The Effect of Code-Switching in Children's Dubbed Animations on Learning Modern Standard Arabic from the Perspective of Skopos Theory: The Amazing World of Gumball as a Case Study

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An-Najah National University
Previous studies concerning code-switching can be generally classified into two groups. The first one is studies that address code-switching as a tool of communication and speech continuity (e.g. Mayers-Scotton, 1997; Muysken, 2000; Yohena, 2003; Riehl, 2005; Nilep, 2006; Elbwart, 2014; Koostra, 2015, etc). These studies are concerned with code-switching in situations where conveying the intended meaning is more important than the language used which, in such cases, is just a channel for conveying the message. The second group includes studies that consider code-switching a form of language interference that have to be surrounded by constraints, and is considered, most of the time, undesired. Studies within this group (e.g. Skiba, 1997; Llurda, 2006; Glavo, 2009; Mokgwathi & Webb, 2013; etc) are concerned with code-switching in situations where the language used is not less important than the content being conveyed. Hence, most of the second group studies discuss language in bilingual and monolingual societies and language choice in the classroom environment (pedagogical studies). This study addresses the phenomenon of inter-linguistic and intra-linguistic code-switching in English-Standard Arabic dubbed children's animation. The study is based on the claim that code-switching from Modern Standard Arabic into English (inter-linguistic code-switching) or into non-Standard Arabic Varieties (intra-linguistic code-switching) in dubbed animations passively affects Arab children's learning of Modern Standard Arabic. Accordingly, it is argued in this study that code-switching in English- Arabic dubbed animations is a form of undesired language interference between Standard Arabic and dialectal Arabic on the one hand, and Standard Arabic and English on the other hand. The fact that the study addresses code-switching from a pedagogical view within a context of audiovisual translation (dubbing from English into Arabic) makes it contribute to both linguistics studies and translation studies. The study argues that due to a set of surrounding factors, including the targeted audience's insufficient language experience, the diglossic nature of the Arab society and the spread of dialectal Arabic into new domains, the language used in animations targeted to Arab children have to be carefully chosen even if the animation is not meant to be educational. Hence, the study claims that considering code-switching a form of interference is not limited to educational contexts or classroom environment. Discussing code-switching as a linguistic interference in English-Arabic dubbed animations in particular makes the study significant since there has not been any similar previous studies in the field of English-Arabic translation. As a case study, the popular animation, 'The Amazing World of Gumball'', was chosen; and the sample was determined with three groups of female school students, ages 10-15. The adopted methodology is based on Skopos theory which argues that intra-textual coherence is more important than inter-textual coherence, and that assessing the quality of translation depends on the targeted audience reaction. Taken these principles into consideration, the researcher adopted a methodology of two steps: test1and test2. Test1aimed at verifying the main claim by proving that the targeted audience (females, 10-15 years old) confuse the different occurrences of inter and intra-linguistic code-switching in the chosen animation with Modern Standard Arabic. This test also resulted in other important findings: it revealed the most and least problematic levels of code-switching and showed that children's recognition of code-switching occurrences is influenced by their age and academic achievement. Test2, on the other hand, aimed at replacing the occurrences of code-switching with alternative translations from Modern Standard Arabic, and assessing the appropriateness of these alternatives based on the targeted audience reaction. The study concluded that code-switching in Standard Arabic dubbed animations is, generally speaking, problematic and passively affects children's learning of Modern Standard Arabic. The findings also showed that the different types of code-switching fall into two categories: seriously problematic types that do not become more recognizable with age advancing and/or academic achievement development; and less problematic types that are directly proportional to both age and academic achievement. The study also proved that using pure Modern Standard Arabic can, in most cases, convey the intended meaning, and that many detected code-switching occurrences were unnecessary. The study also pointed out that the technique of dubbing gives the translator a lot of freedom. It allows him/her to do the necessary changes on both source language and content in order to avoid code-switching.