Essay on The Complexities of Codeswitching

Essay on The Complexities of Codeswitching

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If I were writing a letter to my mother, or sending an email to a professor, or making a comment on a friend’s Facebook page, the language I would use in each situation would be quite nearly the same. I have always loved the way the English language works, and how it comes together, and I have always had a fairly good hold on its construct and vocabulary. I started reading at a very young age and have just never stopped, devouring pretty much every book in my path. There is just something so satisfying about being able to flip a page quickly after a suspenseful buildup and know what happens to the characters. Reading has introduced me to the languages of many different people from many different eras and countries and backgrounds, and has greatly helped me further familiarize myself with the English language. Because of this background, proper grammar has been so deeply ingrained in my usage of the language that I find it somewhat difficult to differ in the ways I speak to certain groups of people, because of my natural, "proper" mode coming so naturally to me. I understand that yes, sometimes I codeswitch whether I mean to or not. When I speak to my three-year-old cousin I tell her to go potty, rather than to go use the restroom; I limit my use of profanity to situations in which I know it will not be seen as offensive by others, and I am able to explain ideas to people with varying levels of understanding. However, I have never felt the need to change the way I noramlly speak to my contemporaries, in order to reflect the ways in which they speak. Perhaps this is where my reputation as being the smart girl originated, because I use academic language in settings outside of the classroom. And I have done well in school because I ha...


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...hool and social interaction. Or, perhaps students should just be taught from an earlier age the importance of varied sentence structure and a better developed vocabulary. Either of these would allow students to become comfortable with the ways in which they can express themselves, and so would result in further success in more clearly doing so. And either way, tolerance is necessary for these to take place. Either tolerance by teachers of a student’s method of getting an idea across, or tolerance by his peers of a student’s use of proper grammar. There is no reason why a young Puerto Rican boy from New York should be any less able than a white middle-class girl from Texas to say that the dog was the color of a melted chocolate bar. Nor should it be expected of everyone to be able to express that idea; we must also learn to accept that sometimes, the dog is just brown.

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