Code-switching and the optimal grammar of bilingual language use

Rakesh M. Bhatt, Agnes Bolonyai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we provide a framework of bilingual grammar that offers a theoretical understanding of the socio-cognitive bases of code-switching in terms of five general principles that, individually or through interaction with each other, explain how and why specific instances of code-switching arise. We provide cross-linguistic empirical evidence to claim that these general sociolinguistic principles, stated as socio-cognitive constraints on code-switching, characterize multi-linguistic competence in so far as they are able to show how "local" functions of code-switching arise as specific instantiations of these "global" principles, or (products of) their interactions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-546
Number of pages25
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Linguistic Competence
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Bilingualism
  • Pragmatics
  • Code Switching (Language)
  • Grammar
  • Cognitive Processes


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