Functions of code switching in multilingual classrooms

  • Suzanne Rose
  • Ondene van Dulm


The research reported in this paper focuses on the functions of code switching between English and Afrikaans in the classroom interactions of a secondary school in the Western Cape. The data comprising audio recordings of classroom interactions are analysed within the framework of Myers-Scotton’s (1993a) Markedness Model, according to which there are four types of code switching, namely marked, unmarked, sequential unmarked, and exploratory code switching. Within each of these types of code switching, a number of specific functions of code switching in the classrooms observed are identified, such as expansion, clarification, and identity marking. The study concludes that the Markedness Model offers a useful framework within which to analyse types of code switching, and that code switching has a specific functional role to play within multicultural and multilingual classrooms.


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Author Biographies

Suzanne Rose
Suzanne Rose is a student completing her MPhil in Intercultural Communication in the Department of General Linguistics at Stellenbosch University. The research reported forms part of the degree requirements.
Ondene van Dulm
Ondene van Dulm is a lecturer in the Department of General Linguistics at Stellenbosch University, and is responsible for teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level on sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, among other topics. Her doctoral research focuses on structural aspects of English-Afrikaans intrasentential code switching, under the supervision of Prof Pieter Muysken of Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, the Netherlands.Email: