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Code Switching Annotated Article

In: English and Literature

Submitted By collegegal17
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Before I started my research in Code-Switching, I had very little knowledge of what code switching actually was. Through my research, I came to find that code means language; switching means alternating between. Right as I started my research, I started to notice that authors spell “code switching” in different ways. For example, they use it as two words, with a hyphen between them, or as one word. The different ways to spell code switching is a perfect example of the meaning of the word/s itself. Switching languages can mean a variety of things. As the articles I annotate below indicate, language switching can occur without notice, between dialects of a language, between different languages, and so on. Due to its broadness, it is important to focus on a topic of interest when researching code switching. I decided to focus on the advantages and benefits that Code Switching provides.
The articles I reviewed give reasons why code switching happens, and some articles present many explanations. However, the main reasons as put forth by Arnfast and Jorgensen (2003), imitate the three main reasons that code switchers give for using their skill. These reasons are: to fill in linguistic gaps for words, acquisition or maintenance of social power, and social acceptance. After much research and by reading several studies of these approaches, I came to the conclusion that code switching is used rarely for one purpose. It is also doubtful that the users are completely aware of all the reasons that they switch code.
Through my research, I interviewed four of my fellow teacher co-workers, as well as two of the professors at Northeastern Illinois University. During my interview, I asked them a series of questions regarding their experiences with students who are able to code switch. These questions were: What do you know what Code Switching means? Given the brief explanation, what are your thoughts on code switching? Do you think code switching is an advantage or disadvantage? Do you think you have ever code switched? Would you incorporate code switching in your classroom? The answers that I received mostly correlated with each other.
My co-workers were not very familiar with code switching. Their thoughts on code switching were that it was the same as being bilingual just with more depth as it can be used for more than just language. They mostly felt that code switching was an advantage, with the exception of one teacher who felt that code switching was a confusing concept. They all agreed that felt that they code switched when parents would leave the room after dropping off and picking up their children-their dialect would change from professional to casual when the parents left the classroom. With the exception of one, my co-workers expressed how using code switching in their classroom would actually be more beneficial to the kids, especially those that speak two or more languages at home. The NEIU professors were familiar with the concept of code switching. Their thoughts were that code switching has many layers. They feel that they code switch when they are outside of the NEIU facility. And finally, they felt that code switching was very complex, and they would be hesitant to incorporate it into their classrooms. Their thoughts are very much at match with my own. I feel that code switching is beneficial to younger aged students as they go through the process of learning English, especially if these students come from a multilingual background. Their knowledge of words can help them better understand the English language.
Callahan, Laura. (2004). Spanish/English Codeswitching in a written corpus. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Co.
Callahan’s first chapter, “Codeswitching: Form and function”, is an excellent basic introduction to code switching. It is very useful for anyone interested in starting to learn about the subject. She talks about borrowing and code switching in languages, and the debates around those issues. The differences between metaphorical, situational, and conversational code switching are explained. She also includes a sociolinguistic analysis of code switching. She shows relatively detailed knowledge of language and grammar based upon some of the subjects discussed. She further explains that Bilingualism enables minority speakers to take in the benefits of majority code speakers. One of the issues of code switching is that individuals who engage in it may be rejected by majority and minority code purists. Also, many outsiders assume incorrectly that since an individual may belong to a minority culture, they automatically speak the minority code. This is often not the case though, as there are many minorities who speak only, or primarily, the majority code. The author claims that the act of code switching dismisses both English and Spanish monolingualism.
Alvarerz-Cáccamo, Celso. (1998). From ‘switching code’ to ‘code-switching’. In Peter Auer(Ed.), Code-switching in conversation: Language, interaction and identity (pp. 22-48). New York: Routledge.
This article provides a historical analysis and a discussion of the evolution of code switching. Alvararez-Cáccamo also discusses ways code switching has been applied in the past. He emphasizes “a clearer conceptual distinction between ‘linguistic variety’ in its broadest sense and ‘communicate code’ is crucial for explaining conversational conduct” (30). This article helps make it clear that there are so many different aspects of code switching to find, compare, and explore.
Jorgensen, J. Normann. (2003). Languaging Among Fifth Graders: Code-switching in Conversation 501 of the Koege Project. (redo the odd characters). Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 24(1&2), 126-148.
