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Code-mixing and code-switching are widespread phenomena in bilingual communities where speakers use their native tongue (L1) and their second language (L2) in different domains. The aim of this paper is to provide a complete overview over the phenomenon of code-switching and code-mixing. This paper presents why bilinguals mix two languages and switch back and forth between two languages and what triggers them to mix and switch their languages when they speak. The term of ‘code-switching’ (CS) refer to the alternate use of two or more languages in an extended stretch of discourse, where the switch takes place at sentence or clause boundaries. As many have pointed out, however, the term code-mixing it tends to attract negative associations, giving (especially lay readers) the value-loaded impression that ‘mixing’ languages is symptomatic of bad or pathological language behavior. A code may be a language or a variety or style of a language; the term code mixing emphasizes hybridization, and the term code-switching emphasizes movement from one language to another.

Key words: Code Switching, Code Mixing, English classroom


The aim of this paper is to provide a complete overview over the phenomenon of code-switching and code-mixing. This paper presents why bilinguals mix two languages and switch back and forth between two languages and what triggers them to mix and switch their languages when they speak. These bilingual phenomena are called ‘code-mixing’ and ‘code-switching’ and these are ordinary phenomena in the area of bilingualism. These phenomena occur when bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one language to another language.

Code-mixing and code-switching are widespread phenomena in bilingual communities where speakers use their native tongue (L1) and their second language (L2) in different domains. However, it is not always the case where each distinct language is exclusively used in one particular domain. In order to help bilingual kids not to be confused with two languages and not to be alienated in monolingual society, it is very critical to make both bilinguals and monolinguals familiar with codes witching and code-mixing. It would be much better for other people to know about certain bilingual phenomena and try to accept the bilingual phenomena naturally, so that they could see how much social and cultural aspects affect bilinguals’ language and learn how bilinguals and their monolingual interlocutors should lead to smooth conversation.

In a language contact situation, the process of code mixing, code switching and interference do take place. Code mixing is the intra-sentential switching whereas code switching is the inter-sentential switching. Language contact sometimes occurs when there is an increased social interaction between people who living as neighborhood and have traditionally spoken different languages. But more frequently it is initiated by the spread of languages of power and prestige. Faltis (1989).

This paper deals with “Code switching and Code Mixing” in English classroom. This essay tries to discuss more about “how Code switching and Code Mixing occurs in English classroom? This essay begins by explaining the concept of Code-Switching and Code-Mixing’, and elaborate more about definition of code itself and continuo with the definition of ‘Code Switching and Code Mixing’, the differences between code switching and code mixing, advantages/significance of Code Switching and Code Mixing, steps of conducting Code Switching and Code Mixingand types of Code- switching and Code- mixingthen describing the use of ‘Code-Switching and Code-Mixing’ in English classroom.


a.Definition of Code-Switching and Code-Mixing’

Based on David C.S. Li (2008) that the term of ‘code-switching’ (CS) refer to the alternate use of two or more languages in an extended stretch of discourse, where the switch takes place at sentence or clause boundaries. Then the term of ‘code-mixing’ (CM) is preferred. As many have pointed out, however, the term code-mixing it tends to attract negative associations, giving (especially lay readers) the value-loaded impression that ‘mixing’ languages is symptomatic of bad or pathological language behavior.

The second definition explored by Fischer (1972) suggests that code switching or inter-sentential code-alternation occurs when a bilingual speaker uses more than one language in a single utterance above the clause level to appropriately convey his/her intents. That language or code choice in communities where bilingualism or multilingualism is the norm should be analyzed in the context where the speech is produced. According to Fischer (1972) state that code mixing also called intra-sentential code switching or intra-sentential code-alternation occurs when speakers use two or more languages below clause level within one social situation. Patterns of code switching are found to be different from one another because of several distinct processes such as ‘insertion’, ‘alternation’ and ‘congruent lexicalization’. These three processes correspond to dominant models, and approaches (Muysken, 2000:3).

