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Code-switching in EFL classrooms : a case study on discourse functions, switch types, initiation patterns, and perceptions

Horasan, Seçil
This case study aimed to investigate the amount of code-switching used by students and teachers in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms at the School of Languages at a state university in terms of switch types, initiation patterns, and the discourse functions of code-switching, as well as the perceptions of the participants. Four classrooms consisting of 92 students and 8 teachers took part in the study. 16 lessons in total were observed and video-recorded. The recordings were transcribed along with the researcher’s notes. All the teachers and 16 selected students were interviewed to find out their perceptions about code-switching. Interviews were followed by stimulated recalls in which the participants were expected to comment on their own utterances. The results revealed that almost one third of all utterances were code-switched. Students were seen to use a great number of code-switching; however, student-initiated code-switching was found less. In both groups, inter-sentential level of code-switching was used much more frequently. In terms of the discourse functions, students employed 16 functions while teachers employed 13 different functions. Meta-language was used most both by the students and teachers; however, these results did not fit into the perceptions: Students stated that they used it for equivalence most and teachers used it for checking understanding. Overall perceptions favored the use of code-switching in class as a tool facilitating learning.