This study focused on five Turkish/Danish speaking students. This is part of a larger, longitudinal study of bilingualism in schools in Denmark. The study analyzes conversations between youth who use all of their linguistic resources, all of the languages they can speak, to communicate, assert dominance/ power, and to thwart the adult "dual monolingual" ideal which is enforced in schools. This differs from just using "loan" words. The students speak with competence and ability in the various languages that they use. The study also found that Turkish/ Danish speakers, at grade five, stop using Turkish when other majority language speakers are present. Other issues involved in this discussion were adolescence, identity, youth culture, majority/minority language.
The authors regard bilingualism/ monolingualism as pointless labels; they prefer the term "languaging" over either one. Authors emphasize that it is all about linguistic resources.
Cultural/ Social Aspects
Hurtado, Aida & Luis A. Vega. (2004). Shift Happens: Spanish and English transmission between parents and their children.Journal of Social Issues, 60 (1), 137-155.
This article explores the concept of the linguistic band within Spanish/ English language shifts; a band is the degree of individual's exposure to a language they may not speak, but, still, are able to understand. It takes two or more people to speak a language in order for a band to be present. The presence of different linguistic bands at home allows learning and encourages receptive bilingualism. The article claims the biggest language shifts are intergenerational.
The article argues that bilingualism is effective, even when intergenerational. Receptive bilingualism plays an important role in this. This study is notable because it used large groups: one used 900+, another 1300+, a third used 64 sets of parents and children
Luna, David and Laura A. Peracchio. (2005). Sociolinguistic effects on code-switched ads targeting bilingual consumers. Journal of Advertising, 34, 43-56.
This fascinating article explores how capital profits from linguistic differences, and how English/ Spanish consumers are targeted by code-switched ads. It makes significant use of the Markedness Model; the heart of this model is that "different languages possess different sets of associations, or language schemas. These schemas can be activated or deactivated by switching to and from particular languages" (43). The study found the direction of the codeswitch determined how positive a consumer's response was to the ad. If it went from majority to minority language, the customer responded more negatively because, the researchers assert, the marked difference, and minority status of Spanish, reminded them of cultural/ political inferiority in power relations. When the code-switch was from minority to majority language, the response was much more positive.
Ramsdell, Lea. (2004). Language and Identity Politics; The linguistic Autobiographies of Latinos in the United States. Journal of Modern Literature, 28(1), 166-176.
This is the only article that deals overtly and primarily with literature; it centers on how language is identity and identity is political. Ramsdell discusses auto-biography from Paul De Man's approach as a way of creating self, and the article explores this in the works of Dorfman, Anzaldua, and Rodriguez. Ramsdell treats all three as linguistic auto-biographies; he explores notions of language as home, essence, identity; monolingualism offers one home, polylingualism offers many homes.
Author looks at power of language to transform selves, "Because of its potential as a site for forging both private and public identities, the linguistic autobiography as a genre appeals to those displaced, exiled, or otherwise marked as "other" because of their linguistic heritage" (168). Rodriguez and Dorfman preference one language over another, internal strife and conflict around these issues. Anzaldua embraces languages, sees them as empowering; she supports hybrid languages and discusses the issue of linguistic terrorism.
Panayiotou, Alexia. (2004). Switching Codes, Switching Code: Bilinguals' Emotional Responses in English and Greek. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 25 (2&3), 124-139.
The author examines linguistic constructions of emotions in bilingual settings, and studies the issue of translatability of emotions.Subjects codeswitch in order to pick the right word; for some, Greek words sounded odd, they forgot it, or the concept was not in Greek, so they selected an English word. CS shows bilinguals searching all terms available to them for the proper one—they go through their English and Greek terms seeking out the right one. Researcher also writes that emotion shift in different cultural contexts. Researcher also proposes that bilinguals may have a metalanguage for emotions (133-4). CS to other language occurs when emotions in other language are more appropriate.
The study design was also very intriguing. It centers on 10 subjects, 8 of them women. The author required subjects to be both bilingual and bicultural; predominantly women fulfilled both criteria. I saw this gender inequality as a problem; the author defends it stating that she does not think gender influences the linguistic and cultural untranslatability of emotions or how people talk about that unstranslatability. She also states that she does not assume that gender influences how language use is filtered by cultural knowledge, or how experiential shifts may accompany a language shift. I don't think you can assume either one way or the other. At least she does address it.
Gender & Codeswitching
Jan, Jariah Mohd. (2003). Code-switching for power wielding: Inter-gender discourse at the workplace. Multilingua, 22, 41-57.
