Q1 Benchmark : Code Switching

The role of the individual in systems is to understand their surrounding how to act accordingly.

The definition of code switching according to Dictionary.com is “ the alternate use of two or more languages or varieties of language, especially within the same discourse“ Code switching is when you change the way you talk based on the atmosphere of people around you. Code switching can be done by anyone without you even knowing. When you introduce yourself to someone the first thing you look at is how they address themselves or how they present themselves to you. For some people code switching is a social thing. Meaning they feel obligated to do so without being judged  based or misunderstood.

Saturday mornings I take a STEM - Program called Urban Youth Naval Engine Program. This is a 22 week program for students from grade 9 -12, encouraging students to pursue a career in the science, technology, engineering and or mathematics field. Within my 22 weeks of attending this program, I met a person by the name of Mr. Chuck. He looked liked a normal man, about 5’7½’’, mid 50’s. He was a laid back, cool guy. When he introduced his self he said “ Hey what’s up my name is Chuck Williams! “ No big fancy title just plain old Mr.Chuck. As he began to talk he told the class about his childhood. He would talk he would use the words “ yo” and “yea”, informal language.

Informal language can be described as abbreviated language,  such as “slang”. Your informal language is spoken around the people you know and are comfortable with. At  times when you code switch you  catch yourself doing it without even knowing it because you are a custom too it. For example when you talk to your friends you greet each other with a “hey”, “wassup” or even “yo”. When you ask for something you “say pass me the...“ or “get me this and that.” Its like you’re asking for something but you’re not really asking, you’re telling.

The definition of language according to Dictionary.com is “ a body of words and the systems for their use common to people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition.” Language is a form of communication. No matter where you are around the world, there will always be a language you have to adapt to. When you are born one of the first things you are taught is a language. Whether it is formal language or informal language.

Formal language is proper english.  You tend to speak formal language when you are talking to someone of high power, like a teacher or principal.  When you are in school you tend to be accustom to using formal language. Your formal language is a form of politeness. Words such as “please” and “thank you” would be an example.

While listening to Mr. Chuck, he then formally introduced himself as Dr. Charles “Chuck” Williams. Ph.D. I was highly surprised because of how he presented his self. This man dressed with jean shorts, a hoodie, and a fitted hat cocked to the side would be a doctor. He told his how he struggled being in a single parent home.

Is code switching good or bad ?

When you are in a professional setting, you code switch. When you apply for a job you have to go to a interview so they can evaluate you in person. When you introduce yourself as any individual, you say “Hello my name is..”, you wouldn’t say “Wassup my name is ..”. Your goal is to set a good impression on the person who is interviewing you so you show that you are qualified for the job. By a person code switching there are able to change their way of language to have effect one person. Code switching is not a bad thing, because you’re goal is to leave abbreviate impression about your self.

The average teenager I would say code switches like I do. Text message “language” is almost code switching. You abbreviate formal words to make them short and easy to understand.  The way we speak to our friends will never be the way we speak to our parents. If we did it, it would be to a certain point but never go overboard with the way we lead into a conversation.

What is the relationship between language and power?

The relationship between language and power is strong. You could know every language in the word and have to power. You could have all the power and only know one language. The objective is to have your voice be heard and understood through many of languages. It is ideal to learn more than one language in life. Throughout Pennsylvania every high schooler in the Philadelphia School District has to take a mandatory two years of spanish. I think this is encouraged because as you grow older and mature you begin to meet new people from all over. The key lesson that is being too here is communication. As long as you can communicate with someone in some shape or form that is the power to your language between one another.  

What might the language you use say about yourself ?

The language I use would say about me is that I code switch when needed. A conversation between a friend and I would be informal because we are kids we see each other as a equal level of authority. We value each other the same because we are equal. However  if I were to be texting my mom it would be in a different mind state because she is of higher authority than I am. I believe I code switch because in general the way you talk is how people will identify you. If you ever go into a line up room when you under arrest, you are identified by appearance and voice.

In conclusion to this personal essay I would agree that every person sometime in there life has code switched before. You will never know you do so unless someone is telling you that you did it or you have someone record you.

Work Cited