NYT Idea of the Day: Code Switching

  • I grew up in the American South, with its distinctive slow-spoken accent known for dropped word endings and monosyllabic words often drawn out into multisyllabic ones. (“Is it fixin’ to raaaaaaain? Way-ull DAAAAY-UM.”)

    I never knew there was a name for the phenomenon called Code Switching. Here’s One sentence from a New York Times article that started me thinking.

    “Code-switching refers to ways that people — often people of color — alter their speech, dress or behavior around people of other races.”

    Having heard more than a few politicians visiting my native South and altering their speech patterns to ours in an attempt to fit in, I would suggest that the above definition is too narrow in its limits, and should include changing speech or behavior around people not just of other races but of other cultures.

    Have you ever noticed anyone code switching? Have you ever done it yourself?

  • When I lived in Spain in the nineties , my boss always said that i did it.

    I certainly didn't do it on purpose but he always said when I got on the plane to fly from Madrid to Malaga , my accent changed.

    Maybe it was because I learned my Spanish there originally....

    When we got the plane back to Madrid , he always said , ' Good to see your accent is back to normal again."