A Study of Code-Switching in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things
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This thesis explores the alternations between English and Malayalam, or the code-switching in Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things. The foundation used for studying codeswitching in literature is Meir Sternberg’s model Polylingualism and Translational Mimesis in Literature (1981). This model has provided grounds for an in-depth look at the codeswitching in the novel. Several strategies of code-switching presented by Sternberg (1981), are found in the novel. They appear for example as visual linguistic differences between Malayalam and English or formal versus informal language discourse, both appearances with significance for and emphasizing the multilingual character of the novel. Various forms of code-switching coexist and interact with each other in the novel. Although specific categorical types of codeswitching are more frequent than others, no one strategy dominates the novel in its entirety. As a whole, the different strategies of code-switching contribute to the multilingual universe of the novel. The characters use of code-switching through the novel, in addition to their actions and the narrative description, emphasizes the differences in the character’s social strata. Thus, also contributing to multilingual interpretation of the novel. Although Sternberg’s model serves as a decent tool for studying code-switching in literature, it is difficult, if at all possible to use only these strategies to discuss the multilingual universe of the novel. However, since it is difficult to find any model which can account for code-switching in written literary works, Sternberg’s model is perhaps most applicable, as long as there is critical consideration of how it is used.