Language Autobiography

Introduction/Reflection: For Mr. Blocks English class, we had a unit on language. For the benchmark, we had to write a paper about ourselves, a language autobiography. I chose to write about how code switching plays a roll in my life. I felt the need to pick that one because that topic had always seemed to come up a lot in my life. Whether it was discussed by several different teachers, or my family had mentioned it to me. Starting to write this paper, was difficult at first. Although the topic popped into my mind right away, I wasn’t sure what to right. I felt like I didn’t have a certain way I spoke, or anything unique about  my language. Once I got started, I understood how to wright it.


Language is what makes a person who they are. There are many different ways to communicate, and show who you are. It can be deeper then just learning other languages and trying to talk to others. Some talk in slang, others talk formally. People talk different ways to different people, and that is called code switching. When it comes to code switching, everyone does it. Like myself, I talk to my teachers at school a different way than I talk to my friends, or brother. I think it is important to be able to code switch. You’re not going to talk the same way to a person who is interviewing you for a job.

“Karly! Come upstairs and clean your room!”

“Ugh, Mom.” I peel my clammy hand from the side of my face, and slide myself off the leather bench.

“Mom, my room is clean!”

“Just take your dirty clothes off from your bed and into the laundry.”

“Alright fine. Are we going to my class tonight?”

“I’m don’t think we should go…it’s raining and I don’t want to get stuck in traffic.”

“Okay, sounds fine. I have a bit of homework tonight anyway

“Well, get started! I’ll call you down in an hour for dinner.”

Code switching is important in my life, and also necessary. I can’t act the same way I do towards my teacher, as I would to my younger brother. My friends and I talk a lot more casual, and not caring. I can curse in front of them, and tell them personal things. It’s necessary to code switch because you wouldn’t want to act rude towards your teacher, even if you don’t mean it. When I do model auditions, I need to talk professionally, and use formal English, so that they see the kind of person they want for a job. In that field, you have to be more professional. The way I talk towards my friends, expressing my real personality.

“Hey Kar, gimme some of that.”

“Sara, no. I’m hungry.”

“But but…My tummy ”



We both start bursting laughing, while trying to stay somewhat quiet. I begin trying to focus on my reading assignment, when I notice a hand out of the corner of my eye reaching into my bag again.

                      “Sara!” She looks over at me with a big smile on her face. “I’m almost done reading, how far are you?”

                      “Yeah buddy, I, I think I’ll do it later, hahaha.”

                      “Okay, well you have fun with that weirdo.”

                      “I will. Oh my gosh, so like my Mom is making me do my laundry, even though I have all this work! Ugh, she gets on my nerves. My cat is my only friend!”

                      “Sara, what about me!?”

                      “Ya, well my cat always lays down next to me on my bed. But, then she leaves me...hahahaha.”

“Oh, Sara...”                 

               My friends and I always have casual conversations, and I can show who I am, without having to act a certain way towards them. Towards different friends, I may not be as crazy as I would to some. Although they may be my age, I don’t think I would want to act my crazy self towards everyone.

One of the essays that related to my story was “Mother Tongue.” In the story, the Mom speaks broken English, so her daughter talks for her a lot. She answers the phone for her with business calls. No one takes the mother seriously in the story. Towards the end, the daughter soon realizes that her Mom is her Mom, and she’ll love her no matter what. At one point, her situation relates to mine. The daughter has to code switch when she talks towards her friends, and then towards her mother. On the first page, she’s talking about the languages she speaks in. “...all the forms of standard English that I had learned in school and through books, the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother.” She says that she uses a different form of English towards her mother, which is code switching.

Code switching is used in our everyday lives. It can be used for good, or bad. I see people use it all the time. It can be very useful when talking to people of different powers.