Make your mouth agua: idioms and the integrated hypothesis


  • Luis López University of Illinois Chicago
  • Irati De Nicolás University of Chicago
  • Rodi Laanen Leiden University
  • Charlotte Pouw University of Amsterdam
  • José Sequeros-Valle University of Nebraska - Omaha
  • M. Carmen Parafita Couto Leiden University / Universidade de Vigo



lexicon, code-switching, integrated hypothesis, distributed morphology


Recent work argues that a bilingual linguistic system is fully integrated in one competence system and does not consist of two separate, autonomous systems as is commonly assumed (see Goldrick et al 2016, Grimstad et al 2014, López 2020, Riksam 2017). Here, we explore the organization of the lexicon within the integration hypothesis using data based on idioms and code-switching. The working hypothesis is that if the lexicons of a bilingual person are integrated in the sort of grammatical architecture presented in López (2020), one should be able to code-switch within the idiom and retain the idiomatic meaning. After a pilot study with a community of Papiamentu-Dutch bilinguals, we tested this hypothesis with two communities of bilingual code-switchers: Basque-Spanish, English-Spanish. The task consisted of choosing a meaning out of three choices for a range of sentences, some of which included code-switched idioms. Our results, by-and-large, confirm the hypothesis that code-switching does not destroy the integrity of the idiom.


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How to Cite

López, L., De Nicolás, I. ., Laanen, R., Pouw, C., Sequeros-Valle, J., & Parafita Couto, M. C. (2023). Make your mouth agua: idioms and the integrated hypothesis. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 12(1), 91–121.