Bilingual phonological interaction: Cross-language process transfer in code-switching


  • Erin Yusko University of Colorado Boulder



code-switching, bilingualism, phonology, phonological systems, phonological processes, cross-language influence, transfer


Bilinguals challenge the boundaries of languages’ distinct grammars – including their phonological systems and phonological processes – but the impact of code-switching on the challenging of these boundaries is not fully understood. The current study explores the interaction between adult bilinguals’ two phonological systems by investigating the effects of code-switching on the cross-language transfer of phonological processes. I investigate two main questions: 1) Can a bilingual speaker cross-linguistically transfer phonological processes (promotion) or the lack of particular processes (inhibition) in a code-switching context?; and 2) Do code switches affect the degree and/or frequency of these cross-language influences? To answer these questions, I examine the /t/ → [ɾ] tapping process of English and /d/ → [ð] spirantization process of Spanish. Data was collected from the Miami Corpus (Bangor University). Results indicate that phonological processes and the lack of particular processes can transfer cross-linguistically in code-switching contexts, and these transfers can be realized through phonetically gradient and, occasionally, categorical effects. Results also indicate that code switches can indeed affect the nature of these cross-language phonological processes transfers. These results suggest that code-switching can motivate the interaction between a bilingual’s two phonological systems and offer insight into the nature of phonological systems’ boundaries.




How to Cite

Yusko, Erin. 2023. “Bilingual Phonological Interaction: Cross-Language Process Transfer in Code-Switching”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8 (1): 5551.