Codeswitching Between Azeri and Persian: Sociolinguistic and Structural Aspcets
Mohammadpour Talaei, Navid
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The present study is an attempt to shed light on the language contact phenomenon viz. codeswitching occurring between Azeri and Persian by the bilingual speakers of these languages in the context of Tabriz, Iran. To this end, two sets of data were collected. In the first set, approximately 9 hours of naturally occurring conversations were audio recorded in various situations and places, such as a grocery store, a jewelry store, a spare parts shop, a hair salon, university campus, taxi, etc. For the second set of data, 7 video clips of TV interviews with the governmental authorities of Tabriz, Iran, was retrieved from a video streaming website. The recorded data were manually transcribed and codified. Analysis of the data was carried out at two stages, sociolinguistic analysis and structural analysis. For the purpose of structural analysis, Myers-Scotton’s (1993) Matrix Language Frame Model and Myers-Scotton and Jakes’s (2000) 4M Model were used. For the sociolinguistic analysis of the data, Myers-Scotton’s (1993) Markedness Model was used. Findings of the research showed that, codeswitching occurred much more frequently in the TV interviews. Sociolinguistic analysis of the data also revealed that all of the codeswitching in the TV interviews were unmarked. Nevertheless, in the naturally occurring conversations, the noun phrases (NPs) that included proper nouns such as organization names, etc. were the “unmarked choices”. In all of the constituents with “Matrix Language” and “Embedded Language” elements, Azeri proved to be the Matrix Language, providing the morphosyntactic frame for the constituent, and Persian was the Embedded Language. In the codeswitched sentences, Persian nouns had the highest number of occurrence in both data sets. There were Persian adjectives occurred in the data which were the second highest occurring Embedded Language elements among others. Regarding the frequency of the Matrix Lnaguage (Azeri) suffixes that inflected with the Embedded Language (Persian) elements, in the naturally occurring conversations, Azeri possessive suffixes occurred more frequently than other suffixes. In the TV interviews, Azeri person markers occurred more frequently than other ML suffixes and the Azeri instrumental markers were used less than other suffixes.