From code-switching to a mixed code: the role of parenthetical verbs in the emerging Polish-Russian mixed code in Lithuania

  • Brigita Séguis University of Oxford
Keywords: code-switching, emerging mixed codes, parenthetical verbs, fusion, Polish, Russian

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of parenthetical verbs in the emerging Polish-Russian mixed code in Lithuania. Parenthetical verbs share many similarities with discourse markers, since both are regarded as having little or no meaning and occurring outside the syntax of the utterance. The data analysis, based on recordings of spontaneous conversations in the Polish community in Lithuania, aims to test two hypotheses with regard to Russian parenthetical verbs in order to establish whether they should be treated as lexical elements that have been “fused” into the Polish-Russian mixed code, or as instances of ad-hoc switches triggered by identifiable factors. The data reveals that both options are permitted, which in turn suggests that fusion around parenthetical verbs has been “synchronically licensed” (Matras 2000: 525), in the sense that speakers have abolished the requirement to maintain a consistent separation between the Polish and Russian systems. However, the wholesale replacement of one system by another has not taken place.

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Published
2013-05-21