13. Code-Switching and Grammatical Theory

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. Jeff MacSwan

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch13

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

MacSwan, J. (2012) Code-Switching and Grammatical Theory, in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition (eds T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch13

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Maryland, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334906

Online ISBN: 9781118332382



  • code-switching;
  • code-switching constraints;
  • code-switching research;
  • grammatical theory;
  • syntactic theory


Grammatical theory is primarily focused on relations below the sentence level, and research on grammatical aspects of code-switching has focused almost exclusively on intrasentential code-switching. The chapter begins with a discussion of early research on code-switching, and the emergence of code-switching as a field of linguistic research. It then reviews a number of theoretical approaches to code-switching, focusing on a discussion of the implications of current research in syntactic theory for the analysis of code-switching data. The chapter demonstrates that an approach which engages in the analysis of mix-language data, without reference to specifically crafted constraints or other mechanisms, can be successful and may reveal interesting properties of the languages and linguistic theory. It ends with some comments regarding directions for future research in code-switching.