microsoft Excel. The interview recordings were transcribed and analysed by thematic analysis using NVivo. The overall results for the types of code mixing showed that the most frequent type of code mixing was insertion (32.9%) followed with congruent lexicalization (30.7%), alternation (24.8%) and back-flagging (11.6%). The results of Azma’s and Ali’s data revealed nine and eight functions of code mixing respectively. ‘Explanation and clarifying subject matter’ was the most prevalent function of code mixing with 58.5% (Azma) and 39.9% (Ali) and 1Code switching is used as a generic term for the usage of two languages interchangeably. ‘imperative function’, the least function applied with 0.5% (Azma) and 0.3% (Ali). The interviews provided insight on the lecturers’ awareness on the functions of code mixing in which their statements did not reflect their practice in the classroom. The interviews also revealed that Azma had mixed feelings on the use of code switching while Ali fully supported the use of code switching in the classroom.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Treffers-Daller, J.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:89400
Date on Title Page:2019


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