Code-Mixing in the Conversation of Northern Khmer Speakers in Thailand: A Case Study of Teenagers and Middle-Aged Northern Khmer Speakers in Buriram Province

Chaowalit Kuemphukhieo, Suwaree Yordchim, Behrad Aghaei, Cholthicha Sudmuk, Yothin Sawangdee, Krisada Krudthong


This study aims to examine the linguistic performance of code-mixing by Northern Khmer (NK) teenagers in Buriram Province while conversing with NK middle-aged speakers in their community. It focuses on types of linguistic units or categories of code-mixing that occur in NK conversation and also on the various situations in which that linguistic unit occurs. It is found that code-mixing between NK and the Thai language occurs on three linguistic levels: morphological, syntactic, and discourse. On the morphological level, 7 categories of Thai words are found: noun, verb, adjective, final particle, quantifier, conjunction, and exclamation word. Three types of code-mixing are found on the syntactic level: Inter-Sentential, Intra-Sentential, and Extra-Sentential Code-Mixing. On the discourse level, code-mixing occurs in the middle and at the end of the NK discourse. There are 6 different situations in NK conversations where these types of code-mixing occur: (1) Greetings (2) Expressing appreciation (3) Expressions of politeness (4) Telling information (General and Specific) (5) Indicative mood, Lexical meaning, and Sentence structure, and (6) English loan words further borrowed from the Thai language. It is also found that NK speakers adopt the morphological processes of reduplication, the sentential structure, and serial verb construction when utilizing the Thai language to mix in their NK word formation and NK sentence structure. Lastly, NK speakers borrow English loanwords from Thai, instead of borrowing them directly from English.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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