Code Switching

Topics: Multilingualism, Second language, Spanish language Pages: 8 (2809 words) Published: December 4, 2005
Code switching is a surviving skill that some bilingual people and students encompass, sometimes to compensate for the lack of vocabulary in a certain language. It is defined as language alteration between two languages, transferring from one language to another in the course of a conversation (Brice, p. 10) In the teaching field code-switching has a great importance because it can be used by teachers or students in story telling to aid interaction, comprehension, and classroom participation, since the development of literacy requires comprehension narrative, and vocabulary skills, code-switching offers help in this aspect. For those who are bilingual especially in Spanish and English, code switching may be also called "Chiconics." This term is not widely know Chiconics it is positive for social interaction with those who share the same languages and culture, for those who are learning a second language the use of code-switching is very important to enhance meaning. The use of code-switching does not portray that the student is confused between two languages instead it let others see that they have knowledge of the two languages and or that they are attempting to learn the language. The use of code-switching has many positive uses for bilingual students who are attempting to learn a second language.

Some reasons for the use code switching can be due to the fact that some are not quite fluent in a particular language, and use it to aid with vocabulary they are unfamiliar with. Another reason could be when the speaker can converse in both languages but desires to use code-switching, wishes to express solidarity towards others (Skiba pg.1.) An example is when members of a community share a language to accomplish communicative functions.The use of code-switching has many positive uses for bilingual people and for those who are learning a second language. For those who are bilingual it is positive for social interaction with those who share the same language and culture, for those who are learning a second language the use of code-switching is very important to enhance meaning.

The use ofcode-switching does not portray that the person is confused between two languages; nevertheless it lets others see that the person has knowledge of the two languages or that the person is learning it. There is a great need for educators to view code-switching behavior as a positive aspect. Bilinguals who use code-switching have the remarkable skills to go back and forth between two languages to deepen conceptual understanding in the task of learning to read, speak, and write a second language.

However, the negative attitudes towards code-switching and bilingual programs have created a struggle for people who speak English as a second language or who are learning it. Those who oppose to code-switching, as mentioned in our classroom textbook, believe that code-switching is a linguistic deficiency bilingual people have; meaning that bilinguals are not well developed in either language that they use. Our classroom textbook also notes that such judgments are unconsciously woven in with judgments of the quality of the child's cultural background, and can result in lower expectations of the child's ability, which will turn lead to lower achievement by the child (Pg. 217). In schools bilingual children are generally assesses according to how well they can read and write in the Standard English. Those bilingual children who engage themselves in code-switching tend to be considered with less ability to master the Standard English, which "is a must" for academic success in the United States. But in order for students to maximize their learning and increase their chance for academic success, bilingual students should be allowed to use code-switching, because this might be their only linguistic and cultural support.

Laws have developed to banish the use of the first language in the classroom settings, and some states in the United...
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