Date of Award

12-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thompson, Stacy

Abstract

Researchers from Jean Piaget (1932) to Sehlauoi (2008) have utilized small case studies to intensively examine naturally occurring child language production in the home environment. This qualitative, 5-year longitudinal, five-year case study continues the focus of previous research on child bilingualism and code-switching; however, it aims to strengthen the previously tenuous connection linking said bilingualism with the speech of fraternal boy/girl twins, who are simultaneously making code choices and reflecting their gender language usage of these choices. The purpose of this study was to identify each twin’s code-switching patterns in Spanish and English in the bilingual home environment, examine the differences in their language choices, and reflect on their gendered language use as it pertains to each child’s own language production choices. The study connects the results of this research to previous research on child code-switching and reveals the similarities and differences between these two patterns and new ways of understanding the rich variety of linguistic understandings and possibilities in bilingual speech of twins. The study demonstrates that while Spanish code-maintenance was the preferred code choice by both twins throughout the length of the study, the female twin consistently code-switched into English and took more total turns in English than her twin brother while the male twin code-switched more frequently within a turn. These code-switching occurrences may be related to their gender. The limitations of this study, future directions of research, and conclusions are also discussed.

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