Code mixing and code switching remains a useful strategies for the multilingual speakers and they use them to succeed their communication, depending on the situation. Code switching and code mixing are phenomena that have attracted so much attention in bilingualism’s literature, focusing mainly on intrasentential instances (code mixing); however the attention on language mixing in trilingualism, has only recently received significant attention, which is also the case with trilingual data too (Rothman & Nino-Murcia, 2008). Families whose members come from different ethnic and/or national backgrounds are globally increasing (Cruz-Ferreira 2006, and Tokuhama-Espinoza 2000, 2001).
Code-switching was first introduced by Hans Vogt (1954), while he was reviewing Weinreich’s “Languages in Contact” (1953). The terms code switching and code mixing has been a research subject of language contact for more than fifty years, and they have been defined by Haugen (1956) and Gumperz (1982) as the alternating use of two languages. Code switching and code mixing have often been used vice versa; Code switching is seen as a structurally constrained combination of two (or more) languages and can take place either in a single sentence “intrasentential” or from one sentence to another within a conversation “intersentential”. Meisel (1995) argued that the term “Language-Mixing”, in general terms, refers to all occasions where elements of the two languages are mixed within a clause or across a clausal boundary, and on the other hand “Code-Switching” is a specific subdivision of mixing that relates to the bilingual’s actual abilities, i.e. selecting the language in accordance to the interlocutor, the context or the topic of the conversation, etc. without “breaking” any syntactic rules.
However, Thomason (2001: 262) has suggested that code switching is: “The use of material from two (or more) languages by a single speaker with the same people in the same conversation (…) the term includes both switches from one language to another at sentence boundaries (intersentential switching) and switches within a single sentence (intrasentential switching). The latter is sometimes called code-mixing”.
The Concept of Code-mixing and Code-switching
It is imperative to clarify the terminology because the term code-mixing and code-switching are used interchangeably. According to Meisel, 2001, code switching is a specific skill in the bilingual’s pragmatic competence. While code-mixing is the fusion of two grammatical systems, i.e a possible characteristic of a bilingual’s grammatical competence (Meisel, 2001 Meisel, 2001). Wikipedia defines Code-mixing as the mixing of two or more languages or language varieties in speech. Code-switching which is sometimes referred to as ‘code-mixing’, ‘code-shifting’