Aims: To identify reasons why the community members of the Christian Bilingual University of Congo code-switch from English to French and vice-versa. In addition, this study seeks to identify different functions that the code-switching practice has at the Christian Bilingual University of Congo.

Study Design: The data from this study have come from the participatory observation technique which involved the researcher participating in observing, listening, and asking a few questions as he was immersed in different activities in order to experience reality. The study, thus, used the qualitative approach.

Place and Duration of Study: Department of Education, January to September 2018.

Methodology: This study examines the purposes of code-switching and how it is used to achieve the speaker’s communicative intents at the Bilingual Christian University of Congo. Data were collected through participatory observation during the triadic training activities (academics, work program and service learning) that offers the Bilingual Christian University of Congo. In addition, data were collected during chapel, academic meetings, professional development sessions, etc. The data were organized according to the situation that triggered the code-switching.

Results: The findings show that code-switching is a style of language used at the Christian Bilingual University of Congo that speakers employ to organize, enhance and enrich their speech. It occurs both in formal and informal contexts of communication.
Conclusion: The result of this study has shown that code-switching behavior is not random nor is it seen as a sign of linguistic deficiency or inadequacy. It is rather a negotiation between the style of language use and the communicative intents of the speakers.

The findings have revealed that code-switching usage at UCBC is seen as functionally motivated behaviour. It has a discourse enhancing functions where speakers code-switch to express solidarity and affiliation with a particular group, to fill a linguistic or conceptual gap of the speaker; it provides continuity in speech, it compensates for the inability of expressions, to reiterate or emphasize a point in order to repair trouble, gap and silence in communication.

Author(s) Details:

Mumbere Malonga Mashauri
Christian Bilingual University of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Recent Global Research Developments in the Functions and Motivations of Code-Switching

A Survey of Code-Switching: Linguistic and Social Perspectives for Language Technologies :

  • This survey explores code-switching from both linguistic and social angles, focusing on European and Indian contexts as highly multilingual areas.
  • Linguistic Perspective:
  • It provides an overview of structural and functional patterns of code-switching.
  • Researchers examine how massive language models struggle to represent diverse code-switching types due to inadequate training data and evaluation benchmarks.
  • Language Technologies Perspective:
  • The study highlights the need for end-to-end systems that cover sociolinguistic aspects of code-switching.
  • It emphasizes the importance of recognizing and valuing linguistic diversity.
  • Recommendations include integrating code-switching into language teaching pedagogies and fostering partnerships to bridge theory and practice.

Code-Switching in Linguistics: A Position Paper [1]:

  • This critical review discusses theoretical and practical issues related to code-switching research.
  • Topics explored include code-switching vs. borrowing, grammaticality, and variability vs. uniformity.

Acculturation and Attitudes Toward Code-Switching [2]:

  • A study found that positive attitudes toward code-switching were linked to gender and educational level.
  • Self-reported code-switching frequency correlated with individual differences.

Exploring the Relationship Between Code-Switching and Emotions [3]:

  • This systematic review assesses how code-switching interacts with emotions, considering cross-cultural and cross-modality differences.


  1. Deuchar, M. Code-Switching in Linguistics: A Position Paper. Languages 2020, 5, 22.
  2. Yim, O., & Clément, R. (2021). Acculturation and attitudes toward code-switching: A bidimensional framework. International Journal of Bilingualism, 25(5), 1369-1388.
  3. Liu, Y. Exploring the Relationship between Code-Switching and Emotions. A Systematic Review. University of Oxford, 2023.

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