Code Switching in Literature

  • Code switching results from a conscious decision to promote the validity of the author's heritage language. Encouraging students to promote the validity of their mother language may improve second language acquisition and proficiency.
  • Originally "Spanglish" and other forms of bilingual code-switching was viewed as an inferior mode of communication. Many educators now view code-switching as beneficial because it promotes language proficiency in learners who may have been deficient or even illiterate in the mother language.

  • Additionally, teaching heteroglossia, which is the existence of two or more voices within a text, esp. conflicting discourses within a linguistic activity as between the narrative voice and the characters in a novel, can be taught for the benefit of viewing literary figures from the lens of sociolinguistic character analysis. This technique may also help students become more comfortable with writing dialogue that is useful for subtly delivering expository information to it's audience while considering what judgments readers make about certain language choices. There are many lessons that can be taught through code-switching.

  • Not only can the speakers avail themselves of the resources of both languages, but they can add meaning by choosing when and in what situations to change languages.

  • Vigotsky (1962), the Russian Linguist, strested that being able to express the same thought in more than one language enabled a child to compare and contrast two language systems and that this allowed a greater cognitive-metalinguistic awareness.
  • Peal and Lambert (1985) famously conducted a study that discovered that 10 year old Canadian students, bilingual children from Montreal schools, performed better than their matched monolingual peers on verbal IQ test scores. This study overturned earlier notions that bilingual children are some how cognitively disadvantaged

Juan Bruce-Novoa (1982) writes about how expression in two
intermixing languages transcends what cannot be expressed by either language
alone: ‘The mixing of two languages I call interlingualism, because the two
languages are put into a state of tension which produces a third, an ‘‘inter’’
possibility of language.