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Coactivation: The portmanteau constructions in bilingual grammar

  • RAKESH M. BHATT (a1)


Goldrick, Putnam and Schwarz (Goldrick, Putnam & Schwarz) have offered an account that must delight all linguists who have spent an inordinate amount of their professional time working on understanding the grammar of bilingual language use – just how, and why, do bilinguals produce the utterances that they do. The computational approach Goldrick et al. propose blends the grammatical principles (of the optimality kind) with general processing constraints to yield patterns of code-mixing that may be sparse – the emergence of doubled elements in bilinguals’ utterances – but certainly needing an explanation. Their Gradient Symbolic Computation model is, in fact, the first robust account of the presence of doubled elements, i.e., an element of the utterance is doubled, appearing in both languages within a single utterance (see 1 below). Their account, however, does force them to make an important, but vulnerable, theoretical assumption: that grammatical principles can refer to language membership. It recalls, albeit obliquely, Belazi, Rubin and Toribio's much discussed ‘Language’ feature needed to mobilize their Functional Head Constraint (see Bhatt, 1997, for an empirical and theoretical critique of the Functional Head Constraint).


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr. Rakesh Bhatt, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign - Linguistics, 4080 FLB 707 S. Mathews Ave, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois 61801, United States


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Azuma, S. (1993). The frame-content hypothesis in speech production: Evidemce from intra-sentential codeswitching. Linguistics 31. 10711093.
Belazi, H., Rubin, E., & Toribio, A. (1994). Code switching and X-bar theory: The Functional Head Constraint. Linguistic Inquiry, 25/2, 221237.
Bhatt, R. M. (1997). Code-switching and the Functional Head Constraint. World Englishes, 16.1. 171176.
Nishimura, M. (1985). Intrasentential code-switching in Japanese/English. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.

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Coactivation: The portmanteau constructions in bilingual grammar

  • RAKESH M. BHATT (a1)


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