The author focuses on codeswitching between Bahasa Malay (BM), the official language of Malaysia, and English in governmental bodies. English is considered a remnant of colonial power, but is still used regularly in science, technology, and government. The author indicates how, in Malaysian culture, codeswitching is used for a variety of purposes. One is to establish rapport with others, finding a language they are comfortable communicating in; another reason is to help cover up for a lack of ability in a specific language for either the speaker or their family. These are important aspects, according to Jan, because all linguistic power must be ratified and accepted by others. Access to this power relies upon not just knowing the language, but also knowing how to use it.
Jan presents a discussion of “speech accommodation”: it is important not just to be accepted, but to be understood. In some discussions there were equal amounts of BM and English, in others more English with embedded BM, in other still there was more BM with embedded English. In all of the examples cited, the individuals used CS for differing, yet specific purposes.
Women were presented as using CS to assert control of their jobs, their positions, and dominance. The male in charge maintained power by only using BM—the official language—except to give some explicit instructions in English. Both women and the boss used CS to give emphasis to specific words or ideas.
Sadiqi, Fatima. (2003). Women and Linguistic Space in Morocco.Women and Language, 26 (1), 37-42.
This article focuses on codeswitching by middle- to upper-class women in Morocco. In addition to the languages used, Sadiqi examines different strategies used by women to claim linguistic powers—gossip, stories, and songs are tools for women in lower classes. Sadiqi asserts women who are not polylingual use these since, they cannot codeswitch for power. She also states that women are more likely to CS in homo and heterosocial groups; men, on the other hand, are more likely to CS only in heterosocial groups. Sadiqi also examines women’s traditional, middle-class role responsibility for teaching French to their children.
Teaching, Language, and Learning
Liebscher, Grit and Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain. (2005). Learner Code-Switching in the Content-Based Foreign Language Classroom. Modern Language Journal, 89 (2) 234-247.
Research in this article is premised on the notion that bilingualism, not monolingualism, is the norm for speakers. The focus is on analyzing code-switching by students more than teachers. It recognizes the dual nature of CS, that it is discourse and participant related. CS is treated as an effective tool for bilingual communication.
“[W]e have been able to show that while some of these learners’ code-switches are participant related, they also use code-switching in discourse-related functions previously identified only in teacher talk and in non-institutional conversation among bilinguals” (245). Ss used CS when they had an L2 deficiency, but also to “indicate changes in their orientation toward the interaction and towards each other” (245).The authors suggest teachers envision members of a FL community as aspiring bilinguals.
Macaro, Ernesto. (2001). Analysing student teachers' codeswitching in foreign language classrooms: Theories and decision making.The Modern Language Journal, 85 (4). 531-548.

This case study of six student teachers examines their use of L1, L2 and codeswitching, when teaching a foreign language during 14 class sessions. The researchers coded for CS in both individual lessons as well as in total talk for the class. The research focused on how much codeswitching the student-teachers did. Overall, the study found that the teachers spoke in their L1 very little. When they did CS, it was usually in order to give instructions, reprimand students, or to keep control of the classroom. This kind of research important because student-teachers need clear guidelines on when L1 use/ CS is optimal in teaching.
Rolin-Ianziti, Jeanne & Siobhan Brownlie. (2002). Teacher use of learners' native language in the foreign language classroom.Canadian Modern Language Review, 58 (3), 402-436.
This study’s is to investigate "the issue of teachers' use of NL in our own FL teaching context" (405). Results show that teachers code-switch "to translate, to comment about forms, and to manage the class"; these are important because they were used frequently by all four teachers for these purposes (422). The teachers were not always in control of their codeswitching. It often took place in response to a student's question. Complicating factors include internal motivators for the teacher and non-school related factors related to the teachers emotions and social reasons.
"Code switching represents another strategy teachers use to simplify their speech in order to accommodate the learners' level of proficiency. … We hypothesize that a few strategic uses of NL may introduce input modifications that affect FL learning positively" (423). Translation may help comprehension, and draw attention to vocabulary items that need attention. Code switching may also help learners see differences between how the FL and NL function, and thereby avoid negative transfer (424).
