Publication Date

Spring 5-8-2022

Document Type


First Advisor

Thepboriruk, Kanjana

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Department of Anthropology


This study examines the structural patterns and social motivations behind Code-Switching (CS) as it is used by English-dominant, bilingual Thai Americans. CS is defined here as an umbrella term that encompasses both intersentential and intrasentential language mixing. For the purpose of this study, bilingual speakers are considered those who use Thai and English in some aspect of their everyday lives, whether talking with friends, family, etc.; native-like fluency in both languages is not necessary. A total of fourteen participants were selected throughout the US using a preliminary biodata survey. Participants were paired based on their language use, age, and place of residence. Each pair then met via Zoom for approximately 1-2 hours to engage in peer-to-peer conversation. The conversations involved two sessions: 1) brief introductions, 2) informal interviews. For the second session, participants were individually sent one question at a time via the chatbox and were asked to “interview” their conversational partner and also answer the question themselves. The questions centered on participants’ own experiences growing up and living as Thai Americans, as well as their opinions on Thai and American culture, in order to elicit potential connections between their styles and motivations for CS and their Thai American identities. Following data collection, methods of analysis consisted of transcribing the conversation recordings and identifying salient structural patterns of CS. This paper focuses on only one pair of participants, Mac and Pearl, as they were found to use the most Thai during their conversation.