Code Switching Research Paper

966 Words4 Pages
Code-switching an language attrition of Italian immigrants into English

Use of two or more languages within a conversation is very common among immigrants. This phenomena of shifting from one code to another is called code-switching and is often categorized under language attrition by many authors (Bois 8). There is, however, an appreciable difference and thus it is essential to make a distinction between them. First language attrition is a loss of a native language, caused in most cases by living abroad and speaking another language instead. This paper focuses on the Italians who emigrated in 20th century to English- speaking countries and on how it influenced their native language. The process of forgetting is then automatically related
…show more content…
The latter is of special relevance to the code-switching. Inke Du Bois researched Americans living in Germany and interestingly, those who had a very little contact with other Americans, used code-switching less then people who were linked to the American community there (12). More explanations of this phenomenon occur. Those who more or less on a regular basis talk to other migrants living in the same country change codes unconsciously. Whereas the isolated ones are not used to mixing languages (Myers Scotton 203). However, lexical attrition of a first language is more common in this group. Alternative explanation would be attempting to converge to a particular group, in this case the American community, which has its own unique ‘code’. Thus, in terms of cohesion subjects would use the same spoken variety (Gumperz…show more content…
According to Adina Nergesh, shifting to another language attracts attention of audience and thus the idea presented gains in importance (17). In the following example, the speaker is explaining in Italian why English 'sounds better' and is intentionally code-switching the part of a speech, which is related to the main topic of discourse to highlight his opinion:

‘’- non mi piace parlarlo tanto, perché sai ... IT DOESN’T SOUND AS GOOD AS ENGLISH RIGHT, SO,… provo di non parlarlo
-I don’t like to speak it that much, because you know ... it does- n’t sound as good as English, right, so ... I try not to speak it '' (Haller 169).

All the examined interviews were collected in a formal setting under researcher’s observation and many immigrants who were asked to use their native language (Italian), code-switched, also due to language attrition. Hence it might be drawn that similar mixed language form is used on a daily basis (Schmid 124). Long- term studies show that monolingual (Italian) discussions in immigrants environment are uncommon as most of the times English terms and phrases are put into the Italian speech (Bois
Open Document