Date of Graduation

Summer 2022


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Lindsey Hiebert


The population of bilingual children is growing in the U.S. Code-switching, a common occurrence in bilingual language production, is the use of words in the non-target language (e.g., English) when speaking the target language (e.g., Spanish). There are different approaches within the literature about how code-switching is dealt with. The purpose of this study is to longitudinally track changes in code-switching in English and Spanish narrative retell language samples, verify how code-switching impacts the lexical measure of number of different words, and whether code-switching may be indicative of Spanish language loss. Thirty-seven Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers who attended an English immersion school provided Spanish and English narrative samples across six semesters (waves). Code-switching was coded at the word level to analyze the proportion of code-switched words in each language over time. Growth-curve model estimates revealed non-significant deceleration in the proportion of code-switching over time in Spanish narrative retells and significant deceleration in code-switching in English narrative retells across 6 waves. The number of different words was impacted by the inclusion and exclusion of code-switching in narrative retells with the target language of Spanish, but not in English. Variations among individual participants and proportion of code-switching was noted in Spanish narrative retells. In English narrative retells, the proportion of code-switching was low, relatively uniform across participants, and did not occur after wave 2. Number of different words neither including nor excluding code-switching began at different points in Spanish narrative retells, but at approximately the same point in English. Language loss was not experienced by all participants. Further research on which variables influence code-switching may reveal more information on its potential connection to language loss.


code-switching, bilingual, Spanish, English, narrative retells, pre-school, English immersion


© Molly K. Gasior

Open Access