Koodinvaihdot ja prosodia: Tapaustutkimus Kanadassa asuvan ulkosuomalaisen puheesta

Translated title of the contribution: Code-Switching and Prosody – A Case Study of the Speech of an Expatriate Finn Living in Canada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Code-switching occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages or language varieties in the same conversation or text. Code-switching as a phenomenon has been investigated fairly extensively, but prosodic features that characterise many of the switches have not gained much attention in previous studies. This article examines the prosody of code-switching instances in more detail. By analysing naturally-occurring conversational data, we will shed light on the role that prosody plays in the interpretation of code-switching instances. The data consist of a 30-minute-long telephone conversation. In the conversation, a lady who was born in Finland but who has lived in Canada for a long time talks with her nephew who lives in Finland. The data include 73 occurrences of code-switching in which the language of the conversation changes momentarily from Finnish to English. The method of our study is Conversation Analysis.
The results of the study show that most often the instances of code-switching are produced with raised levels of pitch and intensity. The speakers use higher pitch and intensity typically when uttering loanwords or reported speech. As for loanwords, the prosodic marking invites the recipient to pay attention to the word that carries the rise in order to seek for the recipient’s recognition or reaction to words whose recognition might possibly be problematic. In the case of reported speech, in turn, prosodic features help to create “another voice”. In addition to the changes of pitch and intensity, the quality of voice can be marked in reported speech. In both these cases the prosodic marking carried by the code-switching invites the recipient to pay attention to the words or expressions in question. In addition to raised pitch and intensity, the data included also some occurrences where code-switchings were marked with lowered levels of pitch and intensity. In these cases code-switchings typically consist of expressions that structure the interaction rather than constitute important content words from the point of view of the ongoing narration. They are also more directed towards the speaker herself than towards the recipient. Thus, prosodic changes can be used to regulate the degree of recipiency and to indicate the relationship between the languages that are being used.
Translated title of the contributionCode-Switching and Prosody – A Case Study of the Speech of an Expatriate Finn Living in Canada
Original languageFinnish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)215-238
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • code-switching
  • prosody
  • intonation
  • conversation analysis
  • expatriate Finns
  • Finnish in Canada

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