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Code Switching

by lesliealmaraz


Code switching is when you change the way or the language you speak depending on the people around you. Sometimes it is out of respect, and at other times it is because the other person does not speak the language you were previously speaking. Sometimes people code switch without being aware of it but it is because we have been doing this for so long that our brain does it. Schools require kids to code switch because, one, you have a different level of respect for your teachers than you do for your friends and in the future, you are going to have to talk to very important people, that being your professors to important businessmen, so code switching is something you will need to learn to do.

Being at school is different than being at home. There is different people, rules, and expectations. Certainly, the way you act at home, maybe even the language you speak in, is different than the way you act at school. The reason why schools require you to code switch is because there if you don’t, it may cost you the job you are applying to, the college you have been looking forward to, you may offend someone and get into serious trouble. But the main reason why the require kids to code switch is because teachers expect a certain level of respect that is usually not shown on other situations and kids need to start practicing that now. The article The Whens and Wheres of Code Switching and Talking Back states,” So Standard American English, or at least a wholehearted stab at it, was pulled out for job interviews, classroom discussions, speaking to and in front of White folks and other situations that called for “talking proper.” This quote proves that people speak a different way when they are at school because it’s the proper way and is the same way you should present yourself for job interviews and important situations in your life. People need to code switch to the proper way to talk which is not native to some people depending on where they are from, meaning they need to code switch. The article also states, “The concept of code switching was foreign to at least five of them and clearly, the thought of being obligated to speak in one manner with the people they love and are most comfortable with and another in front of a group of complete strangers—college administrators and educators, at that—never crossed their minds.” This quote means that schools should teach students and obligate them to code switch because if they are not taught this, they might lose an incredible opportunity due to the fact that they were “disrespectful” or “unprofessional.” If you don’t believe schools should require for students to code switch, then what would you happen speak to your college professors the same way you did with your friends? It wouldn’t be very professional of you. This is why schools require you to code switch because you are practicing for the future.

In conclusion, the sole reason why schools require you to code switch is because in the future, code switching will allow you to present yourself well with everyone. Code switching at school is crucial because there is different levels of importance that are established in there. Even if you do act differently with different kinds of people, it allows you to keep your circle big and have many opportunities. Because people change the way they talk or how they talk, this proves that code-switching does happen. Code switching allows you to have fun at certain times and be professionally with others. Code switching at school is crucial because there is different levels of importance that are established in there. 


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Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:24 pm
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aulyasela3597 wrote a review...



It opens up many opportunities for the code-switcher. These opportunities are primarily through the expanded set of possible relationships that the code-switcher can form— personal, professional, romantic, etc. Without a common language and mutual cultural understanding, strong relationships are difficult to create. A code-switcher can exist harmoniously and be successful in several different cultural contexts— helpful in so many ways.




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Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:16 pm
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi there Leslie! Niteowl here to review your essay.

Overall, this feels like it was a school assignment, but I can't quite tell what your teacher was looking for, which makes it hard to critique. However, doing some basic research, I'm not sure this essay really conveys what "code-switching" is and people's reasons for using it.

Code-switching primarily seems to refer to the use of two different languages mixed together. For example, mixing Spanish and English in the same sentence, or using two different dialects of the same language (this is what you seem to be focusing on, and what the article you cite refers to).

Some things I would work on in this essay

1) Citing sources, quoting quotes, and explaining how these quotes support your position. First off, you mis-spelled the article name--it's "Talking Black", not "Talking Back". These are very different concepts so be careful. Secondly, I had to look up the article here to understand the quotes you pulled. I shouldn't have to do this. You don't have to put the full title of the article in the paragraph (this should be in a bibliography at the end), but you should provide some context (e.g. this is an African-American woman talking about her personal experience with herself and other black people code-switching between "Black English" and standard English).

I would also ask yourself: Do you want to focus solely on "Black English" vs. "Standard English", or do you want to make this broadly about code-switching? If the former, I would state that in your thesis and find other sources focusing on that sub-topic. If the latter, I would find other examples of code-switching (between different languages, for example) and talk about why people use those (Here is an NPR article giving other examples and reasons for code-switching).

2) You you you. This essay is written in the second person, which feels very informal and not how an academic essay should be written. I would go through and try to replace every "you" with a third person pronoun or noun. For example,

Certainly, the way you act at home, maybe even the language you speak in, is different than the way you act at school.


could be rewritten as:

Certainly, the way people act at home, maybe even the language they speak, is different from how they act at school.

3) There's quite a few grammatical errors in here. I would especially watch "there is", which should be "there are" when plural. However, I won't go through this with a fine-toothed comb, as I feel I've gone on long enough. If you want grammar help, I can do that, but I would focus on the broader issues with this essay first.

Overall, I think you could have a great essay if you defined your focus, used multiple sources, and explained your quotes better. Keep writing! :)




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Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:36 pm
Costa wrote a review...



Hm, I confess that I never quite gave thought to this since, with age, it just becomes downright natural to let context dictate the way to address people. Not a bad read.

Still, I think some editing would help get the point across more efficiently. For instance:

Schools require kids to code switch because, one, you have a different level of respect for your teachers than you do for your friends and in the future, you are going to have to talk to very important people, that being your professors to important businessmen, so code switching is something you will need to learn to do.


The reason why schools require you to code switch is because there if you don’t, it may cost you the job you are applying to, the college you have been looking forward to, you may offend someone and get into serious trouble.


These two quotes are, overall, stating the same thing so you could simply condense them together. Furthermore, if you're going to enumerate things, don't stop at "one" and leave the "two" and whatnot simply implied.
Finally, be concise with your reasoning, as the more words you use, the easier it is for the reader to lose your train of thought.

To use the above quotes as an example, take a look at this:

Schools require kids to code switch because different people require different levels of respect when being addressed. For instance, you will be talking to people in the future, such as college professors and businessmen, where a lack of proper code switching could mean your application being denied or someone being offended.

That's about 40-ish% smaller while still retaining your point. Essays are all about explaining your take on the subject as concisely as possible, so make sure you don't drag on.

Lastly, the way you cited that book needs improving. When indicating the title of a work, make sure it's between quotation marks and always indicate, at least, the author:

The article "The Whens and Wheres of Code Switching and Talking Back" by Janelle Harris states: ”So, Standard American English, or at least a wholehearted stab at it, was pulled out for job interviews, classroom discussions, speaking to and in front of white folks and other situations that called for “talking proper.””.

I don't think an essay will require things like date of publication and web address/magazine number but that's up to your teacher. If need be, you can set that information at the end of the essay under a "Sources Cited" section.

Good luck!





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