Child codeswitching and adult content contrasts

Susan Ervin-Tripp, Iliana Reyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This paper discusses links between the conditions of developing child bilingualism and the adult outcomes in semiotic contrast in elicited speech and codeswitching. Analysis of interaction of children raised as bilinguals shows that from the beginning they can recognize the appropriate language for addressees. When the lexical repertoire is inadequate, borrowing occurs, and codeswitching of longer segments appears before age two. Throughout childhood and adolescence, codeswitching has increasing interactional functions as children's pragmatic skills grow. Some adult codeswitching relies on semiotic differences implied by language. It is likely that both such codeswitching and the dual selves shown in elicited discourse in different languages are limited to specific sociolinguistic situations and personal histories. These include education in a second language, adult immigration, and frequent contact with a monolingual community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-102
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • borrowing
  • child bilingualism
  • codeswitching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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