2 3Codeswitching is language mixing; it occurs intrasententially, or within sentences, and intersentientially, or between sentences. It has been studied in a wide range of language pairs, typically among simultaneous (rather than sequential) bilinguals and their communities. For example, Poplack (1980) observed Spanish–English codeswitching in New York City’s Puerto Rican community, illustrated in (1a,b, below); Fuller (1999) documented German–English codeswitching in Pennsylvania, shown in (2a,b); and MacSwan (1999) studied Spanish–Nahuatl codeswitching in San Sebastián Zinacatepec, Mexico, shown in (3a,b). Codeswitching can occur as a single word or as a phrase; it is conventionally marked by italics. In the literature, codeswitching is variously spelled with and without a hyphen, sometimes as two separate words, and is sometimes abbreviated CS.

(1a) Leo un magazine

‘I read a magazine’

(1b) Me iban a lay off

‘They were going to lay me off’

(2a) Mer hen farmed mit Geil

‘We farmed with horses.’

(2b) Mer hen ’bout three years gefarmt

‘We farmed about three years.’

(3a)A ver axa nomejwa xiktlajtlanika n ye kox yokitak n película

‘Let’s see now, you guys ask him if he already saw the movie.’

4(3b) ¿Más o menos tlánon kijito non película?

‘More or less, what’s this movie about?’