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Spanish-English Code Switching in Montgomery County Classrooms: Peer Group Interaction and Jockeying for Status Open Access

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This research analyzes selective, code switching performances among a group of bilingual adolescents in suburban Washington, DC using data collected through a five- year study initiated in 2003 known as the "Scaling up Curriculum for Achievement, Learning, and Equity Project" ("SCALE-uP Project"). More specifically, it explores what the alternation between Spanish and English in talk itself reveals about the strategic, social functions of code switching among its practitioners in order to further understandings of the phenomenon and its implications within the bilingual, classroom environment. Study findings show that while code switching practices are unique to individual speakers, some conversational functions can be isolated, including alternating to gain power and popularity status, to defy established boundaries or to index ethnic affiliation in the classroom. These interactional achievements speak to larger social issues such as the implications of bilingual students being uniquely resourced in the classroom environment.

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