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In linguistic, code-switching is switching between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multi-lingualspeople who speak more than one languagesometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety. Therefore, Code-switching may be defined as,

changing back and forth between two language varieties, especially in a

single conversation


Due to the educational system in our country, Pakistanis are the biggest code
switchers in the world. We can find so many examples from our surroundings related to code switching. During normal conversations, taking on phones, offices, schools, colleges, during travelling etc. we find people switches codes quite often. In order to further elaborate it lets take a situation of a lady calls me from customer care center of a bank requesting me to pay the credit call bills in


I said: Hello Lady: Assalamoailaum Madam, This is XXX from ABC Bank. I Said: Ok Lady: Madam aap nay abhe tak credit card ka bill pay nahien kia. I am afraid agar aap nay in time bill payment nahien ke to aap ka account block kar dia jayya ga. I said: I have a request agar aap ka bank allow karay to. Lady: Yes Madam please kahiayay. I said: If possible main bill next month pay kadoun. This month main zara paisay ke shortage main

Lady: Ok Madam. Main aap ke request forward kar deti houn. But aap ko extra charges pay karnay houn gay along with your current bill. I said: How much taqreeban? Lady: It will be 2.5 %. I said: Ok. Main next month pay kardoun ge. Thank you very much. Lady: You are most welcome madam. Apna khial rakhiaya ga. Allah Hafiz.

I have personally observed students during class switch codes quite often. For example; Madam May I go to wash room. Jaldi aa jaoun ga promise. Madam aaj class strength buhat kam hai please class off kar dain. Madam aap nay jo 2nd line main likha hai it is not clear. Madam thora sa side main ho jaen so that I can note down the lecture from the board. Madam please thore loud bolain I cant hear you. etc etc.


Researchers have listed in their articles a few possible conditions for code switching. Some of the conditions given are, lack of one word in either language Some activities have only been experienced in one of the languages Some concepts are easier to express in one of the languages A misunderstanding has to be clarified One wishes to create a certain communication effect

One wants to make a point

One wishes to express group solidarity One wishes to exclude another person from the dialogue.

to communicate more effectively

Most Frequent motivation for code-switching can be well explained with the help of following charts. Conceptual Lexicon Some experiences have only To convey Communication been experienced in one of
To ease communication, i.e. utilizing the shortest and easiest route to communicate more effectively to establish goodwill and support One wishes to create a certain communication effect One wishes to exclude another person from the dialogue

the languages A misunderstanding has to be clarified habitual experience Semantic significance

Interlocution Emphasis

To capture attention i.e. stylistic, emphatic, emotional To emphasize a point One wants to make a point To emphasize a point To attract attention

To appeal to the literate To appeal to the illiterate To close the status gap One wishes to express group solidarity To show identity with a group To address a different audience

precise meaning To communicate more effectively To negotiate with greater authority Some concepts are easier to express in one of the language Lack of facility Lack of appropriate register

Code-switching is meaningful in the same way that choice of style in a short story is meaningful, and it is quite natural in many multicultural communities, where it becomes a register in its own right, a mode of expression in many informal situations, applied to avoid defining the social situation in terms of either language and culture.