People’s Sidi Bel Abbes Faculty of Letters, Languages

         People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

Ministry of High Education and Scientific research

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University Djillali Liabes Sidi Bel Abbes

Faculty of Letters, Languages and Arts

Department of English




Case of Code
Switching in Mobilis SBA

thesis is submitted in partial ful?lment of the requirements for the degree of
Master in           Linguistics for the
department of English




Presented by

Supervised by

Tayeb Blouhi 

Mrs Esma Zahaf


Board of Examiners





Academic Year 2017/2018














In memory of

my mother

With love and eternal appreciation




would first like to thank my thesis supervisor Mrs Zahaf Esma. The door to her
office was always open whenever I ran into a trouble spot or had a question about
my research. She consistently allowed this paper to be my own work, but steered
me in the right direction whenever she thought I needed it.

would like to thank all the workers of Mobilis Sidi Bel Abbes for their
participation in the research, especially those who agreed to be interviewed
for, without their time and cooperation, this project would not have been

gratitude is also due to the board of examiners, … for having taken time to
read and comment my modest dissertation.

I must express my very profound gratitude to my spouse for providing me with
unfailing support and continuous encouragement throughout my years of study and
through the process of researching and writing this thesis. This accomplishment
would not have been possible without her. Thank you.





Table of


Abstract ii

Dedication. iii

Acknowledgments. iv

Table of Contents. v

General Introduction. 1

Chapter One. 3

1-1      Introduction. 4

1-2      Bilingualism.. 4

1-3      Code Switching. 4

1.3.1.     Definition. 4

1.3.2.     Types of code switching. 5  Tag-Switching. 5    Inter-Sentential Switching. 5    Intra-Sentential Switching. 6

1.3.3.     Functions of code switching. 6

1-4      Conclusion. 6

Chapter Two. 7

2-1      Introduction. 8

2-2      The population. 8

2-3      Methodology. 8

2.3.1      Questionnaire. 8

2.3.2      Tape recording and Direct Observation. 8

2-4      Conclusion. 8

Chapter Three. 9

3-1      Introduction. 10

3-2      Data collection. 10

3-3      Data Analysis. 10

3-4      Conclusion. 10

General Conclusion. 11

Bibliography. 12

Appendices. 13

Appendix A:
Questionnaire. 13

Appendix B : Interview.. 15



General Introduction


            It is agreed that language is a primary means of
communication that people use in daily life. In the Algerian workplace, like
everywhere else, communication is an essential tool to interact with others.
Algerian workers ensure that their messages are properly interpreted and that
is why they try to make their communication as simple as possible. Observing
their communication, it is noticed that sometimes they use more than one
language in an expression or a statement.

research is chosen to know more about Algerian workers’ code switching. There
from, our motivation in choosing a company is the use of code switching in a
normal situation. The investigation is going to be carried out from a
sociolinguistic point of view which will focus on statements or expressions
used by workers when they interact with others.

have a great tendency to mix two languages; they speak Arabic, suddenly, they
shift to French and, then, back to Arabic again. Code switching is a linguistic
phenomenon which is widespread among ordinary people in the Algerian society.
The problem investigated in this research is that Algerians, especially workers
have a great tendency to code switch. So, the questions posed here are

they code switch? and

is their preferable language?

to answer this questions we put forward the hypothesis that

workers code switch depending on the context and the interlocutor and,

preferable language remains the Algerian Arabic.

this research, we have worked with the company of Algérie Télécom Mobile
Mobilis in Sidi Bel Abbes. Mobilis, or ATM Mobilis a subsidiary of Algérie
Télécom which became independent in August 2003, is one of the three major
mobile operators in Algeria. According to the last statistics, Mobilis is the
leader in Algeria with 20 million subscriber.

code switching as a target subject in this research, both quantitative and
qualitative methods are used in this study. But we emphasize more on the
qualitative one. The research will be led through a questionnaire which will be
filled out by Mobilis workers and some recordings.

switching, among other dual language phenomena, is a common linguistic behavior
of Algerians. There might be reasons for this shift between languages.
Sometimes, there are no similar words in the other language or maybe the
speaker did not know the word he/she were looking for or simply, the shift is
done just to fill the gap in speaking. Some speakers find it easier to speak in
y the native language.

dissertation consists of an introduction and three chapters, each  chapter contains an introduction and a
conclusion. Chapter one describes the code switching and its types and
functions. Chapter two is devoted to the methodology used, as mentioned above
the tools are questionnaire, recording and observation. In the third chapter
data collected are analyzed and interpreted.










