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Bilingual interjections: evidence from Croatian-English code-switching

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journal contribution
posted on 02.06.2017, 01:22 by Hlavac, Jim
This paper examines the presence of English-origin interjections - affirmatives and negatives - in otherwise Croatian speech. Previous examinations of bilingual discourse marking has focused on habitualisation, pragmatic transference, cognitive processes (in terms of reducing the "mental load" of distinguishing between two systems) or psycholinguistic factors (eg. "non-deactivation" of pragmatic forms from one language which speakers habitually speak). However, such studies only address transference of pragmatic norms, whether features and/or forms. They have limited explanatory power where speakers employ discourse forms from one language and equivalent forms from the other language there. This study examines the frequency and functionality of English-origin forms compared to Croatian ones. Findings here show that English forms generally co-occur with Croatian forms in a statistical sense and only displace Croatian ones where English forms are polyfunctional or perform more functions that their Croatian counterparts. This accounts for the higher statistical frequency of yeah, while forms such as no or nah occur roughly to the same degree as their Croatian equivalents. Thus, linguistic, in particular micro-discourse features are shown to influence selection of interjections.


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