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.
1.Definition of code switching
Code switching was first investigated systematically in the 1960s and 1970s. There have been numerous definitions ranging in specificity, and several theoretical models aimed at describing and explaining its many features and manifestations. Like any area of scholarly inquiry, the definitions vary depending on the purpose of the research. Though different in their orientation and purpose, two definitions would probably find agreements among a great number of scholars:
“Code-switching is the systematic, alternating use of two or more language in a single utterance or conversational exchange.
Code-switching is the systematic use of linguistic material from two or more languages in the same sentence or conversation.” (Glen L.,2011, p. 50)
2. Functions of Code Switching
A great deal of researches have been postulated so as to investigate how code switching functions in interactions among people and they are introduced in the following lines.
In attempting to show the uniformity among bilingual language exchanges, Gumperz (1982) posited six discourse functions of code switching: quotation, addressee specification, interjection, reiteration, message qualification and personalization versus objectification.
Code switching functions in Gumperz’s list encouraged subsequent researchers to refine the func...
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...e students may feel some sorts of affinities among them because they are sitting in the same boat. They may ask a friend or classmate a question in their native language because they feel it is odd to communicate in English and they also expect to get the quickest answer.
Although preliminary in nature, this article makes an attempt to explain and highlight the four functions of code switching in the spoken English classrooms. The functions of code switching in spoken English classroom are presented in the form of transcription with further analysis on its types and possible reasons in order to clarify the phenomenon with different perspectives. The results of the study indicated that code switching mostly occurred in the classroom to cater for the needs of the students.
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