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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’


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