Research Article

Lexical cohesion and code-switching among some Ewe-English bilinguals

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 41, issue 1, 2021 , pages: 22–29
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2021.1902130
Author(s): Cosmas Rai Amenorvi, Ghana


This article investigates how lexical cohesion is realised in Ewe vis-à-vis English. It also seeks to find out the constraints that inform the choice of lexical cohesion in Ewe-English bilingual constructions (code-switching). Employing both written and spoken data among undergraduate students who are native speakers of Ewe, the findings reveal that the Ewe language mirrors English perfectly in its realisation of lexical cohesion. It follows that Ewe realises lexical cohesion by repetition, simple and complex synonymy, hyponymy, juxtaposition and the like just as English does, except that Ewe is more phrasal in realising cohesion lexically. In addition, constraints such as paraphrasing and complementing were discovered as the constraints that affect the choice of lexical items in Ewe-English code-switching. What is noteworthy about these constraints is that they are not matrix language or embedded language dependent; the constraints are neutral and could affect either language of the Ewe-English bilingual in code-switching. This study therefore corroborates earlier studies that either language of the bilingual, matrix or embedded is capable of controlling the grammar of bilingual constructions.

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