Nouns as Lexical Heads in Urhobo English Code-Switching

Fure Oduaran

Abstract


Two topics in the front burner of contact linguistics are bilingualism and code switching. Code switching between an indigenous language and the English language is pervasive where outer circle Englishes are spoken. Nigeria and other former colonies of Great Britain belong to this circle of Englishes. This study discusses nouns functioning as lexical heads in Urhobo/ English code switches. The switches include code switched NP[Z1]  with determiner[Z2] s from Urhobo and head word[Z3] s from English; Urhobo –English complex Code switched NP with an adjective; complex CS NP with an adjective[Z4]  prepositional phrase as complement. The study is premised on two theories. First is Noam Chomsky’s (1981) principles and parameters theory of transformational grammar which has been used for the analysis of the sentences. The second is Myers-Scotton’s (2002) Matrix Language Frame (MLF), which is used for distinguishing between the matrix and the embedded languages in the nominal phrasal constituents within the code switched sentences. In this study, Urhobo is the matrix language while English is the embedded[Z5]  language based on matrix language frame (MLF) parameters. The study concludes that nouns functioning as lexical heads constitute part of the structural basis of Urhobo English code-switching.

 [Z1]NPs

 [Z2]determiners

 [Z3]words

 [Z4]adjective

 [Z5]embedded language


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v6n1p47

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