Differences between monolingual and bilingual individuals on perceptions of code-switching: is it linguistic incompetence or a unique cognitive ability?
Parama, Kuntala Shabnam
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Code-switching refers to a bilingual mode of speaking in which the speakers switch back and forth between the first language (L1) and second language (L2) (Grosjean, 2010). Historically, code-switching has been discouraged in educational institutions, perceived as language decay, or as having a negative influence on the individuals’ proficiency in one or both languages (Aitchison, 1991). However, this ability is important because bilinguals have the ability to learn a third language faster than monolinguals (Abu-Rabia & Sanitsky, 2010). Further, if there are misperceptions about code-switching in monolingual individuals, bilingual individuals could become victims of unfair discrimination. The present study examined whether there are perceptual differences between monolingual and bilingual individuals about code-switching. In this study, participants watched a video and responded to some questionnaires. Although inconclusive, our results suggested that there are no perceptual differences between monolingual and bilingual individuals about code-switching as evidence of linguistic incompetence but that bilinguals in general perceive code-switching to be indicative of unique cognitive ability.