After the turn of the millennium, it seems obvious that technology has rapidly transformed the more traditional means of communication and written expression among monolinguals and bilinguals alike. More specifically, blogs now serve as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Due to the relative novelty of this mode of interaction, research on code-switching in the Internet is quite scarce to date. This paper analyzes bilingual blogs in an attempt to take a further step in the less-investigated area of Spanish-English written code-switching. The research question is twofold. First, it inquires whether bilingual individuals would freely switch languages when writing in a public journal. Then, it attempts to explain why they do it. The underlying hypothesis is that their writing displays social functions similar to those found in oral code-switching research. Furthermore, it intends to expose the cultural nature of code-switching, a component that has often been overlooked in the search for grammatical and pragmatic constraints. The analysis includes data from several Spanish-English bilingual blogs where the language choices reveal how bilingual individuals live in between two worlds, two cultures, and two languages they can and must use to fully express themselves.
Selected Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Jonathan Holmquist, Augusto Lorenzino, and Lotfi Sayahi
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