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April 15, 2013

More On Code-Switching

Code switching is a term to describe how we shift our tone, vocabulary and grammar when we...

...speak or write to different people.

We may speak in a more formal and precise manner to an authority figure - a parent, boss or supervisor for example - and we are likely to speak to a friend (or other familiar person) in a much less formal and practiced way.

I've noticed as I write different things (blogs, poetry,columns and book reviews for example) especially aimed at different audiences, I find myself embracing and using completely different attitudes and styles.

Sometimes my tone is serious, sometimes probing and sometimes snarky and sarcastic.

As you participate in conversations (or notice dialog in films or on TV) try to listen for what is going on between the spoken words.

In a very real sense, we are creating our own language as we use it. Do you find yourself, or those around you, using certain stock phrases like 'Goodness Gracious' or "OMG"?

There are many phrases like these - some best suitable for very specific audiences and contexts.

In a professional setting, or where you want to be taken seriously, be sure to monitor your vocabulary and style - and talk like a grown-up - not like a child.

Here is a further exploration of this idea with ample opportunities for discussion - http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/.

If you are not finding the study of English confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing, you're just not looking closely enough.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing, constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

Also: If you'd like to have Morf visit your school or program this summer, you can contact him at mmorf(at)mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at April 15, 2013 11:19 AM

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