Interface conditions and code-switching: Pronouns, lexical DPs, and checking theory

Elly Van Gelderen, Jeff MacSwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The ban on code-switching between a (subject) pronoun and a verb, but not between a lexical DP and a verb, is an enduring puzzle in research on bilingual code-switching. In this paper, we propose an account of these code-switching facts by positing that pronouns and lexical DPs take advantage of different checking strategies: While lexical DPs check features in [Spec, TP], pronouns undergo D-to-T movement. In the latter case, a mixed-language complex head results, a construction which crashes at PF, as predicted by the PF Disjunction Theorem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-776
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Code-switching
  • Coordination
  • Features
  • Head
  • Interface
  • Minimalism
  • Phrase
  • Pronoun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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