Code mixing by a Non-ESL content instructor: The Language Choice and Syntactic Features

  • Norzie Diana Baharum Academy of Language Studies Universiti Teknologi Mara, Jengka, Pahang, Malaysia
  • Kamisah Ariffin Academy of Language Studies Universiti Teknologi Mara, Jengka, Pahang, Malaysia
  • Rahimah Abd. Wahab Academy of Language Studies Universiti Teknologi Mara, Jengka, Pahang, Malaysia
Keywords: Language Choice, Code Switching, Code Mixing, Malaysian Non-ESL Content Classroom


A study on language alternation despite its pervasive presence in the academia, can never be exhaustive. Given the complexities of the geography in which the English language transcends many language boundaries, modern studies of code switching present various facets of this bilingualism phenomenon. Adding to this, the present study explores the employment of code switching (CS) by a non-English as Second Language (non-ESL) content instructor in a Malaysian tertiary institution that uses English as a medium. It looks at (i) the language choice and utterances, and (ii) the syntactical features of the code-switched lecture by this non-ESL content instructor. In addition, the main reasons for the instructor’s language choice are also provided. A self-taped business studies lecture with a duration of 75 minutes is used for this study. The audio transcription then is categorised into 4 types of utterances namely (i) English, (ii) Malay (iii) Arabic and (iv) Code-Mixed. Syntactical analysis later groups the code-mixed utterances into 11 syntactical categories which are pronoun, adverb, verb, conjunction, verb phrase, noun, noun phrase, adjective, determiner, tag question and interjection. The content analysis discovers Code-Mixed utterances as the most dominant feature of this lecture followed by English utterances. Descriptive analysis ranks the syntactical features of the code-switched data in which pronouns are found to be the most switched item while Malay interjections like pulak and Ya Allah are switched the least. We conclude that code-switching used by this content instructor serves some pedagogical purposes which might bring positive effects to students. The institutional rigidity in seeing English as a medium of instruction should thus be renegotiated.


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How to Cite
Baharum, N. D., Ariffin, K., & Abd. Wahab, R. (2019). Code mixing by a Non-ESL content instructor: The Language Choice and Syntactic Features. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 7(1), 25-37.