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Lexical Borrowing as Code Alternation Strategy in Gender Discourse

A C Ezeife


Code alternation is one of the unavoidable consequences of communication between different language varieties that has lingered on, in discussion of various studies, both in theory and practice for several decades. These studies have neither examined code alternation strategies utilised in a language variety nor concentrated on communication of such (language variety) in gender discourse. Also, most of the studies are conducted by using face-to-face conversations or written materials occurring in the real world. This paper fills this gap by classifying the structure of lexical borrowing as code alternation strategy in gender discourse, together with their functions. Twelve extracts involving borrowed items were selected from four novels written by Nigerian writers to illustrate how lexical borrowing has being used in defining the actions of various genders in a social context. The data were analysed using insights from Markedness Model (Myers-Scotton & Bolonyai 2001) of code-switching, specifically the rationality notion, and Butler (1990)‟s social constructionist theory of gender. It observes that the codeswitched items in form of borrowing in gender discourse function as clarification, euphemism and humour. The structural form of the items ranges from intra-sentential to inter-sentential. The paper concludes that such alterations express deference or its opposite to the ideal/repulsive qualities expected from or exhibited by each gender in various occasions.

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eISSN: 2227-5460
print ISSN: 2225-8604