Bilingualism as Interactional Practices

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Research in code-switching, undertaken against the backdrop of very negative attitudes towards the concurrent use of two or more languages within the same conversation, has traditionally been geared towards rehabilitating this form of language use. From being seen as a random phenomenon reflecting the user’s lack of competence, code-switching is currently seen as sign of an advanced level of competence in the languages involved and as serving different interactional functions. However, as a result of its success, the research tradition now faces an entirely new challenge: Where to from here? How can research in code-switching continue to be relevant and interesting now it has largely achieved its original purpose? This books seeks to answer this programmatic question. The author argues that, in order to overcome this challenge, the notion of bilingualism (multilingualism) itself must be redefined. Bilingualism must be seen as consisting of multiple interactional practices. Accordingly, research in bilingualism and in code-switching in particular must aim to describe each of those practices in its own right. In other word, the aim should be an empirically based understanding of the various interactional practices involving the use of two or more languages. In the book, this new research direction is illustrated by means of three case studies: language choice and speech representation in bilingual interaction, language choice and conversational repair in bilingual interaction and language choice and appositive structures in written texts in Rwanda.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages166
ISBN (Electronic)9780748675982, 9780748675968
ISBN (Print)9780748675951, 9781474431897
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


  • bilingualism
  • multilingualism
  • code-switching
  • language alternation
  • language choice
  • interactional practice
  • speech representation
  • conversational repair
  • appositive structures


Dive into the research topics of 'Bilingualism as Interactional Practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this