Typological constraints on code mixing in Inuktitut–English bilingual adults

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Patterns of code mixing vary according to relative typology of the languages and sociolinguistics of the contact situation (e.g., Muysken 2000). We extend understanding of the factors involved by analyzing for the first time mixing between an isolating Germanic language (English) and a polysynthetic Eskimo–Aleut language (Inuktitut). The adult bilinguals mixed English and Inuktitut in about 5% of the almost 17,000 utterances analyzed. Over half of the mixes comprised a single noun or verb root from one language (usually English) in an utterance of the other. Another third were tags or quotes from one language in an utterance of the other. Very few mixes involved phrases from each language as is common with typologically similar languages (e.g., Spanish–English, Poplack 1980).


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