In support of the Matrix Language Frame Model: Evidence from Igbo-English intrasentential code-switching

Kelechukwu Ihemere*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the morphosyntactic features of mixed nominal expressions in a sample of empirical Igbo-English intrasentential code-switching data (i.e. codeswitching within a bilingual clause) in terms of the Matrix Language Frame (MLF) Model. Since both Igbo and English differ in the relative order of head and complement within the nominal argument phrase, the analysed data seem appropriate for testing the veracity of the principal assumption underpinning the MLF Model: the notion that the two languages (in our case Igbo and English) participating in code-switching do not both contribute equally to the morphosyntactic frame of a mixed constituent. As it turns out, the findings provide both empirical and quantitative support for the basic theoretical view that there is a Matrix Language (ML) versus Embedded Language (EL) hierarchy in classic code-switching as predicted by the MLF Model because both Igbo and English do not simultaneously satisfy the roles of the ML in Igbo-English code-switching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-127
Number of pages23
JournalLanguage Matters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Embedded Language
  • English
  • Igbo
  • Matrix Language
  • Matrix Language Frame Model
  • classic code-switching
  • code-switching
  • intrasentential
  • mixed nominal expressions
  • morphosyntactic features


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