Bilingual Speakers: Is Code Switching Bad? Essay

Bilingual Speakers: Is Code Switching Bad? Essay

Length: 1389 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...

... middle of paper ...

...inguistics. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from
Lanza, E. (1992). Can bilingual two-year-old code-switch? Journal of child
language 19 (3), 633–658.
Lee, C.L. (2003). Motivations of code-switching in multilingual Singapore.
Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 31(1), 145-176.
Nilep, C. (2006). "Code Switching" in Sociocultural Linguistics. Colarado research in linguistics, 19(1), pp. 1-22.
Nortier, J. (2011). Code-switching is much more than careless mixing: Multilinguals know the rules! | multilingual living. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 16 Mar 2014].
Skiba, R. (1997). Code switching as a countenance of language interference. The Internet TESL Journal, 3(10), 1-6.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Conversational Uses Of Code Switching Essay

- Conversational Use of Code-Switching Introduction Most of us adjust the way we speak for the person or people we’re speaking to. This can be as subtle as speaking slowly for a child, or as obvious as switching to another language entirely. Depending on our situation or surroundings, we may change the way we express ourselves. The term for this is code-switching. Code switching is the practice of shifting between different languages or different ways of speaking or expressing yourself in a conversation with someone....   [tags: Linguistics, Language, Code-switching]

Strong Essays
1086 words (3.1 pages)

Reasons for Code Switching by Teachers Essay

- Discussion According to Hudson (1998), code switching is used by teachers as a result of their poor proficiency in the foreign language. The same author adds that teachers use this linguistic technique (code switching) in order to help their students achieve a desired understanding. The results in table 5 complement the author’s findings since the frequency of respondents who agreed to using code switching because of the convenience in explanation was forty percent. This could also imply that multilingual speakers apply code switching when communicating cultural concepts that can only be understood in their native languages....   [tags: language, understanding, communication]

Free Essays
518 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Code Switching And The Target Language

- Second language learners have been influenced by the used of code switching, interfering with the proper acquisition of the target language. Let’s start with what is code switching. Code switching is defined as the use of more than one language in a conversation. (Romaine, 1992:110). There are three types of code switching “tag-switching,” “inter-sentential switching,” and “intra-sentential switching. We will be examining the many reasons why people switch from one language to another and why code switching can be seen as harmful to some while beneficial to others when learning a second language....   [tags: Language, Second language, Multilingualism]

Strong Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about The Study Of Code Switching

- The study of code switching began in the mid-1970s with the work of the sociolinguist John J. Gumperz and Dell Hymes. Both investigated the communicative behavior within “speech communities”. Gumperz and Hymes defined “speech communities” as a, “group of speakers who share knowledge of the communicative constraints and options governing a significant number of social situations” (Diller). Gumperz and Hymes also fashioned the requirements needed to form a “speech community”. The requirements state, “All that is required is that there be at least one language in common and that rules governing basic communicative strategies be shared so that speakers can decode the social meanings carried by a...   [tags: Sociology, Linguistics, Social relation]

Strong Essays
2074 words (5.9 pages)

Essay on Code-Switching in the US

- Ever since the discovery of America, languages have mixed on the American continent. Nowadays the proximity of English and Spanish is evident in the large number of Spanish-speakers in the US. The fact that the US borders Mexico and has Puerto Rico under its sovereignty means that Spanish can easily make its way in to the US. According to the 2010 census there are 16 % Hispanics or of Hispanic origin living in the US and the projection is that by the 2050 it will have grown to approximately 30% Hispanics....   [tags: English, Spanish, Meetings History]

Strong Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Code Switching in spoken English Class

- Code Switching in spoken English Class Liu Yang Introduction This paper investigates how code switching functions as a medium of communicative tool between students in a spoken class in Hubei University of China. The findings indicate that code switching in spoken form allowed for effective communications between students in a natural and cozy way for all students involved. Literature review 1.Definition of code switching Code switching was first investigated systematically in the 1960s and 1970s....   [tags: effective communication, ]

Strong Essays
1785 words (5.1 pages)

Code-switching: An Essential Skill For Bilinguals Essay

- Language is the primary way to communicate, learn and express identity. People, who have native-like control of two or more languages or are simply bilingual, establish their identity through code-switching. Code-switching refers to using more than language or variety in conversation. Code-switching is an essential skill for bilinguals. People with mixed cultural identity require the proficiency in code-switching to show loyalty to more than one cultural or social group. The need to learn code-switching can arise from a variety of situations where people are required to become bilingual....   [tags: Language]

Strong Essays
708 words (2 pages)

Code Switching Is A Popular Way Of Communication Essay

- Language is a universal trait that every culture has, whether it is written or spoken, people around the world have a need to communicate with one another. Language reflects your background and where you come from, according to Fromkin, Rodman and Hyams, an accent is a regional phonological distinction (433). That being said, in the United States the most prevalent language is English but depending on the region, your language might sound different to other people. If someone from Wisconsin visited one of the southern states, they would definitely notice a drawl in a southerner’s language, whereas the native southerner would think the Wisconsin resident’s accent sounds nasally....   [tags: Language, Spanish language, United States]

Strong Essays
731 words (2.1 pages)

Code Switching in Language Acquisition Essay

- Code Switching in Language Acquisition The acquisition of English as a non-native language proves quite problematic for some individuals. Because English was developed using modifications and borrowed words from scores of fundamentally different languages, it would seem to be a language which most peoples of the world could easily acquire. There should always be something about the language and structure that reflects an individual’s native tongue – whether it be phonology, syntax, or semantics....   [tags: English Language Essays]

Strong Essays
957 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Code Switching and Modern Language Mixing

- When Cultures and Languages Blend: Traditional and Modern Instances of Code-Switching and Other Language Mixing One of the most fascinating sociolinguistic phenomena in modern times is code-switching. This act occurs when a speaker or speakers switch from one dialect to another within a single conversation. It is similar to style-shifting, which involves a change in the level of formality between speakers. (Curzan, 266-269) The complexity of social interaction requires language users to adapt to changing needs in conversation....   [tags: Culture Linguistics Language]

Strong Essays
1440 words (4.1 pages)