Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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The diminutive construction is formed and used differently in Spanish and English, which leads us to the question how this construction with different morphosyntactic and semantic-pragmatic characteristics in the input languages is governed in Spanish-English bilingual and codeswitching speech. Through the analysis of a dataset of diminutive constructions extracted from the Bangor Miami corpus, this paper contributes to a better understanding of how one and the same construction differently represented in the input languages is administered in bilingual contexts. As this is a first approach to studying diminutives in codeswitching, three well known structural codeswitching models serve as a primary theoretical tool against which the diminutive is tested. These are Poplack’s (1980) Universal Constraints, Myers-Scotton’s (2002) Matrix Language Frame Model, and Blom and Gumperz’ (1972) Metaphorical Codeswitching Framework. The results show that Miami bilinguals prefer the prototypical markers of each language, - and (e.g. ). Furthermore, while the data largely confirm Poplack’s Constraints, they refute our hypothesis based on Myers-Scotton’s MLF model. Regarding Gumperz’ theory, the use of diminutive markers in a particular language correlates with a certain meaning the speaker wants to communicate (i.e. quantitative or qualitative), which again provides support to the framework.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Bangor Miami corpus; bilingualism; codeswitching; diminutive; English-Spanish
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