A study of the analysis of lexical insertion in the code switching of Igbo-English bilinguals in Awka

  • Dereck Akachukwu Orji
  • Chima Evaristus Chidebelu


Code-switching (CS) is known to be a universal phenomenon among bilinguals. It has been observed that code-switching is more predominant among Igbo-English bilinguals compared to any other linguistic group in Nigeria. This paper examines the analysis of lexical insertion in the code-switching of Igbo-English bilinguals in Awka, Anambra state. Data for the study was collected from both primary and secondary sources. Nevertheless, note taking and audio recording of oral interview was the major instrument of data collection. The data were later analyzed using Myer-scotton matrix language frame model (MLF) to code-switching. A simple percentage analysis was carried out to determine the frequency and percentage of lexical items from the EL inserted into the ML frame. The analysis and interpretation of the data led to some of the following research findings: in the code-switching utterance of Igbo-English bilinguals, Igbo is the matrix language (ML) while English is the embedded language (EL), content morphemes would normally come from both the matrix language and the embedded language, system morphemes such as inflectional and aspectual affixes bound to elements from the EL come from the ML, content morphemes such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives will be the most frequently used lexical category in Igbo-English bilingual CS. Based on the findings we conclude that, it is clearly conspicuous that code-switching of Igbo-English bilinguals could be explained from the structural perspective. This study will go a long way to explore more fully the phenomenon of code-switching in Igbo-English bilinguals.

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print ISSN: 2346-7126