Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

Chapter 15 - English Prepositions in isiXhosa Spaces: Evidence from Code-Switching

from III - Language Interfaces

Summary

This chapter explores the consequences on isiXhosa of its long contact with the socio-politically dominant English language. It is shown that after nearly two centuries of English hegemony isiXhosa speakers have become increasingly bilingual in English and regularly switch between English and isiXhosa in their daily conversations. This in turn has led to heavy borrowing from English into isiXhosa. Based on code-switching data drawn from twenty naturally occurring conversations recorded in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, the chapter reveals that English prepositions occur regularly in isiXhosa speech, including in contexts that would easily qualify as isiXhosa monolingual speech. The occurrence of these English closed-class items in isiXhosa spaces suggests that English has or is about to penetrate the grammatical structure of isiXhosa. The findings of this study point to a possible weakening of isiXhosa grammatical structure under heavy pressure from the more dominant English language.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Alexander, Neville (2000). ‘English unassailable but unattainable: the dilemma of language policy in South African education’, PRAESA Occasional Papers 3. Cape Town: PRAESA.
Bentahila, Abdelali and Davies, Eirlys E. (1983). ‘The syntax of Arabic–French code-switching’, Lingua 59(4): 301–30.
Bernsten, Janice (1990). ‘The integration of English loans in Shona: social correlates and linguistic consequences’, unpublished PhD dissertation, Michigan State University.
De Klerk, Vivian (2000a). ‘Language shift in Grahamstown: a case study of selected Xhosa-speakers’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language 146: 87110.
De Klerk, Vivian (2000b). ‘To be Xhosa or not to be Xhosa … that is the question’, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 21: 198215.
Edwards, John (1994). Multilingualism. London: Routledge.
Finlayson, Rosalie and Slabbert, Sarah (1997). ‘“We just mix”: code-switching in a South African township’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language 125: 6598.
Finlayson, Rosalie, Calteaux, Karen and Myers-Scotton, Carol (1998). ‘Orderly mixing and accommodation in South African codeswitching’, Journal of Sociolinguistics 2(3): 395420.
Gumperz, John (1982). Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Haugen, Einar (1950). ‘The analysis of linguistic borrowing’, Language 26: 210–31.
Heine, Bernd and Kuteva, Tania (2003). ‘On contact-induced grammaticalization’, Studies in Language 27(3): 529–72.
Hickey, Raymond (2010). ‘Language contact: reassessment and reconsideration’, in Hickey, Raymond (ed.), The Handbook of Language Contact. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 128.
Lass, Roger (2002). ‘South African English’, in Mesthrie, Rajend (ed.), Language in South Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 104–26.
Mesthrie, Rajend (1992). English in Language Shift: The History, Structure and Sociolinguistics of South African Indian English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mesthrie, Rajend (2008). ‘“I’ve been speaking Tsotsitaal all my life without noticing it”: towards a unified account of Tsotsitaals in South Africa’, in Meyerhoff, Miriam and Nagy, Naomi (eds.), Social Lives in Language: Sociolinguistics and Multilingual Speech Communities, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 95110.
Mesthrie, Rajend and Hurst, Ellen (2013). ‘Slang registers, code-switching and restructured urban varieties in South Africa: an analytic overview of tsotsitaal with special reference to the Cape Town variety’, Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 28(1):103–30.
Mougeon, Raymond and Beniak, Edouard (1991). Linguistic Consequences of Language Contact and Restriction. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Myers-Scotton, Carol (1992). ‘Comparing codeswitching and borrowing’, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 13: 1939.
Myers-Scotton, Carol (1993). Duelling Languages: Grammatical Structure in Codeswitching. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Myers-Scotton, Carol (2002). Contact Linguistics: Bilingual Encounters and Grammatical Outcomes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Myers-Scotton, Carol (2004). ‘Precision tuning of the Matrix Language Frame (MLF) model of codeswitching’, Sociolinguistica 18: 106–17.
Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (2000). ‘Four types of morphemes: evidence from aphasia, codeswitching, and second language acquisition’, Linguistics 38(6): 1053–100.
Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (2001). ‘Explaining aspects of code-switching and their implications’, in Nicol, Janet (ed.), One Mind, Two Languages: Bilingual Language Processing. Oxford and Malden: Blackwell, pp. 84116.
Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (2009). ‘A universal model of code-switching and bilingual language processing’, in Bullock, Barbara and Toribio, Almeida Jacqueline (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 336–57.
Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (2017). ‘Revisiting the 4-M model: codeswitching and morpheme election at the abstract level’, International Journal of Bilingualism 21(3): 340–66.
Poplack, Shana, Sankoff, David and Miller, Christopher (1988). ‘The social correlates and linguistic processes of lexical borrowing and assimilation’, Linguistics 26: 47104.
Pullum, Geoffrey K. and Huddleston, Rodney (2002). ‘Prepositions and prepositional phrases’, in Huddleston, Rodney and Pullum, Geoffrey K. (eds.), The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ross, Malcom (2001). ‘Contact-induced change in Oceanic languages in North-West Melanesia’, in Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. and Dixon, R. M. W. (eds.), Areal Diffusion and Genetic Inheritance: Problems in Genetic Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 134–66.
Simango, Silvester Ron (2011). ‘When English meets isiXhosa in the clause: an exploration into the grammar of codeswitching’, Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 29: 127–34.
Simango, Silvester Ron (2015). ‘“Amaphi ama-subject eniwa-enjoy-ayo esikolweni?”: language practices among bilingual learners in the Eastern Cape’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language 234: 7791.
Thomason, Sarah Grey and Kaufman, Terrence (1988). Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Weinreich, Uriel (1968). Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems. The Hague: Mouton.