Contacts between linguistic groups are dominant around the world. At the individual level, bilingualism rather than unilinguism remains the rule rather than the exception. Which factors influence the linguistic choices of bilinguals in situation of intercultural communication? We offer a critical analysis of the macro and micro sociolinguistic factors which affect the dynamics of the permutations of languages (code-switching) at the bilingual level. The ethnolinguistic vitality of communities as well as the linguistic policies which affect the status of languages in contact form the framework of bilingual communications. The social standards relevant to the subjects of conversation, the objectives of the exchange and the status of the interlocutors (age, sex, social class), as well as the individual networks of linguistic contacts constitute the sociolinguistic framework of the bilingual communications. The theory of the social identity, the theory of adaptation of communications, the interactive model of acculturation as well as beliefs concerning the ethnolinguistic vitality of groups in contact are the motivational, emotional and cognitive approaches which explain the dynamics of bilingual exchanges. The authors conclude by focussing on the principal theoretical and methodological factors connected to these various levels of analyses regarding the bilingual communications.


* Cette communication a été présentée lors d'un symposium intitulé : "La dynamique des Langues: perspectives sociocritiques". Ce symposium organisé par le comité de recherche en sociolinguistique (RC25) de l'Association internationale de sociologie (AIS) qui a eu lieu lors du 65e Congrès de l'Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences (ACFAS), Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada, mai 2000. Cette recherche a été rendue possible grâce à la Chaire Concordia-UQAM en études ethniques.