The socio-pragmatic approach to the study of code-switching

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This chapter provides a description of methodological approaches used in the study. It discusses specific methods or techniques used in data collection and provides a demographic and physical overview of the research setting. The main tools used during data collection, namely the questionnaire, audio-recording and interview, are discussed in this chapter. The chapter also sets out the procedures of handling the corpora which are analysed in Chapters 4 and 5 of the study. A report of the challenges encountered during the study is also included.

The research setting: physical and demographic overview

The research study area is Kangemi in Nairobi. Kangemi is an informal settlement or slum in a valley, some six kilometres to the west of the Nairobi Central Business District. According to the report of the National Population Census conducted in 2009, the Kangemi area had, at the time, a total population of 44,564.
The Kangemi area falls within the broader Westlands Constituency, one of the sixteen national parliamentary zones in the Nairobi County. Kangemi is paradoxically an enclave in a middle-class neighbourhood. It borders the suburbs of Loresho and Kibagare suburbs to the north, Westlands to the east, and Mountain View suburb to the west. To the south, however, Kangemi borders and joins up with another sprawling slum, namely Kawangware (see Figure 3.1).
The weather conditions of Kangemi are largely similar to those in the rest of Nairobi. The year-round temperature in Kangemi varies between 100C and 240C. Kangemi experiences wet and dry seasons. There are two rainy seasons. The long rains are experienced from March to October, while short rains are received from October to November. The rest of the months are relatively dry. The average humidity is 83%. The sunniest and warmest period of the year is from early December to the end of February (Wikipedia 2012).
The residents of Kangemi live in specific locales named according to the founders or pioneers of the areas. There are no documents designating such place-names, hence the researcher had to glean this information in the course interviewing some residents who had lived in Kangemi for over 50 years. As a result of consulting these people on different occasions, the researcher compiled a list of names currently in use for the various localities (cf. Chapter 4).
There are a number of social amenities in Kangemi. Some are provided by the government while others by different social groups like the churches. There are health centres, schools and social halls. The modus operandi in the provision of social services is based on cost-sharing, whereby the government funding is is augmented by groups like churches and welfare associations.
A unique feature about the area is that there are kiosks (small temporary wooden business structures) along the earth-beaten lanes. The area is densely populated. This is evident during the weekend, and particularly on Sundays, when most lanes in Kangemi are crowded, impeding both pedestrian and vehicle movement. Sunday is the day when most people are free to engage in social activities. Asked why he considered Sunday to be an important day in his week, one participant responded in Kiswahili: Jumapili ni siku ya kanisa na chama (Sunday is the day of worship and welfare association meetings). For the purposes of this study, Sunday proved to be the ideal day for interaction and research, leading to elicitation of most of the data generated for the study.
Kangemi is a multi-ethnic informal settlement whose residents originally came to the area as a result of rural-urban migration from the countryside but many were born and bred there. The migration phenomenon began in the decades before independence, but accelerated after independence in 1963. According to Matsuda (1984, 3), this rural-urban process was accompanied by the phenomenon he describes as ‘retribalisation’, which is an effective way of reorganization of social relations in the urban environment.
The study focuses on a specific speech community in Kangemi, namely the Lugoli. In reference to this community, Matsuda (1984, 3), describes what he calls the Maragoli ‘colonization’ of Kangemi. According to Matsuda (1984, 5), the Logoli ethnolinguistic subgroup migrants quickly formed ‘an urban colony in Kangemi’ in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Kangemi was a new low-cost informal residential area on the western outskirts of Nairobi city. There were many such settlements emerging in Nairobi, but Kangemi was convenient for the migrant group under study because it was the entry point to the city for migrants coming from the Western region of the country.
Kangemi informal settlement experienced considerable expansion in the late 1960s, a phenomenon that corresponded significantly with the increasing number of the Logoli migrants. Matsuda (1984, 5) states that according to the 1969 Kenya National Census, the Maragoli or Logoli ethnic group numbered 150,000 (1% of the national total population). Yet in the subsequent two decades, the 1970s and early 1980s, the Logoli population became dominant in Kangemi. Matsuda (1984) sampled some sixty (60) tenant houses which together comprised 745 rooms for rental. Of these, 256 rooms (34.4%) were occupied by the Logoli migrants from Western Kenya.
According to Matsuda (1984), by the early 1980s the Logoli speech community had become one of the ‘most predominant groups in Kangemi’, dominating not only the other Luyia-speaking ethno-linguistic groups from Western Kenya, but also ethno-linguistic groups like the Luo, Kamba and Kalenjin, to name a few. Of these, the Logoli speakers constitute 48% and therefore form the majority among the Luyia linguistic groups in Kangemi in peri-urban Nairobi. Apart from being the dominant Luyia ethnolinguistic subgroup in Kangemi, the Logoli numbers compete favourably against other larger Kenyan linguistic groups in the study area. These include the Gikuyu, Luo, Kisii, to name a few. This demographic significance of the Logoli speech community in Kangemi contributed, in part, to the viability of the study based on the Logoli in Kangemi.

