Code Switching Among Multilingual University Students in Kazakhstan: Evidence from a Mixed-Methods Study

Date: 
Thu, 10/13/2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: 
391 Van Hise Hall
Speaker and Affiliation: 
Meruyert Ibrayeva, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

Code switching is a burning issue in countries such as Kazakhstan where multilingualism has been flourishing. And universities in which the medium of instruction is English that serve cohorts with other first and second languages cannot sidestep this issue. This paper provides empirical data on code switching among multilingual students in a multilingual university in a country in which trilingualism is promoted at the national level.

According to existing theories in linguistics, dominant language influence on second language production that can lead to transference errors. This study, currently in progress, aims to investigate the influence of English on the production of Kazakh among multilingual university students. The main research questions are: 1) how frequently do participants code switch; 2) what kinds of transference errors are most frequent in written and oral speech; 3) what are the causes for making transference errors; 4) is code switching more common in social or professional spheres.

Methods will include semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire in three languages about language use, classroom-level observation, analysis of written assignments for Kazakh language courses, and recording of spontaneous speech. The analysis is based on the main concepts of the Matrix Language Frame (MLF) and Embedded Language (EL). The findings for this work in progress highlight a new area for classroom research that investigates students’ transition among multiple languages with differing grammatical systems. This study will be useful to develop the theory of teaching language acquisition in multilingual educational settings

Meruyert Ibrayeva is an assistant professor in the Department of Kazakh Language, Literature, and Culture; Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

The talk will be followed by a reception in 1322 Van Hise Hall (the Language Institute) at 5:15.  All are welcome! 

Contact: 
Wendy Johnson (wsjohnso@wisc.edu)
Sponsor(s): 
Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition