Role and functions of code-switching in Malaysian courtrooms

Role and functions of code-switching in Malaysian courtrooms Malay is the National Language of Malaysia. English is an important second language. Many of the older lawyers are more comfortable and proficient in English as English was the medium of instruction when they were in school. The younger lawyers had Malay as the medium of instruction and are consequently more comfortable in Malay. It was therefore hypothesized that code-switching would be used in a courtroom setting and the objective of this research is to investigate the functions of code-switching used by key personnel in a courtroom, i. e. lawyers, judges and witnesses. Background of the setting Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual country with a population (1999) of about 22 million people speaking at least a hundred languages. Malaysia comprises two areas, Peninsular Malaysia (previously known as Malaya) and Sabah and Sarawak on the Island of Borneo. The British era in Malaysia began in Malaya in the late 18th century and independence was granted to the Federation of Malaya in 1957. In September 1963, Malaya combined with Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Singapore left the union shortly after. There are three main ethnic groups in Malaysia, i. e. Malays (61 percent), Chinese (28 percent), Indians (8 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication de Gruyter

Role and functions of code-switching in Malaysian courtrooms

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG
ISSN
0167-8507
eISSN
1613-3684
DOI
10.1515/mult.2003.005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Malay is the National Language of Malaysia. English is an important second language. Many of the older lawyers are more comfortable and proficient in English as English was the medium of instruction when they were in school. The younger lawyers had Malay as the medium of instruction and are consequently more comfortable in Malay. It was therefore hypothesized that code-switching would be used in a courtroom setting and the objective of this research is to investigate the functions of code-switching used by key personnel in a courtroom, i. e. lawyers, judges and witnesses. Background of the setting Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual country with a population (1999) of about 22 million people speaking at least a hundred languages. Malaysia comprises two areas, Peninsular Malaysia (previously known as Malaya) and Sabah and Sarawak on the Island of Borneo. The British era in Malaysia began in Malaya in the late 18th century and independence was granted to the Federation of Malaya in 1957. In September 1963, Malaya combined with Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Singapore left the union shortly after. There are three main ethnic groups in Malaysia, i. e. Malays (61 percent), Chinese (28 percent), Indians (8

Journal

Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communicationde Gruyter

Published: Apr 8, 2003

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