Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Codeswitching in the Turkish migration settings in Western Europe has been studied almost since the beginning of the labor migration that formed these communities. The patterns of codeswitching have gradually become more complex, which is demonstrated with reference to data from the Netherlands. Initially it was limited to the insertion of Dutch words into Turkish utterances, largely needed to fill lexical gaps. Gradually, as a new generation grew up with Dutch education, living most of their lives in a Dutch social environment, codeswitching patterns grew in complexity, with an increase in alternation between Dutch and Turkish utterances. Often, these and other patterns are attested in the speech of the same people at the same time, within a single conversation: they represent a bilingual speech style.

The most recent investigations into Turkish-Dutch codeswitching show how this increasing intensity of bilingualism in the community has led to increasing integration of the languages in everyday in-group bilingual speech. Of all switches, a relatively small percentage is taken up by the insertion of content words into either language; yet, codeswitching is not always straightforward alternation between Turkish and Dutch utterances. Instead, utterances often contain chunks from both languages. This phenomenon will be illustrated in this article and explained through a usage-based perspective that privileges a processing-based over a structuralist account, but crucially ties this account to an understanding of the social motivations that make this kind of bilingual speech possible, or even desired.


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