Qualitative and quantitative approaches to research

Many researchers advocate a mixed research design strategy. These include Green et al. (1989), Patton (1990), Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004), Taylor et al. (2008), Creswell (2011), Creswell and Clark (2011). Mixed research is also called triangulation. According to Taylor et al. (2008, 29), triangulation is a ‘process of cross-checking whereby data relating to a particular aspect is gathered using more than one method and/or source’. It is then possible to compare, select and analyse such data. To achieve the objectives of this study, the researcher thus used both qualitative and quantitative methods. This is what Taylor et al. (2008, 158) have described as ‘methodological pluralism’. One of its strong points is effective validation of data.
According to Creswell (2011, 26), triangulation is viewed by many researchers as the use of ‘different paradigms in mixed methods research’. In the same vein Creswell (2009, 204) posits that ‘numerous published research studies have incorporated mixed methods research in social and human sciences in diverse fields’. A key aspect of triangulation is generating data as a result of asking proper research questions. According to Taylor et al. (2008, 9), such ‘questions provide a definition of the research focus and are the springboard for the entire research effort’. Such research questions determine the success of strategy and method and ultimately the entire research problem.
This study used different approaches in generating the data from the Logoli speech community resident in Kangemi. The research applied both qualitative and quantitative methods as well as the ethnographic approach. The application of both qualitative and quantitative approaches is justified by the fact that the study entails both social aspects as well as purely linguistic features.
According to Mugenda and Mugenda (2012, 263), when the principles and procedures of qualitative methodology are applied, they tend to naturally elicit first-hand information from the phenomena under inquiry. This view is shared by Bogdan and Bilken (1982, 29), who argue that qualitative research takes place in the natural setting, enabling the researcher to study human behaviour through observation and one-on-one interaction. The research undertaken in this study is basically descriptive, involving the use of audio-visual recorders, interviews and questionnaires. In short, the approach was mainly qualitative.
The qualitative approach enabled the researcher to gain an understanding of the ways of life of the community under study, especially understanding their attitudes and interactions in a given setting. In applying the approach the researcher moved systematically by first considering the questions and assumptions, then described, interpreted and analysed the corpus. According to Creswell (2009, 195), qualitative research, ensures that the setting from which data is drawn is natural, descriptive and presented in words and human behaviour.
The study applied semi-structured interviews, as well as participant-observation, to generate data from the respondents. These were coded and categorised according to the emerging themes, while matching them against the hypotheses and objectives of the study. The same approach was used to describe and explain the code-switched elements in the language use of the Logoli speech community in Kangemi.
In spite of the predominance of the qualitative approach, the study also partially applied the quantitative approach to complement, and therefore to fully capture, other key aspects of the study that needed quantification. Leedy and Ormrod (2001, 14) have stated that quantitative methodology involves putting data together so that information can be quantified and subjected to statistical analysis.
In the study, quantification came mainly at the level of analysis of linguistic data. At this level, transcribed data was categorised on the basis of statistical counts, frequencies and percentages. The response to the questionnaire by the participants, especially to the closed-ended questions, was quantified and analysed using the SPSS software programme. Numerical coding of open-ended textual data was done mainly by reading through the text and considering items that were deemed significant. In addition, counting was also done with regard to the respondents on return of the questionnaires. In view of this, regard to factors of gender, age range and other social dimensions, were quantified and presented on bar graphs in percentages (see Figures 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4).


1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Aim o the study
1.3 Background factors that have shaped the sociolinguistic situation in Kenya
1.4 Statement of the problem
1.5 Rationale for the study
1.6 Objectives of the study
1.7 Assumptions of the study
1.8 Scope and limitations of the study
1.9 Lnguage policy in Kenya: A historical perspective
1.10 Sociolinguistic profile of Kenya
1.11 Speakers of the Oluluyia Bantu language of Western Kenya
1.12 The Logoli ethnolinguistic subgroup of western Kenya and Nairobi
1.13 Overview of the study
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The place of code-switching in bilingualism studies
2.3 Code-switching and its relationship with other language-contact phenomena
2.4 Code-switching: A historical synopsis
2.5 Two broad approaches to code-switching
2.6 The socio-pragmatic approach to the study of code-switching
2.7 Structural approach to code-switching
2.8 Review of some studies done on code-switching in Kenya
2.9 Summary
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The research setting: physical and ethnographic overview
3.3 Qualitative and quantitative approaches to research
3.4 Ethical considerations
3.5 Research Assistants
3.6 Data collection methods
3.7 Data categorisation
3.8 Overview of analysis
3.9 Challenges encountered during the field research
3.10 Conclusion
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Response to questions
4.3 Conclusion
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary of the discourses
5.3 The sociolinguistic analysis of the discourses
5.4 Detailed analysis of discourses i-xix
5.5 Analysis of structural aspects of code-switching in the Kangemi Corpus
5.6 A note on some linguistic features from the corpus
5.7 The use of Sheng
5.8 Conclusion
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Summary of the study
6.3 Discussion of results
6.4 Contribution of the study to the field of linguistics
6.5 Recommendations for education and directions for future research

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