Code-switching in L2 Italian context

A comparison between a Croatian and two Romanian families


  • Marina Castagneto Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università del Piemonte Orientale
  • Irina Stan Dipartimento di Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica e di Studi Interculturali, Università degli Studi di Milano



bilingualism, code switching, contact linguistics, transfer


This work examines the code-switching phenomena in one Croatian-Italian and two Romanian-Italian bilingual families. The analysis is based on two sub-corpora, one for each language combination, and it focuses on the frequent and numerically comparable code-switching phenomena which are dichotomously divided according to their predominant function, namely participant related vs. discourse related. The various functions covered in the two sub-corpora are linked to interactional strategies connected both to participants, such as contrast, comment, specification, repetition, etc., and to discourse, e.g. to negotiate the language of the conversation when the constellation of the participants changes. We therefore highlight the enormous functional potential of bilingual speech as an interactional and conversational strategy, also in the light of former considerations regarding code-switching phenomena between Italian and Italian dialects.