Sociolinguistics and the ethnography of communication have represented major areas of language scholarship over the past 40 years. These areas have focused on language use in specific settings and specific communities. Researchers ask questions about the relationships of language to society, such as how a particular variety of language signals a social identity, an attempt to affiliate with a group or institution, or an attempt to exclude participation by others. Sociolinguists and ethnographers of communication have been particularly interested in code-switching1 because they have repeatedly found that shifts in coding point to or index social identities, relationships, and contexts. When a speaker uses or changes a code, she is signaling who she is, how she relates to listeners or readers, how she understands the context and what communicative tools are available to her. In fact, code-switching does not simply reflect context, but operates to establish the relevant contexts of a situation. Because codes are developed through histories of interaction, they also map onto sociocultural groupings and domains of activity. The picture that emerges from such research is of language as a complex patchwork of codes linked to diverse
Marcia Z. Buell University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
arenas of social life and of language users as nimble code-switchers. While code-switching represents a general framework from which any kind of writing might be analyzed, in this chapter we explore code-switching and code hybridity in relation to the special case of second language writing. Code-switching offers particularly rich insights for examination of second-(multi-) language or dialect speakers and writers who must not only negotiate across recognizably distinct languages or language variants, but also must work through the complexity attached to learning and using an unfamiliar set of codes.