Triggered codeswitching: Lexical processing and conversational dynamics

Mirjam Broersma* (Corresponding Author), Diana Carter, Kevin Donnelly, Agnieszka Konopka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the psycholinguistic process underlying triggered codeswitching – codeswitching facilitated by the occurrence of cognates – within the context of conversational dynamics. It confirms that, in natural bilingual speech, lexical selection of cognates can facilitate codeswitching by enhancing the activation of the non-selected language. Analyses of a large-scale corpus of Welsh–English conversational speech showed that 1) producing cognates
facilitated codeswitching, 2) speakers who generally produced more cognates generally codeswitched more, even in clauses that did not contain cognates, 3) larger numbers of cognates in a clause increased the likelihood of codeswitching, 4) codeswitching temporarily remained facilitated after the production of cognates, and 5) hearing rather than producing cognates did not facilitate codeswitching. The findings confirm the validity of the proposed cognitive account of triggered codeswitching, and clarify the relation between the lexical activation of cognates and consecutive language choice, in accord with current insights in lexical processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-308
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • triggered codeswitching
  • language choice
  • cognates
  • lexical activation
  • conversational speech
  • Welsh-English


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