Code-switching and language maintenance as reflected in the daily communication among Chinese in Auckland
Traditional study on code-switching has mainly been focusing on three aspects of this phenomenon: its social function and meaning, psycholinguistic mechanism, and grammatical constrains involved. This paper, however, investigates code-switching in relation to language shift and language maintenance. The results show that, regardless of the children’s general family background, their parents’ jobs and their English language proficiency, if the parents use English, the children’s use of English will be rapidly increased. Moreover, there is an “upgrading” in children’s language choice towards English. Combined with other analysis, this study seem to suggest that family/home is where the first language is acquired and it is also the last place to maintain their ethnic language among the young immigrants. Parental strategies employed in responding to their children play an important role.