Syntactic alignment and shared word order in code-switched sentence production: Evidence from bilingual monologue and dialogue

Gerrit Jan Kootstra, Janet G. van Hell, Ton Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


In four experiments, we investigated the role of shared word order and alignment with a dialogue partner in the production of code-switched sentences. In Experiments 1 and 2, Dutch-English bilinguals code-switched in describing pictures while being cued with word orders that are either shared or not shared between Dutch and English. In Experiments 3 and 4, the same task was embedded in a confederate-scripted dialogue situation, and the confederate's use of word order and sentence position of switching was manipulated. We found that participants had a clear preference for using the shared word order when they switched languages, but also aligned their word order choices and code-switching patterns with the confederate. These findings demonstrate how the integration of languages in sentence production depends on processes of syntactic co-activation between languages and on processes of alignment between dialogue partners, and extend the notion of interactive alignment to bilingual speech and code-switching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-231
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

Cite this