Codeswitching and identity among Yoruba-English bilinguals in Canada

Aina, Esther Oluwakemi (2020) Codeswitching and identity among Yoruba-English bilinguals in Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The thesis investigates codeswitching and identity among Yoruba-English bilinguals in Canada. This thesis is unique because no study has approached codeswitching and its possible identity acts among Yoruba-English bilinguals using variationist and speech act theories in any part of the world. It combines quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis to investigate the frequency, contextual constraints, and functionality of CS in 8-hour speech data collected from a socially stratified sample of 12 speakers. The research looks at when code switching is employed (context and function), how codeswitching is used (identity construction), influence of social factor (age, gender) and the structure of codeswitching among these bilinguals in Canada using St John’s Newfoundland as a case study. The analysis reveals that CS is a regular phenomenon among the speakers interviewed, and that its occurrence is constrained by social factors (age, sex) and interactional factors (function, topic). The thesis discovers that codeswitching is used for discourse and topic purposes. It observes that switch to Yoruba is to form allegiance and show affiliation with other Yoruba heritage speakers. When the switch is to English, it is both used for euphemism purposes motivated by cultural factors such as inhibition and prohibition in Yoruba culture to talk openly or publicly about certain topics, and for formal topics such as those related to academia, immigration and religious institutions. Interestingly, the thesis discovers that young people codeswitch to Yoruba as much as they do to English contrary to research assumption that they will do fewer switching to Yoruba and that the male gender switches more to All English than their female counterparts which is treated as a overt prestige language.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14992
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 98-107).
Keywords: codeswitching, Identity, discourse functions, Topic purposes, cultural factors
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Code switching (Linguistics)--Canada; Yoruba (African people)--Canada--Ethnic identity; Bilingualism--Canada.

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