Code-switching is not a new linguistic phenomenon in multilingual communities, especially in bilingual countries. Usually, bilinguals subconsciously employ code-switching in their daily conversation. Hà (2013) discovers the young generation in Vietnam had been using code-switching in their communication.
Khadim (2014) found that Facebook is one of the places where the frequency of code-switching use is high. Facebook users tend to use code-switching from one language to another in their communication.
The use of code-switching in Facebook varies from every users as well as the situation of communication. The number of active Facebook users in Vietnam reached 64 millions in July, 2017 (Phuong, 2017) and this figure continues to raise. For these users, Facebook is one of the most popular ways to communicate with their friends, families and colleagues.
This paper will aim to find out the functions of code-switching in Facebook as well as the reason why Facebook users code-switch in their statuses and replies to those statuses in Vietnamese context.
2. Code-Switching and Code-Mixing
a. Code-Switching and Code-Mixing
Wardhaugh (2010) defines code-switching as the process in which speakers tend to “switch from one code to another or to mix codes” within the same utterance or during the same conversation. By this definition, code-switching and code-mixing can be used interchangeably. While code-mixing – also known as “an intra sentential code” – occurs when the speaker uses lexical items and grammatical features from two linguistic variaties in one sentence (Muysken, 2000). Bokamba (1988) distinguish code-mixing from code-switching. The linguist defines code-mixing as mixing of various linguistic units (affixes, words, phrases, clauses) from two languages in the same sentence and speech context, whereas code-switching is the mixing of units (words, phrases, sentences) from two code within the same speech context.