Codeswitching in University English-Medium Classes Asian Perspectives Edited by: Roger Barnard, James McLellan

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20 Dec 2013
New Perspectives on Language and Education
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


In the complex, multilingual societies of the 21st century, codeswitching is an everyday occurrence, and yet the use of students’ first language in the English language classroom has been consistently discouraged by teachers and educational policy-makers. This volume begins by examining current theoretical work on codeswitching and then proceeds to examine the convergence and divergence between university language teachers’ beliefs about codeswitching and their classroom practice. Each chapter investigates the extent of, and motivations for, codeswitching in one or two particular contexts, and the interactive and pedagogical functions for which alternative languages are used. Many teachers, and policy-makers, in schools as well as universities, may rethink existing ’English-only’ policies in the light of the findings reported in this book.


Barnard and McLellan have brought together a group of rigorous empirical investigations of one of the most overlooked and undertheorized aspects of second-language classrooms, namely the use of the first language and the practice of codeswitching in the second-language classroom. This collection of studies done across Asia should be read by applied linguists, language teachers at all levels, and particularly educational policy-makers who currently assert that there is no place in the classroom for codeswitching and the students' first language.

- Glenn Levine, University of California, Irvine, USA

Barnard and McLellan's co-edited book is not only timely but also highly relevant. As the English language becomes a medium of instruction across many more campus classrooms in Asia, this book – with its many careful analyses of rich data and evidence – will turn readers towards reshaping their beliefs and practices regarding instructional strategies in multilingual settings. The book begs the question: can bilingual code-switching become an immense tool for teaching and learning in the Asian context and the 21st century?

- Anne Pakir, National University of Singapore, Singapore

This book makes an important contribution in providing interesting examples from a variety of contexts including some that are vastly under-reported in the literature. This volume will appeal to teachers and researchers in EFL who want to understand more about the role of codeswitching in Asian university contexts as well as to language policymakers within those contexts. The book will also serve as a useful resource for students of applied linguistics, particularly those with an interest in codeswitching but also those interested more widely in comparing the impact of native and non-native speaking teachers of EFL, the implementation of English as a lingua franca and possibly also bilingual education.

- The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics Vol. 2 No. 1, 2015 - Althea Ha, The University of Hong Kong

This volume has much to offer those teaching in English-only policy environments and for those researching classroom codeswitching in higher education. Its unique case-study/commentator format is interesting to read and facilitates cross-case comparison. Overall, Codeweitching in University English-Medium Classes: Asian Perspectives is a must-read for anyone interested in classroom codeswitching across diverse contexts.


- Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 3:1 (2015), 161-163. - Catherine M. Mazak, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

We should celebrate the wealth of fresh data that is presented, material that certainly adds to our knowledge about the extent of codeswitching practices in a wide range of English-medium classes in Asia, some of the reasons why this codeswitching occurs, and the attitudes of various teachers and their students towards the practice of codeswitching. Indeed, all the chapters in the book are packed full of data, many offering numerical analysis of the extent of codeswitching and the reasons for it occurring, and most chapters include detailed examples of actual codeswitching occurring in the classroom.

- Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal, Vol 14, 2014, pp 36–38 - David Deterding, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei

Author Biography:

Roger Barnard is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. His recent publications include Researching Language Teacher Cognition and Practice (2012, edited with Anne Burns) and Creating Classroom Communities of Learning (2009, edited with Maria Torres-Guzman).

James McLellan is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. His recent publications include Code Switching in Malaysia (2009, edited with M.K. David, S. Rafik-Galea and Ain Nadzimah Abdullah ).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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