Code-Switching

Code-Switching

Sunday, November 12, 2017
| Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

Multilingual people switch linguistic "codes" easily as they move from one language to another. In this text, the aging Joshua is concerned about casual switching around with moral and religious "codes."

Last year, a high school student from Milan, Italy, spent a semester in Phoenix, Arizona, in a program experienced by thousands of students every year -- a high school foreign exchange program. His name was Pierluigi, and he lived with a host family which included two high school students, a brother and a sister.

Pierluigi got along with both Jason and Holly, the siblings. But he found that he spent more time with Holly than Jason.

The reason? Pierluigi and Holly enjoyed code-switching together.

They didn't express it that way, but it was code-switching nonetheless. Holly was in her third year studying Italian. And Pierluigi already had a good mastery of English. When Holly spoke to Pierluigi in Italian, she had to switch linguistic codes to do so. The same applied to Pierluigi when he spoke to Holly in English. They both enjoyed communicating in another language and being understood.

They'd become pretty good at code-switching.

The phrase comes from the study of linguistics, and it's...


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