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Another important type of code-switching is that identified byGarcia (1983) as interactional code-switching. This is the situationwhere one party in the conversation speaks in one language while theother party uses a different language and each sticks to their own.This may happen where families have moved across linguistic borders andthe parents are trying to maintain the traditional language of thefamily, while children are instead using the language of the hostculture.So, within this Tower of Babel how do people choose when tocode-switch? What are the factors that affect their choice of languageand in which situations? Early influential approaches to answeringthese questions were rooted in sociolinguistics, and one early and oftcited theory was that created by Blom and Gumperz (1972). They identifythree main areas that affect the choices a bilingual person makes aboutwhich language to use. These are: the setting in which the interactiontakes place, the participants involved in the interaction and the topicwhich is being spoken about. A further distinction made by Blom andGumperz (1972) was between metaphorical switching and situationalswitching. The latter refers to where a person changes language becauseof the factors involved in the situation. The former refers to factorsthat affected changes in language while the situation remained thesame. Metaphorical shift are also seen in a social light, such that theinterpretation of the listener is just as important as the changes madeby the speaker. It is the social factors that are, in this analysis,often the most important for the choice of code. A number oftheoretical models which each place varying emphasis on the socialfactors will be examined in turn.


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