South African Journal of African Languages

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A critical analysis of the use of code-switching in Nhlapho’s novel Imbali YemaNgcamane

Stanley Madonsela


Code-switching has become a common social phenomenon governed by social conversational needs. Central to the use of code-switching is the way in which social norms, which are also called rights and obligations, are attributed to speakers and listeners of certain social categories. Studies on code-switching reveal that its occurrence is indicative of group membership in speech communities where the use of more than one language in communication is the norm. Code-switching is looked upon as the practice of altering elements of language in order to contextualise talk in interaction. The contextualisation referred to may relate to discourse practices or make information beyond the current exchange relevant, including knowledge of society. This article seeks to investigate and critically analyse the use of code-switching by Nhlapho (1996) in the novel, Imbali YemaNgcamane (The flower of the Ngcamanes). It also seeks to explore whether the use of code-switching benefits or has adverse effects on the speakers of the Siswati language.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(2): 167–174
AJOL African Journals Online