Code-switching between English and Arabic in Vernacular Poetry

Majedah A. Alaiyed


This descriptive qualitative study investigates the types and functions of code-switching between English and vernacular Arabic in eight vernacular poems. In order to do this, eight published audio and video recordings of poems obtained from YouTube are analysed using a qualitative method of data analysis. The content analysis reveals two main types of code-switching: code-switching between sentences (inter-sentential) and code-switching within sentences (intra-sentential). Its possible functions are humour, reporting a conversation between the poet and an English speaker, quoting an English speaker or imagining a conversation with them, and attempting to be innovative. Intra-sentential code-switching is found to occur either at the beginning, middle or end of the line in a poem. However, it could occur in more than one place in the same line. Moreover, the poems follow grammatical constraints and code-switching is systematic, except in one instance where the poet aims to keep the same rhyme. In almost all of the poems analysed in this study, intra-sentential code-switching occurs more frequently than inter-sentential code-switching.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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