Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Crossing language borders

How do speakers adapt to multilingual contexts?

Felix Ameka

Multilinguals easily weave their languages together like artists engaged in a colourful painting on a canvas. This process is called code-switching/code-mixing (CSCM). In multilingual communities like in Benin (West Africa) and Belize (Central America), CSCM is the norm in conversations, but we still don’t know how speakers mentally adapt to such multilingual contexts. Using analytic tools of the language sciences, the project seeks to understand how multilingual speakers do it. The findings can impact policies and practices of language use in education in these and similar multilingual communities where language mixing is the daily practice.

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