Bilingual Speakers: Is Code Switching Bad? Essay

Bilingual Speakers: Is Code Switching Bad? Essay

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In various societies, people use several different languages in conversations between their friends, family and peers. Especially in Singapore, it is not an unfamiliar phenomenon to hear two or more bilingual speakers speaking and code switching between the language English and Chinese, English and Malay, English and Tamil or even Standard English and Singaporean English to each other in a natural and effortless manner. In this line, I have mechanistically relate speech varieties with “codes” and despite having a vast variety of definitions to choose from for code switching; I have decided to use Heller’s definition. Heller (1988) defines code switching as the alternating between two or more languages in a single sentence or conversation. During this phenomenon, it is common for individuals to fluently use more than one language in a course of a single communication episode. When this happens, bilinguals are not coached in how to code switch, but instead, they rely on unconscious linguistic understanding in differentiating between what are tolerable and intolerable code switching usages. According to Auer (1989), factors such as cultural interaction, intercultural marriage, education, and colonization are some influences for code switching. Moreover, speakers may choose to alternate from one code to another, either to distinguish oneself, to show commonality with a social group, to discuss a certain topic, join in social happenstances, to impress and influence the audience or to express feelings and affections (Crystal, 1987). However, there has been a misconception in many people’s perception, that “code switching is bad”, “code switching creates confusion” and that “code switching will result in a language deficit where individ...


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