Code Switching is a new term I'm hearing, although it's not new. We all do it.
The way you speak to your friends is different than the way you speak to your boss, right? That's code switching. You're changing not only your words, but posture, attitude and attention. This phenomenon of switching from the native language and the foreign language is especially seen in multilingual and multicultural communities to make communication more effective and meaningful. This language shift can be done by adding words in the other language at the end of a sentence, within the sentence or the insertion of a "tag" word from one language to the other.
Think about times when you use it or hear it. Are you conscious while you're doing it? Does this ability to "code switch" impact your life or your career? Certainly! We all do it, especially when and if it benefits us. Could "accent modification" be seen as "code switching?" I think so.
There are many reasons to "code switch." Let's talk about a few of them.
1. To compensate for a deficiency in communication: Perhaps, when you can't express yourself as easily or effectively in the foreign language, you switch to your native language. This occurs more often when you're upset, tired, distracted or simply can't find the "word." This allows you to continue the communication, however it may have a negative effect on mastering fluency in the second language.
2. To express solidarity with a particular social group or ethnic identity: You speak to connect with the listener and convey attitude and emotion. You do it to "fit in" and be a part of that cultural group. You share a common bond, your language serves as an advantage.
3. In some situations, "code switching" is used intensionally to exclude a person from a conversation. You both speak a shared language and leave the listener out. This can create problems because mutual intelligibility is not possible.
Watch the video below for a "life or death" use of "code switching."