Code-switching

After reading the article, “How Code-Switching Explains the World,” I was very intrigued by the whole concept of code-switching. Although it was my first time hearing the term being used, I felt as if I had already known this expression. Thinking back, there are so many instances where I had seen or had personally experienced this unconscious practice. I would see code-switching happening at my school, when all the students would suddenly change their tone of voice upon entering the classroom. I would see it occur during swim practice, when my coach would speak in a more didactic tone and seemed like a completely different person from his normally laid-back self.

The place where I experience the most code-switching is at my local church. I attend church every Sunday and experience a great diversity of code-switching forms. The service is carried out in Korean and is attended by members of all ages. When speaking in Korean, I noticed myself talking in a calmer tone and using words that I would not normally use when speaking in English. For example, when replying how I am doing, in Korean, I would say something in the equivalence of “Yes, I am doing well” when in English, I would naturally reply with a “Yeah, I’m good.” Although these two replies may seem similar, during the course of the conversation, they produce completely contrasting conversations.

I also noticed that my surroundings greatly influence my behavior. Although I am still around the same group of people such as my friends and family, the sole change in setting brings out a different side of my personality. I would speak slowly and would always be cautious of my word selections. I would address my friends and family in a more respectful manner and refrain from saying any jokes or funny stories.

By reading about code-switching, I was able to self-reflect on how this practice takes place in my life. I realized that code-switching does not necessarily mean one to “pretend” to be someone else; it simply describes the change in behavior and speech in order to adapt to a certain setting or audience. I am content that I was able to learn about this new term and become more observant of not only my behavior but also the behavior of others.

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One thought on “Code-switching

  1. Again, this is very clear and concise piece of work, good job! You had very nice flow from one point to the next. I also liked your point at the end when you said that when people code-switch they are not trying to pretend to be someone they are not. It was a good way to conclude the blog. One thing that might have made this just a teensy bit better would be if you had a specific example with your coach. Other than that, great job!

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