Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Faculty of Arts

First Supervisor

Professor Ian Malcolm


This study investigates code-switching within a bilingual speech community. The languages used in this community are Indonesian, the national language 9f Indonesia, and Simalungun, one of the regional languages spoken in North Sumatra. Conversations amongst young bilinguals with balanced competence in both languages were recorded and passages containing examples of code-switching were transcribed for analysis. It was found that the base language of interaction was Simalungun, but that code-switching into Indonesian occurred in all conversations recorded. Analysis of the language data collected led to the conclusion that code-switching was used by the speakers in different ways. Indonesian loans were used to fill lexical gaps in the regional language. Indonesian was also used when quoting speakers in different interactions. Some Indonesian expressions used were generally associated with a particular domain, such as government or urban lifestyle. Speakers also used Indonesian code-switching as a conversation strategy - to mark particular expressions in contrast to the base language, to indicate interpersonal distance or for humour. Attitudes of the speakers obtained during post-recording interviews indicated that there was a general lack of consciousness of code-switching. Speech containing frequent code-switched expressions was not regarded as a particular style or described by a particular term. Speakers generally indicated positive attitudes to use of each language in its normal domain, but negative attitudes to mixing the two codes