The Effects of L1 Interference on the Occurrence of Code-Switching in the Algerian Context


The sociolinguistic phenomenon of Code-Switching (CS) was addressed in dramatically different academic contexts where English is spoken as a first language (L1) (i.e., inner circle), as a second language (i.e., outer circle), as well as where English is spoken as a foreign language (EFL) (i.e., expanding circle). Nevertheless, very few studies examined the issue of CS among undergraduate students in expanding circle countries such as Algeria. Basically, this study sought to find answers that would, firstly, help apprehend the overriding reason (s) that stimulate the occurrence of CS in the third year students' oral production, secondly, identify the communicative functions of English-Arabic CS in the students' class interaction, and thirdly, gauge its practicality and effectiveness in multilingual classes. Following a qualitative research approach, a case study design was adopted with a purposively (deliberately) chosen sample. Accordingly, data were collected by means of two tools of inquiry, namely observation and an unstructured questionnaire. The findings revealed that the underlying factor that prompted the occurrence of language-switching was the linguistic interference that germinated from the students' L1, among other subsidiary linguistic factors. Furthermore, it was found that CS grants its appliers the opportunity to reiterate what they exactly said in another way, to hold the floor and continue speaking for an extended period, and to insist on what was being communicated. Regarding CS technique, it was concluded that it might be considered as a productive and, simultaneously, a detrimental communication strategy to develop EFL students’ speaking competence. Finally, the findings of this study supported the initially formulated hypotheses, and, thus, reported positive results.


Kenza Saou and Ahmed Chaouki Hoadjli


Code-Switching (CS), communicative functions, dominant language, foreign language multilingual classes, speaking competence