Hesitation and monitoring phenomena in bilingual speech: A consequence of code-switching or a strategy to facilitate its incorporation?

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Hesitation and monitoring phenomena (hereafter HMP) are forms that occur in speech such as filled or unfilled pauses, paralinguistic markers such as (nervous) laughter or coughing, or signals which pre-empt or justify other forms in utterances. The functions of these forms have commonly been associated with planning or accessing difficulties. However, HMP can also have a function of signalling clause boundaries, changes of mood or topic, aiding intelligibility for listeners. This paper draws on a large sample of bilingual speech and examines the overall incidence of HMP from two contributing languages, Croatian and English, and their incidence in speech containing code-switching. Analysis of results seeks to establish whether there is disproportionately high frequency of HMP surrounding code-switches, and whether such HMP are indicative of accessing/production difficulties concomitant to the appearance of code-switches, or appear to perform a function that facilitates the intelligibility of code-switches. HMP co-occur disproportionately with code-switches. However, analysis of code-switching examples shows that different types of code-switches attract higher or lower frequencies of HMP, depending on their phonological and/or morphological form. Although not identical to discourse markers, HMP perform a congruent function, that of integrating or facilitating the incorporation of 'other language' text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3793-3806
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Bilingual speech
  • Code-switching
  • Discourse markers
  • Hesitation phenomena
  • Metalinguistic awareness

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