Linguistic patterns of code switching in mainland China

Year of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Faculty of Arts

Principal Supervisor

Lu, Dan Huai


China, Code switching (Linguistics), Linguistic analysis (Linguistics)




Chinese-English code switching (CS thereafter) has become a common phenomenon in mainland China in the last decades of years. Most research focuses on sociolinguistic perspectives of CS in mainland China. However, there is rarely research aiming at exploring linguistic patterns of CS. To fill the research gap, this study attempts to perceive into the linguistic patterns of Chinese-English CS. Myers-Scotton' s Matrix Language Frame model (MLF model thereafter) is used as a framework in this study. On one hand, it can help me to classify data and explain why the data comes into being. One the other hand, CS between two typologically different languages can test the universality of the MLF model. Two hundred and seven Chinese-English bilingual utterances are quantitatively classified and qualitatively described as the basis of the analysis of this study. In this study, a whole picture of linguistic patterns of Chinese-English CS was presented. I further analyze some counterexamples against the MLF model, such as creative forms, which conform to neither the grammar of Chinese nor that of English. Thus, it is revealed that the MLF model cannot offer explanations to those innovative forms. I argue that the innovative forms in the corpus of this study belong to artistic CS. Artistic code­switching utterances mainly exist as lyrics or buzzwords on the Internet, which are intentionally created by people. These forms are invented to be different and attract people,s attention, so usually they do not conform to grammars and common language codes. No wonder that the MLF model cannot explin the artistic CS. Other limitations of the MLF model are also discussed in this dissertation.


Thesis (Master of Arts)--Hong Kong Baptist University, 2014.; Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Art.;Principal supervisor: Dr. Lu Dan Huai.; Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-95)


The author retains all rights to this work. The author has signed an agreement granting HKBU a non-exclusive license to archive and distribute their thesis.

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