UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Code-switching in the maintenance of Punjabi in the Lower Mainland Sandher, Jasmine Kaur


Punjabi language is widely used throughout the Lower Mainland, BC. It is the third most spoken immigrant language after Mandarin and Cantonese. Although Canada’s Official Bilingualism policy promotes English and French as official languages, many accommodations are made for immigrant languages such as Punjabi. As a result, it continues to thrive. Due to the close proximity of the two languages, Punjabi commonly makes use of English through code-switching. The use of code-switching is looked at in this thesis through an analysis of Lower Mainland radio and Bhangra music. The data for this project has been collected through listening to and transcribing radio segments and music lyrics. The data utilized was collected from two programs, Roshni and Punjabi Takeover, which both air on RED FM, a Surrey based Punjabi radio station. Analysis finds that Punjabi and English exist in interaction on Lower Mainland radio and in Bhangra music being played on Lower Mainland radio, through the use of code-switching. The use of code-switching is situational and depends on context. Code-switching is both functional and symbolic. There are a variety of motivations for it, including translation, attention attraction, and the negotiation of dual identities, also referred to as bi-lingual or bi-cultural identities. In this way, code-switching can support and maintain the use of Punjabi language for speakers with a variety of abilities in the language, preventing total language loss.

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Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International