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Code-switching

More and more people are growing up bilingual. They can speak more than one language. Many of these people often switch languages. They decide which language to use depending on the situation. For example, they speak a different language at work than at home. By doing so, they adapt themselves to their environment. But there is also the possibility of switching languages spontaneously. This phenomenon is called code-switching. In code-switching, the language gets switched in the middle of speaking. There could be many reasons why speakers switch languages. Often, they don't find the appropriate word in one language. They can express themselves better in the other language. It can also be that the speaker feels more confident in one of the languages. They use this language for private or personal things. Sometimes a certain word doesn't exist in a language. In this case the speaker must switch languages. Or they switch languages so that they aren't understood. In that case code-switching works like a secret language. Earlier, mixing languages was criticized. It was thought that the speaker couldn't speak either language correctly. Today it is viewed differently. Code-switching is recognized as a special linguistic competence. It can be interesting to observe speakers using code-switching. Often, they don't just switch the language they're speaking. Other communicative elements change as well. Many speak faster, louder or more accentuated in the other language. Or they suddenly use more gestures and facial expressions. In this way, code-switching is always a little bit of culture-switching too…

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