Borders in CS, Bilingualism
Arnfast, Juni S and J. Normann Jorgensen. (2003). Code-switching as a communication, learning, and social negotiation strategy in first-year learners of Danish. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 13 (1), 23-53
These authors argue that the distinction between SLA’s and Bilingualisms treatment of CS—CS as a crutch or sign of weakness inSLA, or as mark of linguistic sophistication in Bilingualism—could and should be eliminated. The study found that learners develop CS practices as they learned Danish. It also found that learners used it as a linguistic strategy. CS worked for the students as both a means to fill linguistic gaps and obtain social acceptance and power. "[S]ince it is evident that bilinguals ma6y use code-switches for quite advanced purposes, there is no particular reason to expect monolingual or other learners to use code-switches only for simple purposes or when they are incompetent in a second language" (49).
Blake, Mary E. & Meta Van Sickle. (2001). Helping linguistically diverse students share what they know. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 44 (5), 468-475.
The researchers focus on an AAEV dialect on an island in South Carolina; their goal was “to help the students develop the ability to code-switch between their island dialect and Standard English to communicate their understanding of the science and math concepts and pass mainstream courses and standardized tests” (469). Their goals were accomplished by having close working relationships with the students and coaching them individually and in writing workshops.
Researchers found that students almost always understood the general concepts of what was going on in SAE, and could explain/ discuss it in their dialect, but because of difficulties with vocabulary, could not get into specific issues. Researchers indicated that teachers, especially teacher-trainees, need to recognize that there are various dialects in English. These dialects, rather than being a problem in the classroom, can be used to facilitate student learning. Thus, teachers should encourage code-switching in the classroom.

Discussion
Problems
The size of the study group was greatest problem that arose consistently throughout the articles reviewed. In most cases, the groups were far too small to make generalizations. One factor contributing to this may well be that many of the studies were work-intensive; working with more students than a handful or a dozen could have resulted in an overwhelming work-load. Several of the studies were tiny: Arnfast had ten students total; Blake had a handful; Paniyioutou had ten subjects; Macaro worked with six teachers; Liebscher worked with twelve students. This low-count indicates the intense detail required from researchers, as well as the lack of funding for more personnel and resources.
As several researchers indicated, there was no way that their results could be generalized. Part of this stems from the very localized nature of their research; it also stems from the very small sizes of their study groups. Taken together, this indicates this field has a vast need for funds to undertake much larger studies. Until this is possible, researchers will be able to hoe short, independent rows of knowledge, but larger, more comprehensive comparisons, and results, will elude them.
Benefits
All is not lost, however. There were several studies which did use quite large bodies of informants. Hurtado took advantage of previous research undertaken by other individuals. One study he used had over 1,300 participants, another had over 900. He complimented this with his own study of 64 couples. Rolin’s study worked with four teachers and 150 students. Luna’s work rests between these tiny and larger study groups, having 105 people in part one, 56 in part two.
The apparent gap in large study groups appears to offer some hope, especially when considering the future of the profession. Instead of appearing as a closed of tomb of topics that have been researched two thousand times, codeswitching—and Applied Linguistics in general—can represent itself as a very young field with burgeoning research questions. Instead of driving people away with concerns about funding, or the sizes of small study groups, these traits could be used to recruit new teacher-scholars. Having more open fields to research, plenty of opportunities to duplicate studies, and even more chances to conduct research of their own and publish, the kinds of articles above can and should be pitched as a strength to the research world in general.
Analysis
The most useful and exciting aspect of these studies is their applicability. Unlike many articles I have read about ESL, composition, and L2 writing, many of these discussions about CS are by authors outside of North America, studying languages other than English. This is useful, for it facilitates considering whether or not aspects of CS are universal, or if they are linguistically or culturally specific. It is important to keep in mind that regardless of where the research took place, we can all benefit from the methods, theories, and results being discussed—no matter where they were initially undertaken. This enables future researchers to draw on a much broader base of research and experience.
As mentioned in the introduction, the breadth and depth of CS is impressive. Most fascinating, however, is the approach presented by Jorgensen (2003) in “languaging,” and its potential to be blended with Liebscher and Daily-O’Cain’s (2005) notion of Bilingualism as a norm.Rather than treating Bilingualism as a norm, this could enable “languaging” to be seen as a normative behavior. Instead of dividing up fields, it could enable a more fluid blending of borders and understanding.
One final comments demands being said: what with all the research into lingualism of all sorts, and codeswitching, I was rather astonished that I did not find an article wherein the article codeswitched within the text. On the one hand, I do see how this would violate discourse borders; on the other, it might well make their point very strongly. Perhaps this is something worth considering in the future of CS research.

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