- Multilingual discourse in the family : an analysis of conversations in a German French English speaking family in Canada (1999)
- This study examines the particularities of multilingual discourse, based on the example of recorded conversations in a trilingual family in Canada. It combines two different fields of linguistic research: multilingualism and conversation analysis. The study of multilingualism has developed into a popular field of linguistic research over the past two decades. In general, it focuses on bilingualism as a social and individual phenomenon, and in particular on the alternation between two languages in the speech of bilinguals. For this alternation, the term code-switching is widely used. Usually, the term refers to language alternation both between sentences and within sentence boundaries. From a sociolinguistic perspective code-switching is often interpreted as a means of signaling group membership in bilingual communities, whereas grammatical analyses examine how morphosyntactic units from different languages are combined (and can be combined) within one sentence. Auer (1998: 3) suggests the study of the conversational structure of code-switching as a third perspective on bilingual language usage, one that he claims has been widely neglected by linguistic research in the past. In particular, those cases of language alternation between utterances (sentences) but within the same conversation cannot be described adequately from either a macro-sociolinguistic or a morphosyntactic perspective.