The Change Up

​The Change Up

“You need to go get buckets! It’s all about buckets!” I yelled at Jaaz.

“Haneef I get buckets.” Jaaz replied.

“Yea Yea that’s what they all say, I’ll believe it when I see it.” I responded.

 My friends and I create different meanings to words and use slang, to us what we’re saying makes sense, but to a person who doesn’t know the lingo they’ll probably be confused. This is one of my many “languages”. I speak basketball. There are times when knowing different languages is beneficial, like when trying to understand people different people and there also times where this language is not necessary like in the business world or when speaking to adults where this informal language would not be accepted. Being around a language long enough, it’ll begin to become something you’re accustomed to. Outsiders to any language, like people around you may begin to understand the language and maybe begin to use it themselves. My little sister proved this to me. One day when I waked in the house after one of my basketball games my little sister approached me and she said,


“Were you frying today??”

 “Pause, do you even know what frying is?” I responded

“No Haneef.” She said in a sarcastic tone and smirk on her face

“Don’t get smart with me little girl!” I yelled “ And how do you even know what frying is? Where did you learn this, because I know I didn’t teach it to you.”

“I may be six, but I not slow. I heard you nd your friends say it so many times that I jus figured it out.” She said.

“Ehhh whatever I’m going to my room.”

In the book, From the Borderlands, by Glona Anzonldína it was said that,

“Some of the languages we speak are:

1. Standard English

2. Working class and slang English

3. Standard Spanish

4. Standard Mexican Spanish

5. North Mexican Spanish dialect

6. Chicano Spanish (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California have regional variations)

7. Tex Mex

8. Pachuco (called caló)”

 All of the languages mentioned in the small passage above were learned by first being around them due to the family’s constant movement. Each language learned was the norm of that environment and was imperative to learn in order to succeed in that environment. One of my many languages is the one I use when with my friends. This language sounds completely different than with my parents or at a job interview. It’s code switching. This code switching is necessary in order to be respectful, succeed in the business world, and to hold a good reputation with elders; i.e. teachers and other adults. When speaking with my friends I don’t tend to use “proper English”, mostly because I don’t have to and also because different environments require different things in order to be successful.

A perfect example of this is probably is in the person reading this essay, just think. When with your parents think about how you act compared to when you’re with your friends, and then compare both of those to the you act when with your coworkers or classmates and boss or any figure authority. Slang is something that I grew up around, and so it came naturally. Now that I’m older, in different situations I am able to talk “proper” in order to do what society thinks it the right. Whereas in an informal environment it’s the complete opposite, I can speak “improper” without any consequences.  

Everybody is raised in a different environment than the next. I’m proud of the way I was raised. The area I grew up in may have effect my “language”. But due to societies need for perfection, my language or what society would call a flaw is hidden under the mask of the persona I use in order to succeed in this world. This is Code switching. Everyone does it; whether it’s to try to succeed in this world by doing what society say is good. Or in interest of being respectful to elders because maybe the way you interact with your friends is not acceptable around adults. Either way, code switching is necessary for any person who believes they want to succeed in more than one environment during their adolescent and adult lives. But when code switching the world will never see the real you. So the choice is for you to make. Either code switch to have a chance to make something of your life in this world, or be yourself in every environment, rebel against the norms of society with the risk of not becoming successful in life.