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Research Article

EEO. 2021; 20(5): 1319-1341

Syntactic dominance in Pashto-English bilinguals: An application of Mayer-Scotten’s matrix language frame model

Shawal Aslam, Dr Tahir Saleem, Muhammad Shahab Afridi.

Mayer-Scotten’sMatrix Language Frame model assumes that the grammar of the matrix language provides the grammatical frame of the sentence as a whole, while the grammar of the embedded language is used only in complex insertions to determine the structure of the inserted constituent. The current study endeavors to determine the syntactic dominance in the bilingual speech of the Pakhtoon community in a natural setting. Pakhtoon community speaks Pashto as L1 and English as L2. For this purpose, Mayer-Scotten’sMatrix Language Frame (MLF) model is applied to intra-sentential code-switched utterances. A qualitative approach was employed to analyze the selected intra-sentential code-switched utterances. The findings reveal that matrix language is Pashto, whereas embedded language is English. Pashto speakers tend to borrow L2 content words most often and illustrate L1 dominance at the morpho-syntactic level. The major difference between two generations indicated that younger generation preferred only Pashto and the English language. In contrast, older generation favored the use of Urdu and English both as recipient languages. Their utterances carried more words from Urdu instead of English.The results of this study may contribute to language education, language planning and material development.

Key words: code-switching, education and language teaching, language dominance, MLF Model, PashtoEnglish, syntactic dominance.

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