The third theory about code switching and code mixing elaborate by Poplack “Code-switches will tend to occur at points in discourse where juxtaposition of L1 and L2 elements does not violate a syntactic rule of either language, e.i., at points around which the surface structures of the two languages map onto each other. According to this simple constraint, a switch is inhibited from occurring within a constituent generated by a rule from one language which is not shared by the other”(Poplack, 1980:586).

b.Difference between Code-switching and Code-mixing

-Maschler (1998) defines code mixing or a mixed code as “using two languages such that a third, new code emerges, in which elements from the two languages are incorporated into a structurally definable pattern” (p.125).

-Bokamba (1989) defines both concepts thus: “Code-switching is the mixing of words, phrases and sentences from two distinct grammatical (sub) systems across sentence boundaries within the same speech event… code-mixing is the embedding of various linguistic units such as affixes (bound morphemes), words (unbound morphemes), phrases and clauses from a cooperative activity where the participants, in order to in infer what is intended, must reconcile what they hear with what they understand. “

-Hymes (1976) defines only code-switching as “a common term for alternative use of two or more language, varieties of a language or even speech styles

c.Significance of Code Switching and Code Mixing

There are some significance of Code Switching and Code Mixing in the class room. And I try to identify them into three parts of functions, they are:

-Code switching in a bilingual community context means that code switching can be used for self expression and is a way of modifying language for the sake of personal intentions. And may be used in order to build intimate interpersonal relationships among members of a bilingual community (Holmes, 1992:275).

-The function of teachers’ code switching is not always performed consciously; which means that the teacher is not always aware of the functions and outcomes of the code switching process. These functions are listed as topic switch, affective functions, and repetitive functions by Mattson and Burenhult (1999:61).

-The function of students’ code switching; The first function of student code switch is equivalence, The next function to be introduced is floor-holding, The third consideration in students’ code switching is reiteration, which is pointed by Eldridge as: “messages are reinforced, emphasized, or clarified where the message has already been transmitted in one code, but not understood” (1996:306). The last function of students’ code switching to be introduced here is conflict control.

d.Code switching and Code Mixing in practice

Muysken (1995) proposed constraints are:

·The Free-morpheme Constraint: code-switching cannot occur between bound morphemes.

·The Equivalence Constraint: code-switching can occur only in positions where "the order of any two sentence elements, one before and one after the switch, is not excluded in either language." Thus, the sentence: "I like you porque eres simpático." ("I like you because you are nice.") Is allowed because it obeys the relative clause formation rules of Spanish and English.

·The Closed-class Constraint: closed class items (pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, etc.), cannot be switched.

·The Matrix Language Frame model distinguishes the roles of the participant languages.

·The Functional Head Constraint: code-switching cannot occur between a functionalhead (a complementizer, a determiner, an inflection, etc.) and its complement (sentence, noun-phrase, verb-phrase).

Suggest by Greene and Walker (2004):

-Make certain teacher goals are communicated in a clear manner and that the students understand those goals.

-Explain how and when certain language usage is or is not appropriate.

-Make sure students understand how certain contexts require code-switching.

-Demonstrate code-switching in the classroom.

-Affirm for students that their language is viable and valuable.

-Make sure students understand that you understand the historical importance of their language.

-Study the historical development of Black English and “Standard English.”

-Develop culturally reflective assignments and activities with a focus on diversity. (For example: assigning students to give a tribute speech on someone in their home community in the dialect or language in which the person would speak).

e.Types of Code- switching and Code- mixing

Types of code-switching based on (Poplack 1980)

·Intersentential switching occurs outside the sentence or the clause level (i.e. at sentence or clause boundaries). It is sometimes called "extrasentential" switching.

·Intra-sentential switching occurs within a sentence or a clause.

·Tag-switching is the switching of either a tag phrase or a word, or both, from language-B to language-A, (common intra-sentential switches).

