What Is Code Switching And What Does It Do In Language

What is code switching. This question have been frequently asked by many language students.This article will highlights the types of code switching,why we need switching the code, and concludes valuable suggestions for teachers and language students.

 Human beings cannot be separated from the language. Language always plays an important role as a means of communication. In the process of communication, there is highly need that the speakers use language differently. For example, a person whose nationality is Indonesian, when talking with foreign tourists will speak the English language, but when he speaks his fellow Indonesian he will automatically change his linguistic choices. Such condition in linguistics is called bilingual / multilingual. This interactive contact between the two languages is the emergence of code mixing and code switching.​​

Definition of code switching:

It is simply the use of more than one language with different codes. These codes are varied by style, variety and different mix discourses.

Code switching is the event of exchanging mix language codes in a multilingual society.

In linguistics code switching is the practice between two languages according to the context setting of given conversation. For example In English as a second language learning class a teacher can use his native language words for to convince the students about the topic.

What Is Code Switching And What Does It Do In Language

Why speakers need switching the code:

According to recent research, Transfer of code between two different languages is because:

  • The presence of a third person.
  • Transfer of topics from the non-technical to the technical.
  • The shift of the atmosphere of speech.
  • Wants to be considered educated.
  • Wants to keep a distance.
  • Avoid from repetition.
  • Citing the speech of others.
  • To enjoy the taste of conversation.
  • The partner of speech more easily.
  • Shows that it is not the first language is in conversation.
  • First, the speaker or speakers.

What Is Code Switching,1o Real Things You Must Know.

Person to Person:

Many speakers transfer the code to pursue an interest. For example, in a government office, many guests are changing the code into the local language when conversing with the people. It will be about standard, people will change the code according to persons to person example, a district head who came into the mayor’s office and They will speak to the mayor with a way to transfer the standard code.

Second, listeners/ hearer:

Normally, a speaker tries to understand the opponent’s ability. For example, a flower seller will transfer the code into a foreign language to entice the buyers (tourists). Thus, smooth communication is established and the tourist purchased merchandise.

Third person

Third, the situation changes because of the presence of a third person . This can be seen in the example case of Rani and Agri doing over the code because of the arrival Yudi is not with their mother.

Fourth, a formal change to the informal or otherwise . For example, we can look at the case intellectuals when being faced by lecturers in the lecture hall.

 Change of subject.

 Change the subject can also be the cause of the code switching. The following example is a conversation between directors with the secretary in an office.

Secretary: It is, sir. I already equipped with the attachment files.

Director: Well, you can go home. Uh, how’s your son? Already healthy?

Secretary: Alhamdulillah, sir. Passable. Thanks fruits yesterday yes, sir.

Director: Ah, spurious wrote. From my wife, really.

Sense of Humor

This is  usually done with the different a way of speaking. This code is often used by teachers, the leader, and comedians. They try to intimate a sense of humor for refreshing the goal.

 Seventh, to simply prestigious , although the factors of the situation, the speaker, topic, and socio-situational not expect any code switching, going over the code, so that it looks coercion, unnatural, and tend to be communicative.

What Is Code Switching And What Does It Do In Language

Things you must understand about  what is code switching:

  • It is different from pidgin and Carole:
  • People only use code switching when they are both fluent in both language.
  • It is different from code mixing, because it is real spoken usages in real context.
  • It indicates the social group position and describes the relationship between them.
  • It is the way of creating social situation in multilingual society.

Real Types of code switching:

What Is Code Switching And What Does It Do In Language

Metaphorically Code

 Metaphorical code switching happens if there is a change of subject. For example, X and Y are friends in the office, they usually using official language, after finishing office affairs; they then change their topic of conversation about one of the people they knew. This situation occurs with the change of language which they do by using the local language. This example illustrates how the code switching occurs in a conversation situation.

Situational Code

Rather situational code is the code switching that occurs under situations where the speakers realize that they speak a certain language in a given situation and other languages ​​in other situations. In this code switching occurs no change in topic.

 Transfer Internal Code

Rather internal code is the code switching that took place between their own languages, such as from the Indonesian to the Java language, or vice versa.

 Transfer of External Code

Rather external code is the code switching that occurred between languages ​​(one language or variety that exists in the public) with a foreign language. Examples: Indonesian to Japanese, or vice versa.


Code switching and code-mixing is a phenomenon that commonly occurs in a multilingual society which uses two or more languages.70% Code switching is happened in second language and it can be successful tool in classroom teaching. Hymes states that it is not only just divide between languages, but also occur between a wide-variety and styles contained in one language.

On the other hand the linguistic functions determine the extent to which the language is used by the speaker. A speaker who knows many languages ​​will have the opportunity to mix the code than the other speakers, who only know one or two languages .But that does not mean that speakers who speak more languages ​​are always more mixed code

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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