Chapter One





            This chapter aims at exploring some of the
sociolinguistic patterns of language use. It also aims at showing the way
sociolinguistic patterns work among individuals and state the factors which
determine the variability of language use. Within this scope, it is necessary
to shed some light on some important notions as: bilingualism, and code switching,
the main concern of the present work.




Code Switching

1.3.1.     Definition

term Code Switching is used to refer to the switching between two or more different
languages in a single conversation. This occurs when the bilingual speaker uses
both languages in order to communicate with other person (hearer/speaker). It
happens consciously as well as sub-consciously.

other words, “Code Switching is the use of a first or third language within a
stream of speech in the second language” Brown (2007:139). It, often, occurs
between advanced learners subconsciously in a conversation with the use of
first –common- language. At the stage of acquisition, learners –usually- code
switch with some words from their native language because they feel that knowledge
is missing whether the addressee knows their native language or not. In such
case, the learner might “slip” with few words (one or two words) in order to
get the “gist” by the learner about what is communicated ,Brown (2007: 139).

the term Code Switching is used too to refer to switching through the different
varieties/ or dialects of the same language within the same conversation.
Hudson (1996: 51) defines Code-Switching as the consequence of, generally,
multilingualism. The language chosen by the speaker –who speaks more than one
language- depends on the circumstances and this language is what the hearer
understand. If the members of the multilingual community speak the same range
of the example of the Italian Situation where a speaker uses German within
family, Saurian –Italian dialect- within the village, and Standard Italian in
formal settings as schools, church, and work (Ibid.: 52).

switching has been differently defined. For Myers-Scotton (1993: 1), code switching
is “the alternation of linguistic varieties within the same conversation.” For
Savill-Troike (1976: 42-3), “code switching is the responses to the different
social relations that languages signals”. For Haugen (1956), code switching is
the variation between different languages (two or more), integration of using
words from one language instead of another one used by a bilingual speaker.

for Jacobson (1990:1), code switching is the alternative between language is
not considered in one way but it is examined in different ways by investigators
who avoid the possibility to define Code Switching. For Gumperz (1982: 59),
Code Switching is when speakers alternate between two or more varieties of the
same language within the same speech exchange of a given passage from the
speech interaction.


1.3.2.     Types
of code switching

            Several researchers have attempted to provide a
typological framework that accounts for the phenomenon of Code Switching. Poplack
(1980) proposed a well known framework that identifies three different types of
switching which are tag-switching, inter-sentential and intra-sentential.          

            Tag-switching involves
inserting a tag or short phrase in one language into an utterance that is otherwise
entirely in another language. This type of Code Switching occurs the most
easily for the reason being that tags typically contain minimal syntactic
restrictions; thus, they do not break syntactic rules when inserted into a
sentence that is given in the L1(Hamers & Blanc, 2000). Tags include interjections,
fillers and idiomatic expressions. Examples of common tags used by Algerian
community “bon! (well!)”, “Saha (right)” and “ma3lich (don’t worry)”.            
Inter-Sentential Switching

            Inter-sentential Code Switching
involves switching at sentential boundaries where one clause or sentence is in one
language and the next clause or sentence is in the other. Eldin (2014) and
MacSwan (1999) state that since inter-sentential Code Switching takes place
within the same sentence or between speaker turns, it entails fluency in both
languages such that a speaker is able to follow the rules of the two languages.
An example of inter-sentential Code Switching between Algerian Arabic and French
is provided below: nt?ma?endk?m zhar, ce travail est trop demandé Translation:
You have the chance, this work is required.            
Intra-Sentential Switching

            Intra-sentential Code Switching,
according to Poplack (1980), is possibly the most complex type among the three,
as it can occur at clausal, sentential or even word level. A good example to
cite here might be the one given by Poplack as the title of one of her papers: e.g.
Sometimes I’ll Start a Sentence in English Y termino en espanol. Translation:
Sometimes I’ll Start a Sentence in English and finish it in Spanish
(Cakrawarti, 2011).


            The three types of Code Switching illustrated above will
be considered in the analysis conducted in this study aiming to identify which
one of these is more frequent and also to look for plausible interpretations of
low and high frequencies of Code Switching types as used in the speech of
Mobilis workers.


