Chapter 2 Language choice in multilingual communities (Code-switching or…
Chapter 2 Language choice in multilingual communities (Code-switching or code-mixing)
Code-switching or code-mixing
Example: Scottish Highlanders who are not proficient in Gaelic express their identification with the local Gaelic speech community by using Gaelic tags and phrases interspersed with their English
Switches motivated by the identity and relationship between participants often express a move along the solidarity/social distance dimension. Switches can also distance a speaker from those they are talking to
Example: Pamaka is the usual language of interaction in the community, but young people often switch to Sranan Tongo to signal their sophistication and identification with modernity
Switching to another language can be a signal of group membership and shared ethnicity with an addressee- speakers who are not very proficient in a second language may use brief phrases and words for this purpose.
A switch may also indicate a change in the other dimensions such as the status relations between people or the formality of their interaction.
Participants, solidarity and status
Switching code happens within a domain or social situation- such as the arrival of a new person
Formal relationships which involve status differences such as doctor–patient or administrator–client, often involve the H variety or code (e.g.: Spanish in Paraguay)
A code switch can also happen from a personal interaction to a more formal transaction. Example: when a government administrator deals with a query from someone who comes from her home town in Guangzhou
For many bilinguals, certain kinds of referential content are more appropriately or more easily expressed in one language than the other
-Example: Chinese students from Guangzhou who are fl atting together in an English-speaking country tend to use Cantonese with each other, except to discuss their studies when they switch to English
Switching for affective functions
Using code switching for amusement and dramatic effect
Standard Norwegian is the language of the school, for instance, but while they are in class children may make rude remarks or jokes about the teacher in their local dialect
At school, for instance, Black British children used Patois to their friends and standard English to their teachers.
-Example: Polly switch to Patois was to express affective rather than referential meaning. The teacher didn’t need to understand the words – he simply needed to get the affective message
A language switch in the opposite direction, from the L to the H variety, is often used to express disapproval so a person may code-switch because they are angry.
Example: When a Chinese mother switched to English to ask her son why he had not finished his homework, he recognized he was being indirectly told that he had better finish his homework.
Example: Buang is the local tribal language. By using it Mr Rupa is emphasising his membership of the Buang community, he belongs here and everyone knows him
the specific reason for a switch can be identified with reasonable confidence
Because of the lack of vocabulary people will often use a term from their mother tongue or first language because they don’t know the appropriate word in their second language.
Borrowing of this kind generally involves single words – mainly nouns
Example: New Zealand English has borrowed the word ‘mana’ from Maori- There is no exact equivalent to its meaning in English
It has been suggested for example that switches only occur within sentences (intra-sentential switching) at points where the grammars of both languages match each other
Attitudes to code-switching
Example: Two linguists recorded university students home on vacation. The students unconsciously switched between the local dialect and standard Norwegian according to the topic.
People are often unaware of the fact that they code-switch.
Among Mexican Americans the derogatory term Tex Mex is used to describe rapid code-switching between Spanish and English
In Hemnesberget, the speech of young students who were switching between the local dialect and the standard was condemned as knot or ‘artificial speech’