·Intra-word switching occurs within a word, itself, such as at a morpheme boundary.

Types of code-mixing based onMuysken (2000)


The concept of insertion is defined as insertion of material such as lexical items or entire constituents from one language into a structure from the other language. According to Muysken (2000), approaches that depart from the notion of insertion view the constraints in terms of the structural properties of some base or matrix structure. Here the process of code-mixing is conceived as something akin to borrowing: the insertion of an alien lexical of phrasal.


Approaches departing from alternation (associated with the Poplack (1980)) view the constraints on mixing in terms of the compatibility or equivalence of the languages involved at the switch point (Muysken, 2000). Conjunctions and appositions are incorporated through adjunction rather than insertion (2000). Verbs are often incorporated through adjunction to a helping verb. Language alternation is a normal, common, and important aspect of bilingualism (Grosjean, 1982; Pennington, 1995).


The notion of congruent lexicalization underlies the study of style shifting and dialect/standard variation, as in the work of Labov (1972) and Trudgill (1986), rather than bilingual language use proper (Muysken, 2000). Congruent lexicalization is akin to language variation and style shifting: switching is grammatically unconstrained and can be characterized in terms of alternative lexical insertions. Linguistic convergence feeds into congruent lexicalization and the two processes may reinforce each other. Some cases of word-internal mixing can be viewed as congruent lexicalization (2000: 221).


a.Kamisah (2009) in her study of content-based lectures found that CS/CM served some functions such as signaling topic change, giving and clarifying explanation, enacting social relationships and aggravating and mitigating messages. Vigorous influence of science and technology in education is also another factor contributing to CS/CM behavior in the classroom.

b.El-Fiki (1999) in her investigation of the CM phenomenon in a university teaching context in Libya found that despite the country’s language policy which promotes the maintenance and purification of Arabic, CM was a dominant feature in the discourse examined.

c.Canagarajah (1995) reported on the micro- and macro- functions of CS/CM in Sri Lankan ESL classrooms. The former includes classroom management and content transmission, and the latter includes social issues outside the classroom that may have implications on education.

·Examples of code-switching and Code mixing

Code-Mixing and Code-Switching terms in sociolinguistics for language and especially speech that draws to differing extents on at least two languages combined in different ways, as when a Malay/English bilingual says: This morning I hantar my baby tu dekat babysitter tu lah (hantar took, tu dekat to the, lah a particle marking solidarity). A code may be a language or a variety or style of a language; the term code mixing emphasizes hybridization, and the term code-switching emphasizes movement from one language to another.

-Examples of code-switching Bautista (1998a)

oThanks for all the kwentos. „Thanks for all the stories.‟ (English plural inflection in a Tagalog word).

oMike and I are so depressed by the turn of events, sana naman magkaturn-around. Mike and I are so depressed by the turn of events; hopefully there will be a turn-around.‟ (Tagalog affixation in an English word).

-Examples Code mixing

a)Why make Carol sentarse atras

b)pa'que everybody sit at the back so that has to move

c)pa'que se salga so that [she] may get out(Spanish / English; Poplack 1980: 589).


Term of ‘code-mixing’ and ‘code-switching’ is an ordinary phenomenon in the area of bilingualism. These phenomena occur when bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one language to another language.Code-mixing and code-switching are widespread phenomena in bilingual communities where speakers use their native tongue (L1) and their second language (L2) in different domains.In monolingual societies, people may think that code-switching and code mixing is very unnatural. With regard to the point of view of code-mixing and code-switching, people used to think about code-mixing and code-switching negatively. However, it is inevitable to notice that people usually switch and mix their languages in bilingual and/or multilingual societies.These opinions might make bilinguals feel they have a lack of both languages and they are not included in both cultures either. However, code-mixing and Code-switching may influence bilinguals’ languages positively.Code-switched is found when the teachers from the target language to English in order to maintain classroom order, to create solidarity or empathy, to cover lack of experience or strategies, to rephrase or modify their speech.


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