Alaa Alhamdan

Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lilia P. Savova, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dana Lynn Driscoll, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Curtis Porter, Ph.D.


This study explores naturally occurring data of the codeswitching use of Arabic and English by multilingual Arab students as they attend Arabic weekly cultural seminar sessions during their temporary stay and study in the US. More precisely, it captures their codeswitching use via video recordings which it subjects to linguistic, conversation, sociolinguistic, and education-focused discourse analyses with the implementation of the mixed-method approach. The findings reveal that when codeswitching, multilingual Arab students use different structural patterns that include the use of both Arabic and English as the matrix and embedded languages, or an equal participation of the two. When one of them is used as the embedded language, it provides content morphemes. The conversation analysis reveals that when participants codeswitch, they use conversation strategies, such as storytelling, speech overlaps, and topic management. The sociolinguistic analysis reveals that participants codeswitch to exhibit personal identity through humor and debate, group identity to consolidate ingroup alignment, and outgroup identity to signify distance. Lastly, the education-focused discourse analysis reveals that codeswitching is used to increase curriculum accessibility; (1) to establish the meaning of unfamiliar concepts through translation, clarification, and confirmation; and (2) to expand the discussed academic concepts through elaboration and commenting. In sum, this study seeks to explore what Arabic/English codeswitching looks like and what meanings and purposes it serves in its specific context.

Available for download on Tuesday, August 13, 2019