Value of Codeswitching in an Interaction

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MZUZU UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF EDUCATION

DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE

TO : MR NTHALA

FROM : ELEANOR MACHESO (BAE/2A/53/09)

COURSE CODE: EEN 4703

COURSE TITLE: LANGUAGE CONTACT AND BILINGUALISM

QUSTION : EXPLAIN THE VALUE OF CODE SWITCHING AMONG BILINGUALS IN TRANSACTION

DUE DATE : 6th MAY 2013

In linguistics, code switching is changing between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety. According to Weinreich (1953), in the 1940s and 1950s, many scholars considered code-switching to be a sub-standard use of language. Since the 1980s, however, most scholars have recognised it is a normal, natural product of bilingual and multilingual language use. With this recognition in mind, Muysken (2005), states that switching is not an isolated phenomenon but rather a central part of bilingual discourse. With regards to this view, this essay will examine the value of code switching among bilinguals in transaction.

There are a number of different reasons why people code switch and thus code switching holds value for bilinguals. Firstly, during a transaction, code switching is of value because it can be used by bilinguals to show identity with a group. For example, (Di Pietro,1977) reports that Italian immigrants would tell a joke in English and give the punch line in Italian, not only because it is better said in Italian but also to stress the fact that they all belong to the same minority group, with shared values and experiences. Very often, people code switch both consciously and unconsciously to act or talk more like those around them....
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