Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Second Language Studies

First Advisor

Felice Coles

Second Advisor

Tamara Warhol

Third Advisor

Michael Raines

Relational Format



This study explores code-switching (CS) in the emotional narratives of bilingual speakers of English and Arabic. Exploring the immigrant Arab community in Mississippi, USA contributes to the literature gap and provides valuable insights into the correlation between codeswitching and bilingual identities in various emotional, social, and cultural contexts. This study examines the complex relationship between linguistic choices, cultural identity, and emotional expressions in bilingual contexts, offering cross-linguistic and cross-cultural insights into codeswitching practices. It also seeks to investigate the types of linguistic structures that appear in the narratives of bilingual speakers and the reasons behind their choices.

In order to carry out this research, a three-task qualitative methodology was used: a questionnaire to collect personal and linguistic background information, observation of an emotional narrative, and semi-structured interviews to accomplish the research goals. Hymes' SPEAKING Model (1967) is used in conjunction with thematic analysis (Clarke & Braun, 2017) and the Matrix Language Frame (MLF) (Myers-Scotton, 1993) to analyze the contexts and patterns of code-switching, as well as the reasons, types, and structures of code-switching used in emotional narratives. Findings reveal that social and cultural factors play a significant role in language choice and CS in bilingual speakers of English and Arabic. The reasons for CS vary depending on the context of communication, the topic, interlocutors, and the language proficiency of speakers and interlocutors. Bilingual speakers alternate between English and Arabic to convey emotions, showcase their cultural and social identity, adhere to cultural norms, and expectations. The linguistic findings show three types of CS occur in the narratives of bilingual speakers: inter-sentential, intra-sentential, and extra-sentential CS. These types of CS appear in different structures, which all pertain to the language proficiency levels in both English and Arabic.



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