Pronouns, interrogatives, and (quichua-media lengua) code-switching: The eyes have it

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2 Scopus citations


This study examines the processing of two putatively problematic intra-sentential code-switching configurations, following subject pronouns and interrogatives, in a bilingual speech community in which there are no confounding grammatical differences. The languages are Ecuadoran Quichua and the mixed language known as Media Lengua, consisting of the entire Quichua morphosyntactic system but with all lexical roots replaced by their Spanish counterparts. In eye-tracking processing experiments utilizing the visual world paradigm with auditorily presented stimuli, Quichua-Media Lengua bilinguals identified the languages more quickly after pronouns and interrogatives than after lexical items, while acknowledgement of code-switches after pronouns and interrogatives was delayed in comparison with switches following lexical items. The facilitation effect of pronouns and interrogatives evidently provokes a surprise reaction when they are immediately followed by items from another language, and this relative delay may play a role in the low acceptability of code-switched utterances that otherwise violate no grammatical constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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