Code-switching Between English and Russian with Russian Heritage Speakers, Born and Raised in Russian-speaking Families in the USA


  • Deliya Kuleshova Purdue University



bilingualism, translanguaging, code-switching, Russian heritage speakers, heritage speakers


Code-switching is one of the major areas in the field of Bilingualism. Code-switching describes the processes of switching between languages among those who know and speak more than one language. This article will analyze the code-switching between Russian and English in Russian heritage speakers. They are first year students at a large Midwestern university, born in the U.S. to Russian-speaking parents. They have been taking university Russian classes for two semesters. The students were asked to record two five-minute dialogues with their parents who also speak Russian and English. There was neither instruction to use solely Russian, nor the use of English was prohibited. The goal of the research was to count and analyze the instances of code-switching between Russian and English, and prove or reject the hypothesis that there would be fewer code-switching instances in the dialogue devoted to a family holiday versus the dialogue devoted to university classes. The dialogue topics were furnished beforehand, however, no preparation was asked. The speech was asked to be spontaneous and natural. The findings proved the hypothesis that code-switching instances in the first dialogue were less frequent, so the students were mainly using only one language - Russian - without switching to English very often. The second dialogue revealed more code-switching instances as was initially supposed. Conclusions and directions for future research are presented.


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— Updated on 2020-11-24