Mixing Catalan, English and Spanish on WhatsApp
A case study on language choice and code-switching
The purpose of this study is to examine language choice, language alternation and code-switching practices in Instant Messaging (IM). Specifically, this article presents the results from an analysis of the written conversations of a specific community formed by Valencian adults fluent in English. Taking a computer-mediated, discourse-centred ethnographic approach to online discourse, the study has shown that, in this specific trilingual online community of language teachers, language choice and the choice of a specific written variety is intimately related to audience. The group members mix Catalan, English and Spanish regularly, their language choice and code-switching strategies serving to establish in-group solidarity, familiarity and lessen face-threatening acts. Switches to English, sometimes followed by a switch to Catalan, are usually employed for humorous word play. Interestingly, the case study exemplifies how the use of a certain language may be highly correlated to ideological and political considerations.
- 2.Theoretical background: Revisiting some concepts
- 2.1Catalan and Spanish in Valencia
- 3.The case study
- 4.Results and their interpretation