WP5 Language Crossing and the Redefinition of Reality: Implications for Research on Codeswitching community

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In this paper, I shall first give an account of ‘language crossing’, a verbal practice that has not been very widely recognised in sociolinguistics (cf Rampton 1995a). Then, with a description in place, I shall consider some of crossing’s more general implications for research on code-switching. More specifically, I will suggest that:
a) by focussing overwhelmingly on bilingual ingroups, research has traditionally tended to neglect the emergence of new plural ethnicities, built in an acceptance of old ones (Hall 1988).
b) To gain any purchase on the exploration and/or negotiation of reality – in my research, a reality of race stratification and division – full recognition needs to be given to Gumperz’ notion of metaphorical code-switching, though this needs some further clarification, perhaps most profitably by being drawn into close association with Bakhtin’s notion of double-voicing (1984:181-204).
c) For the same reason, it would be helpful if code-switching research relaxed its commitment to discovering coherence and systematicity in code-switching, and attended more closely to incongruity and contradiction. In the process, a clearer view would emerge of the (not infrequent) local occasions when code alternation no longer functions adequately as a contextualisation cue and instead becomes part of the ‘main action’, an object of explicit political dispute (cf Goffman 1974:Ch7; Hewitt 1986:169,181)
d) To respond adequately to all three of these points, the notion of conversation used in code-switching research needs to be a very broad one, and it is also essential to attend to the representations of code-switching and language difference in artful performance and the public media.