Dr. Ibrahima ABDOULAYE

Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako


Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako



Several studies have been conducted about language change and the phonological processes that are involved. But few (if any) have dealt with phonological processes in a code-switching context. Some research on Songhay-French code-switching is available, but no study has been conducted on the possible phonological processes. So, this research has been conducted to uncover such phonological processes using the participant observation technique. The study is grounded on the Optimality Theory developed by Prince and Smolensky (1993). For that, free conversations of groups of students from the city of Gao (northern Mali) have been recorded, the instances of Songhay-French switches extracted and the phonological processes identified and analyzed. The results of the investigation have displayed processes of assimilation, insertion, and vowel-consonant harmony.

Keywords: code switching, assimilation, insertion, vowel-consonant harmony, optimality theory.