Code-switching refers to alternating between one or more languages or dialects. It also occurs within a particular language. We use different forms of expression depending on the person we are speaking to and where we are speaking to that person. There are different degrees of formality and informality. Would you say that the idea of code-switching exists in your first language? If so, would you consider yourself to be a “code switcher”?
Many times in English there is more than one way of pronouncing. Some people whose first language is English decide how they are going to speak by the context within which they are speaking. What they take into consideration is the degree of formality or informality in a particular circumstance. People don’t make too much of a conscious decision about this. It more or less just happens. Some people don’t often use informal or colloquial forms of pronunciation; however, they are prevalent within the English language amongst people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Understanding informal and colloquial pronunciation as compared to more careful, formal and “standard” English pronunciation is part of obtaining a better understanding and awareness of the English language. As an English language learner, you need not feel obliged to speak using informal and colloquial pronunciation, but understanding this form of pronunciation better might help you to hear and comprehend English sounds better.
"We were alert to the gap separating the written word from the colloquial." I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (Chapter 29)
Well, in my mother tongue, Kurdish, the case is like English. Mainly word choice and, sometimes, different accents determine your level of formality and informality.
I can speak Farsi too; it's different. In Farsi, they have two forms of language: written and spoken. You may say the same thing with the same words in the two different forms:
Written: Mikhaaham beravam
Spoken: Mikhaam beram
If you use written form when speaking, it sounds old and dramatic! It's like Br.E. in American films, when they want to show a character from the old Gothic ages.
By the way, how's your feeling about Br.E. and Am.E.? Please reply in 'British or American?'
By ExK in forum Ask a Teacher
Last Post: 11-Oct-2003, 20:25
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