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Topics in Linguistics C: Code Switching


Admission requirements

None. This course is open to students of Linguistics (research) only.


Bilinguals often use more than one language in the same conversation. This seminar will provide an in-depth examination of this phenomenon, known as code-switching. We will begin with a historical overview to get an understanding of how syntactic constraint-based approaches to codeswitching arose in the literature. We will then review contemporary code-switching work from corpus- and lab-based perspectives. Methodological issues will be examined, paying attention to the limitations of the data and data collection paradigms that have constituted the basis for the theoretical claims put forward in the literature. Finally, by looking at studies that examine code-switching from structural, social and psycholinguistic perspectives concurrently, we will illustrate the power of cross-disciplinary research paradigms in unravelling the complexities of intra-sentential code-switching.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Describe and identify different types of code-switching patterns and how they relate to community and individual characteristics.

  • Critically evaluate the debate regarding the relative value of corpus-based versus so-called competency-based data collection paradigms in the study of code-switching.

  • Relate psycholinguistic research to more linguistically informed approaches to the complex array of issues arising in code-switching.

  • To plan and design a code-switching study.


Linguistics (research)

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load: 140 h (5EC)

  • Amount of lectures: 2 h per week × 7 weeks = 14 h

  • Preparation lectures/in class discussion/presentations: 7 h per week × 7 weeks = 49 h

  • Preparation Assignments: 77 h

Assessment method

  • In class discussion and presentations, including weekly discussion contribution to class forum (30%)

  • Brief reaction paper 1 (15%)

  • Brief reaction paper 2 (15%)

  • Code-switching study proposal (40%)

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average according to the percentages given above.


Final paper for all components


Blackboard will be used for distribution of program details, to share literature, for discussion, and to submit assignments.

Reading list

The course will draw on seminal works in the study of code-switching as well as more recent research published in journals and other compendia. Course materials will posted on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


For questions about the content of the course, please contact the teacher: M. Carmen Parafita Couto

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mailaddress Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk