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8 Code-Switching in Historical Materials: Research at the Limits of Contact Linguistics

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Chapter Summary

Code-switching (CS) is widely studied within contact linguistics, as one of "symptoms of contact" or "mechanisms of contact induced change". In last twenty years, there has also been increasing interest in individual and societal bi- and multilingualism and 'multilingual practices', such as CS, in historical linguistics. This particularly applies to English historical linguistics. The chapter overviews the visibility of contact linguistics as a field in a selection of CS studies by historical linguists, and of the presence of historical perspective in recent handbooks, textbooks and reference works dealing with language contact. Historical CS is discussed as a language-contact phenomenon, alongside the issue of using written rather than spoken data in research on multilingual practices, societies and language users. The penultimate section presents as empirical evidence data from medieval and early modern texts, particularly examples of Latin switches embedded in material with a variety of early English as the matrix language.

Keywords: code-switching (CS); contact linguistics; English historical linguistics; language-contact phenomenon; matrix language; multilingual practices

10.1163/9789004279056_010
/content/books/b9789004279056_010
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