1.3.3.     Functions
of code switching








Chapter Two


Materials and Methods





2-1  Introduction


2-2   The population

            The study targets workers in Mobilis
Sidi Bel Abbes who are working in the technical field of network maintenance
and supervision. thirty worker participated in the questionnaire. The subjects
hold various qualifications . All the workers responded to the questionnaire
and agreed to have their linguistic behaviour observed but only three of them accepted
to have their voices recorded.


2-3   Methodology

2.3.1       Questionnaire

            The questionnaire was designed to be
as short and brief as possible. The questionnaire starts with personal
questions that provide the researcher with information about the subjects. The second
section is concerned with identifying Mobilis workers’ perception of language
use. The third section identifies language situation of the subjects. The
fourth section spots the switch between languages. The questionnaire normally
takes 5-10 minutes to be answered.


2.3.2       Tape
recording and Direct Observation

This research
emphasizes on short duration of tape-recordings in Mobilis Sidi Bel Abbes.
Moreover, many hours of observations were also conducted to record the workers’
linguistic behaviour during their working hours.


2-4  Conclusion






Chapter Three


Field Investigation


3-1   Introduction

            This work is done after leading an
interview with Mobilis workers. An interview is
a conversation where questions are asked and answers are
given. In common parlance, the word “interview” refers to a one-on-one
conversation with one person acting in the role of the interviewer and
the other in the role of the interviewee. The interviewer asks
questions, the interviewee responds, with participants taking turns talking. Interviews
usually involve a transfer of information from interviewee to interviewer,
which is usually the primary purpose of the interview, although information transfers
can happen in both directions simultaneously. One can contrast an interview which
involves bi-directional communication with a one-way flow of
information, such as a speech or oration.

3-2   Data collection

The duration of
the interviews … the location: Sidi Bel abbes, gender:…. time:. ..

3-3   Data Analysis

not available

3-4   Conclusion



topic was about workplace code switching which its major aim was to prove the
hypothesis and the results shown that it is true to find Algerian workers, who
know more than one language, code switch depending on the context and the interlocutor
 while maintaining their native language
as their preferable one.

research was divided into two parts: Theory and practice to facilitate the work
and give it a good picture in order to understand.

The first part consists of identifications of the
different elements of code-switching as an outcome of bilingualism, giving
their different explanations from different authors.

practical part contains a questionnaire that was filled out by Mobilis’ workers
and interviews with workers who were recorded to discuss their experience in work.
The data were analyzed in a sociolinguistic way to draw the final result and
compare it with the hypothesis which became true.



Al Heeti, N. &. (2016). Types
and Functions of Code-Switching in the English     Language
Used by Iraqi Doctors iin Formal Settigns. Anbar, Iraq.

Borsala, L. Arabic, French,
English Code Switching among Students in English   Department of Tlemcen University (Master Dissertation).

Dehimi, M. (2010). Code Switching Among English Students. (Master
dissertation) .        Constantine:
Mentouri University.

Hassain, F. (2011). French and Algerian Arabic in a Bilingual
Situation: Case Study of   Tlemcen Speech
Community. (Magister Dissertation) . Tlemcen: University Abou Bakr Belgaid.

Hernández-Campoy, J. M. (2014). Research
methods in Sociolinguistics. murcia: John     Benjamins.

Nam, M. C. (2009). Language and
Communication: A Sociolinguistic Study of     Newcomers’
   Socialization into the Workplace. Hong Kong: University of         Hong





Appendix A:

Workplace Communication: Code
Switching Questionnaire

            The objective of this questionnaire is the realisation
of a sociolinguistic research concerning code switching at workplace. Please
fill out the questionnaire and note that all the information will be
confidential and used only for the research


Section One: Personal Profile




Educational Level:      

Primary school

Middle school

Secondary school




Section Two: Languges Use

1- what are the language(s)
that you speak well apart from Algerian Arabic?

Standard Arabic                 






2- Which language do you prefer apart from Algerian Arabic?

Standard Arabic                 



Section Three: Language Situation

Which language do you use with?






















Section Four: Code Switching Between Languages

1- While speaking, do you code switch between languages?




2-Are you aware when you code switch between languages




3- While speaking, you switch between which languages?

Arabic – French

Arabic – English

– English




4-  When
you switch, is it because


?   there are no similar words in the other language?

?   you did not know the word you were looking for?

?   you wanted to fill the gap in speaking?

?   it is easier to speak in your native language?


Section Five: Attitude Toward Code Switching

Are you for or against the person who code switch in the conversation?






Thank you for your participation


B : Interview






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