Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Semantics,pragmatics,lexicology, meaning school > Semantics, pragmatics

An Adaptative Study of Chinese-English Code-switching by Chinese Employees with Multinational Companies in Chian

Author XiaoJiaHui
Tutor YuXiaoYan
School Dongbei University of Finance
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Chinese-English code-switching multinational company motivation adaptation
CLC H030
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
Downloads 33
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The co-called code-switching refers to the alternate use of two or more languages or language varieties within the same utterance or conversation. And Chinese-English code-switching, as its name implies, refers to the phenomenon that speakers or writers switch between Chinese and English in communication. Since the 1970s, as an important linguistic phenomenon, code-switching has aroused wide concern in the field of linguistics. A large number of linguists have carried out studies on code-switching from different aspects including grammar, sociology, conversational analysis, psycholinguistics and pragmatics, and achieved valuable and outstanding findings. Among all these methods, the pragmatic approach is considered to be more scientific and comprehensive due to the fact that it takes into consideration linguistic, social, cognitive and cultural factors, and explains code-switching in the dynamic context. The Linguistic Adaptation Theory put forward by Jef Verschueren provides a brand-new perspective for pragmatic study. Chinese scholar Yu Guodong has developed this theory and proposes the Linguistic Adaptation Model.In recent years, inspired by the ever-increasing economic globalization, Chinese economy has witnessed a rapid development. As the largest developing country in the world, China attracts an increasing number of companies to invest and build factories here. In order to cut costs and adapt to local market better, more and more multinational companies are likely to hire local staff but dispatch high-level managers and some technicians directly from their headquarters abroad. Therefore, Chinese people have opportunities to enter into these famous multinational companies. To these Chinese employees who work in multinational companies, Chinese-English code-switching functions as an effective strategy in their daily work and life. However, in their studies of code-switching, foreign linguists tend to focus on daily conversations by people in colonial regions, while domestic linguists lay emphasis on dialects’contact and mixing. There are a limited number of studies on code-switching performed by Chinese employees with multinational companies in China.In view of this situation, this study is designed to explore code-switching performed by Chinese employees with multinational companies in China. It adopts Yu Guodong’s Linguistic Adaptation Model as the main theoretical framework, combines qualitative and quantitative methods, to discuss the features and motivations of Chinese-English code-switching by Chinese employees with multinational companies in China. It is composed of six chapters.Chapter One introduces the background, significance and purpose of this study.Chapter Two is about literature review, which contains two sections:the first section explains related terms, including code, code-switching, types of code-switching, distinctions between code-switching and other similar terms such as code-mixing, borrowing and diglossia. The second section introduces previous studies on code-switching at home and abroad.Chapter Three makes a detailed introduction of Verschueren’s Linguistic Adaptation Theory and Yu Guodong’s Linguistic Adaptation Model, which serve as the main theoretical framework of this thesis.Chapter Four mainly describes research methodology, including research design, research questions, research participants, and data collection. The research is carried out through both quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative method is employed to collect data through a questionnaire and analyze the data through Excel. Qualitative method is used to analyze the samples collected by observation based on Yu’s Linguistic Adaptation Model. And it can be drawn from the questionnaire that most employees have bachelor’s degree or above, which means they are have the ability to communicate in English.Chapter Five is mainly about the results and discussion of both quantitative and qualitative research.The quantitative research has the following findings. Employees often utilize Chinese-English code-switching consciously or unconsciously, which proves that Chinese-English code-switching is a commonplace in multinational companies and this study is of great necessity. As for linguistic pattern, word is the form happens with highest frequency. As for the motivation, concept-gap filling ranks No.1 in number and keeping authenticity takes the second place. Most people regard code-switching as an effective tool for communication and hold a neutral attitude.Through the qualitative analysis of collected samples and interviews,13 motivations are summarized and they are grouped into the three categories according to Yu Guodong’s Linguistic Adaptation Model. The first category is adaptation to the linguistic reality, including two main motivations, concept-gap filling and linguistic conventions. The second category is adaptation to the social conventions. Three motivations belong to this category including avoiding taboos, indicating social status and showing politeness. The last category is adaptation to the psychological motivations, which contains altogether 8 motivations, namely "explaining", "authenticity keeping", "effort-saving", "humor-creating", "face-saving", "emphasizing", "following fashion", and "adjusting social distance".Chapter Six summarizes the major findings of the study, points out its limitations and puts forward suggestions for further studies.

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