Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September                                  Pp.  260- 275

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The Functions of Code-switching in the Interaction of the Cartoon Characters in
Dora the Explorer

Majedah Abdullah Alaiyed
Department of English Language and Translation
College of Sciences and Arts in Arrass
Qassim University, Saudi Arabia



This paper investigates code-switching from Standard Arabic into English in six episodes of the TV cartoon series Dora the Explorer. The significance of this study is that it will provide an in-depth understanding of the strategies and structures of code-switching used to address children in order to teach them English. The study addresses two research questions: 1) What are the patterns of code-switching found in the interaction of the cartoon characters in Dora the Explorer? 2) What is the function of code-switching in each pattern? Quantitative analysis was used to analyze the frequency of each pattern of code-switching, while qualitative analysis was used to determine the functions of code-switching. The results show several patterns of code-switching into English: code-switching from Arabic to English without translation; Arabic lexical items followed by an English translation; English lexical items followed by an Arabic translation; translation from Arabic into English in two turns; and metadiscursive code-switching. English lexical items are introduced through code-switching in each episode. English words without translation account for the highest percentage of code-switching. In the code-switching to English, some English units are permanent, while some are context units that depend on the episode topic: these include basic formulaic and non-formulaic expressions. Lexical items for greeting, appreciation, and evaluation are the most frequent pragmatic functions of code-switching. Further research is recommended on code-switching in other TV animated series in other languages to determine the patterns of code-switching and the part of speech that is the focus of switching.
Keywords: Arabic, Cartoons, Code-switching, Dora the Explorer, English, Formulaic, Non-formulaic

Cite as:   Alaiyed, M. A. (2020). The Functions of Code-switching in the Interaction of the Cartoon Characters in Dora the Explorer. Arab World English Journal11 (3) 260- 275.


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Dr. Majedah Abdullah Alaiyed is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language
and Translation, College of Sciences and Arts in Arrass at Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. Her
PhD is in Sociolinguistics from Durham University, United Kingdom and her current research
interests focus on sociolinguistics, code-switching, code-mixing, and pragmatics. (ORCID ID: