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1.1 Background of the study
One aspect of language study that attracts much attention today is sociolinguistics. It examines the use of language by considering social parameter. This field is relatively wide and it encompasses a lot of variables like the context of the situation, age, status etc. among other variables that can be found in sociolinguistics are code mixing, diglossia, Code-switching, language death etc. When two or more languages come in contact, there is tendency of mixture of varieties or a shift or transit from one linguistic system to another. One major influence of globalization is increase bilingualism. This refers to an individual or societal ability to use / speak two languages. It is a usual phenomenon to see bilinguals’ code switch or mix in discourse situations. Due to the fact that people are increasingly becoming bilinguals and even multilingual, it therefore brings the issue of code switching and code mixing as glaring day to day linguistic phenomenon. In a typical urban setting like Lagos, Nigeria, with a heterogeneous population involving people of diverse ethnic enclaves; there is bound to be the existence of many varieties like English, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Nigeria Pidgin English and even indigenous languages of neighbouring Benin and Togolese. It is a common phenomenon to see people shift from one variety of language to another. Likewise a child , who is a product of bilingual marriage, for instance, an Igbo speaking mother with an Hausa speaking father living in Lagos; will automatically be exposed to at least three or more languages; and one of the major consequences is code switching. Code switching occurs when a speaker uses two or more languages in the course of a single utterance. It is common to see second language speakers of English usually switch between their L1 - mother tongue and their L2 - English language and vice versa during their interpersonal conversation (informal communication). Code-mixing and code-switching are important aspect of sociolinguistic given their use and status in the society. Different reasons have been advanced by various writers and scholars as to why people code-mix and code-switch. Whatever the reasons, they are to some extent reasonable. However, it obvious that they have both the negative and positive effects closely associated with them. It there becomes necessary that these concepts which are directly related to human society and our educational system be given adequate attention so that they are known and also used effectively where necessarily.
In a society where individuals speak more than one language there is usually a language that is naturally influenced by the others. Some of the effects of multilingualism are code-mixing and code-switching, bilingualism, diglossia etc when a speaker comes in contact with two or more languages he or she may start to use the languages together even though it might not be with equal proficiency. However these languages affect one another and often lead to code-mixing and code-switching.
Code-mixing and code-switching occurs when elements of two or more languages are mixed between sentences, clauses and phrases. These concepts are products of bilingualism and they are the focus of this research work. Some researches have shown that students code-mix and code-switch in order to be admitted into some social situations.
It is on this note that this research work intends to find out if undergraduates of University of Ilorin code-mix and code-switch, and also intend to find out why if they code-mix and code-switch. Thus in carrying out this research work, code-mixing and code-switching as concepts of sociolinguistics will be given attention thereby bringing it to the notice of the people who are not linguistics.
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This research work intends to conduct a sociolinguistic study on code-mixing and code-switching and to also carry out a practical study of how these concepts occur in the conversation of Nigerian undergraduates especially students of University of Ilorin. In this project, we will attempt to determine the motivation or causes underlying the use of code-mixing and code-switching
Moreover, this research work will examine the effects of code-mixing and code-switching on the Nigerian language and why students of the university of Ilorin code-mix and code-switch English with their various indigenous languages.
At the end of this work, it is expected that the long essay will come up with findings that will discourage the use of code-mixing and code-switching if their use suggest negative effect on the proficiency of the users. On the other hand, if the proficiency of the bilingual is not affected the phenomenon will be encouraged.
It is strongly believed that the findings at the need of this research will benefit bilinguals and it is also expected to contribute additional knowledge to the field of sociolinguistics. It will also be of immense benefit to students of English and linguistics.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The essence of this research is to identify the likely social effects on the undergraduates of the University of Ilorin if they are users of code-mixing and code-switching. The research will also investigate the extent to which the undergraduates code-mix and code-switch if at all they do.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Again the research sets out to identify factors responsible for code-mixing and code-switching among the undergraduates of University of Ilorin if at all they code-mix and code-switch. The purpose of this research is to answer the following questions:
1. Do the undergraduates of University of Ilorin code-mix and code-switch?
2. Why do they code-mix and code-switch?
3. Does the improper acquisition of language lead to code-mixing and code-switching?
4. Does code-mixing and code-switching connote low proficiency?
1.6 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION
This research work is limited to the undergraduates of the University of Ilorin. University of Ilorin is a multilingual institution which comprises students from different linguistics background across the country. Most of the students are bilinguals who can speak at least one indigenous language and also English language.
For the purpose of this research work the recording of conversations among the undergraduates of University of Ilorin shall be limited to three faculties within the institution and they are:
1. Faculty of Arts
2. Faculty of Education
3. Faculty of Science
These three faculties are the largest within the University thereby having the largest population. The data to be used in this research work shall be gathered from the undergraduates in their lecture rooms, hostels, library etc. The research will highlight instances of code-mixing and code-switching in their various conversations and analyse them.
The method to be used for data collection will be the audio recording of conversations of undergraduates of the University of Ilorin. Twenty conversations shall be recorded for the research.
Students would be unaware that their conversations are being recorded because there is the probability that once they are aware their utterance will be ingenuine and unnatural sentences.
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