Code-Switching: Am I Still Me?

Do you use the same language when speaking with your grandma or boss as you use when speaking with your friends? Chances are you don’t. NPR has been looking into the phenomenon termed “code-switching.” Code-switching refers to how individuals express themselves differently through language depending upon the niche they are attempting to fill. That is, the voice is still the individual’s, but it is a different version of the voice suited to the particular conversation or situation. For example, you may say, “What’s up?” to your friends, and “How are you?” to your grandparents. There are many reasons why people code-switch, but NPR identified the more common reasons to be the following: when our subconscious takes over and causes us to use a different language or accent, when we attempt to fit in with a particular group, when we are trying to get something, when we want to say something in secret, and when we aim to convey an idea that is best expressed through a certain language or accent.

Prior to reading NPR’s articles “How Code-Switching Explains the World” and “Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch,” I had not given much thought about how I speak to or what language I use with different groups of individuals. Much less had I ever heard the term “code-switch.” Some individuals who do not want to accept the idea that they change their expression of themselves based upon their audience will probably argue code-switching does not exist, but now that I know what code-switching means, I cannot deny it is an aspect of our everyday lives. What these individuals should realize is that code-switching does not change who we are, rather it is an expression of our various identities.

How is code-witching an expression of our various identities? Let’s take a look at the five most common reasons individuals code-switch as identified by NPR and how these reasons relate to or identities. Where you were grew up and the dialect spoken there as well as the language used by one’s peers and family becomes part of one’s subconscious, and these factors are a part of their cultural and social identity. For example, one may transition between English, Spanish, or a blend of the two depending upon to whom they are speaking. Likewise, the employment of code-switching as a means of fitting in reflects one’s social and human identity, since all humans have the basic need of love or being wanted/accepted. Furthermore, our use of code-switching as an end to getting something we desire or wanting to say something in secret depicts our moral identity and identity as creative and cunning beings. If an individual cares little for exploiting others to get what he or she wants, then he or she will “sweet talk” or assume a different character until the other individual convinced to give him or her what is desired at the least cost or effort. Lastly, we code-switch to better convey certain ideas, thereby displaying our identity as intellectual beings.

Ultimately, is code-switching a bad thing? I don’t think so. Code-switching is an expression of my different identities at different times. My identities are all a part of me; it’s who I am.

My Facebook Profile: Who Am I?

Having a profile on Facebook is one of my newest ventures, and I am still working out all the details as to how I want to portray myself on the site. For the longest time, I was one of those people who rebelled against the idea of creating a Facebook profile because it seemed like everyone had one. Not until I was mid-way through high school did I finally bog down and create a profile. It has been two years since I joined Facebook, and checking Facebook has honestly become a facet of my everyday life. Although I don’t post much on Facebook, the site has been a valuable tool for me to expand my network, to stay connected with friends, and to learn about what’s going on and new opportunities.

What is there to learn about me from my profile? Very little, unless I have “friended” you. My privacy settings are set pretty high to prevent my private information from leaking out to potential employers and educators as well as Internet stalkers. I’m not one to post my every day life’s story, but I will update my status when there are significant events in my life and when I am struck by song lyrics or deep thoughts. A quick browse through my photos will show you I am happy and enjoy spending time with friends. Moreover, I obviously respect my self-image because you will not find any photos or language that depict me in a negative light. This is not to say I am misrepresenting myself; rather, I have high ethical and moral standards for myself, and I abide by these standards both on and off the Internet.

What won’t you find about me on Facebook? Generally speaking, you won’t find my opinions on social issues because I am tolerant of other opinions and am always open to new ideas. I don’t want to peg myself to a single ideology. Furthermore, you won’t find much about my interests. In all honesty, I’m trying to figure out just what my interests are myself. The world is constantly changing, I am changing, and my interests change in return.

In the end, for me at least, my profile is not just a run-down of my identity. My posts form a web connecting the past to the present, reminding me of how my world has changed and I have changed emotionally, mentally, and intellectually. So, who am I according to my Facebook profile? Not much but a creature of change.

Student Secrets: Ed Dante’s “The Shadow Scholar”

Summary 1 – address to deans of Emory College:


A great challenge faced by academia today may be occurring on your campus; it is plagiarism. Plagiarism has been taken to new extremes as many students hire writers from online custom-essay companies to write their essays and papers. In the essay The Shadow Scholar,” a man going by the pseudonym Ed Dante provides his insights as an online writer. Dante’s career began in college with recognition by his peers as an accomplished writer who could be paid to write papers. Three types of students prone to this form of cheating are identified, spanning from high school students to graduate students. Two aspects shared among these students are a desire to receive a decent grade at the expense of ethical issues and poor communication skills. Dante himself expresses little concern for the principles endangered by serving these students. Why are students cheating? Dante claims part of the problem is educators are not asking themselves this question and resolving the issue. Moreover, educators do not seem to perceive the disparity between students’ communication and writing. In writing the article, Dante hopes to bring the issue of student cheating to the forefront for the academic community to begin to address.


Summary 2 – address to minors


Today, many students claim work as their own that they didn’t do. In his article “The Shadow Scholar,” a man who goes by the name Ed Dante describes how students are using online companies to cheat. Dante is a writer for an online custom-essay company paid by students to write their essays and papers. According to Dante, there are three main types of students that seek his services. Regardless of the type of student, most lack basic communication and writing skills, and all show little concern for the moral and ethical issues involved. Dante also seems to have disregard for codes of honor and, in fact, went into the business as a result of his own college experiences and positive reception as a paper writer for his peers. Partially blaming educators for the problem of student cheating, Dante points out how educators fail to question the difference between students’ every day communication and writing and to discuss why students are cheating. During the recession, when the article was written, Dante’s business was booming. However, his hope in writing the article is to get the word out there and to get the conversation started on the cause of student cheating.


Summary 3 – address to general public


Who is the real genius behind the great essay or paper? Find out how students are cheating today here: