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BrainWalker
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Unread postby BrainWalker » Thu Dec 25, 2008 12:29 am

I am happy to have contributed to the bold new direction of this thread.
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Spleen
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Unread postby Spleen » Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:17 am

It's very common within bilingual families, code-switching. I have the good fortune to know a Chinese-English bilingual (Joe), a couple Russian-English bilinguals, and a Farsi-English bilingual, and I'm fascinated when I hear them on the phone with their parents. I was hanging out with the one who speaks Farsi the other day and she got a phone call from her mother. She was trying to speak English to her mother so I could follow the conversation, but failed and slipped into Farsi and didn't even realize it until I pointed it out. Talking to her mother, she gave no thought to what language was coming out of her mouth, but talking just to me she had no problem speaking just English.

The example in my textbook last year was pretty good, too: A family of bilinguals was being studied, and the mother was quoted as saying something like "I would never be heard code-switching," and changed languages halfway through the sentence.
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Besyanteo
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Unread postby Besyanteo » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:27 pm

Lys has accidentally code-switched via an IM to me once. It was kind of neat and got us talking about Mandarin!

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:12 pm

Spleen wrote:It's very common within bilingual families, code-switching. I have the good fortune to know a Chinese-English bilingual (Joe), a couple Russian-English bilinguals, and a Farsi-English bilingual, and I'm fascinated when I hear them on the phone with their parents. I was hanging out with the one who speaks Farsi the other day and she got a phone call from her mother. She was trying to speak English to her mother so I could follow the conversation, but failed and slipped into Farsi and didn't even realize it until I pointed it out. Talking to her mother, she gave no thought to what language was coming out of her mouth, but talking just to me she had no problem speaking just English.

The example in my textbook last year was pretty good, too: A family of bilinguals was being studied, and the mother was quoted as saying something like "I would never be heard code-switching," and changed languages halfway through the sentence.


That actually reminds me of a Candid Camera routine I saw once. Two guys got an bilingual English-Spanish speaker to translate between them, and midway through the conversation they switched languages without the translator even noticing. When I saw it I was sure the translator had to have been in on it, but now I guess that might not be the case. That's pretty cool, actually, because it seems like this is evidence that despite how we perceive our inner monologue, at least in constructing sentences we think in meaning and assign words after the fact rather than the words and meaning being one unit.

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:33 pm

Idran1701 wrote:Are you sure about that? I've never heard code-switching used that way, I've always heard it referred to how people use different languages/dialects/levels of formality in different situations. That makes sense too, though.

This is backtracking a bit, but using different levels of formality in different situations is called "register shift."
In linguistics, a register is a subset of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, an English speaker may adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal (e.g. "walking", not "walkin'") and refrain from using the word "ain't" when speaking in a formal setting, but the same person could violate all of these prescriptions in an informal setting.
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_(sociolinguistics)


The article there doesn't cover the choice to use different languages. I wonder where that fits in?

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Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Thu Dec 25, 2008 8:38 pm

My guess is that changing languages is quite different from changing register; when you have a word that you're accustomed to using for a certain meaning, regardless of the language, that's the one that's going to pop out unless you keep it in check--and from there, it's easy to follow in that one particular word's language.

But I can see register and language being tied together for some circumstances, such as in the case of visiting family with whom you're used to speaking in one certain tongue. But this has been observed (frequently, even) with dialects as well, so it's probably a more similar phenomenon to dialectic choice than to register shift.

Speculation on my part. Wildly so.
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:29 pm

PriamNevhausten wrote:But I can see register and language being tied together for some circumstances, such as in the case of visiting family with whom you're used to speaking in one certain tongue.
This is what I'm talking about. If you're bilingual because your parents/grandparents are immigrants, and your family speaks Language X at family gatherings--regardless of the fact they all also understand Language Y--you are also going to speak Language X...or else come off eccentric at best, like a jackass at worse.

PriamNevhausten wrote:But this has been observed (frequently, even) with dialects as well, so it's probably a more similar phenomenon to dialectic choice than to register shift.
Dialect choice is register shift, isn't it?

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Unread postby Christian » Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:12 pm

Hooo, yeah, I'm kinda not used to code-switching that much... I think it's mostly because I got into talking english so late in my life that I'm always checking myself, in english, when I do.

A lot of times when me and my friends are discussing in english, even though we're all swedish, we kind of make an unconscious effort to keep to the language...

Then again, I'm not entirely sure about the unconscious part. But it's funny when someone pipes in, in swedish, "Why are we talking in english?" and everyone flips over to swedish for a few sentences, but then slide back into english...

I think it's more related to how, by communicating in a language none of us have as a native tongue, we're focusing more on what's being said...

I dunno.

But code-switching's interesting to watch, my dad's finnish and when he talks to family on the phone or on family meetings, he's always switching. He's doing it mostly because he was pretty young when he moved to sweden, so his finnish is a bit rough and lacking.

Then again, det finns ju de som believe that kodbyte är en natural process of kommunikation och happens despite ens tro att man inte does it.

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:19 pm

Christian wrote:Then again, det finns ju de som believe that kodbyte är en natural process of kommunikation och happens despite ens tro att man inte does it.
Oh yeah? Well so's your face!

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Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:01 pm

PriamNevhausten wrote:But this has been observed (frequently, even) with dialects as well, so it's probably a more similar phenomenon to dialectic choice than to register shift.
Dialect choice is register shift, isn't it?


No, register shift is the difference between "fuck you" in speaking to a friend, and "are you sure that's right?" when talking to one of superior status; dialect choice, at least how I'm using it, is use of different patterns of speech (usually regional in character) with different audiences, as in a southern American dialect, or a midwestern urban dialect, or an Appalachian dialect, et cetera.

My apologies if I'm using the incorrect term and thus messing everything up.
"You haven't told me what I'm looking for."
"Anything that might be of interest to Slitscan. Which is to say, anything that might be of interest to Slitscan's audience. Which is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections."
--Colin Laney and Kathy Torrance, William Gibson's Idoru

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pd Rydia
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:32 pm

PriamNevhausten wrote:
PriamNevhausten wrote:But this has been observed (frequently, even) with dialects as well, so it's probably a more similar phenomenon to dialectic choice than to register shift.
Dialect choice is register shift, isn't it?
No, register shift is the difference between "fuck you" in speaking to a friend, and "are you sure that's right?" when talking to one of superior status; dialect choice, at least how I'm using it, is use of different patterns of speech (usually regional in character) with different audiences, as in a southern American dialect, or a midwestern urban dialect, or an Appalachian dialect, et cetera.
I think if someone is choosing between which dialect to speak, it may bleed over into register shift. But hell, it's far too complicated a matter for me to know!

PriamNevhausten wrote:My apologies if I'm using the incorrect term and thus messing everything up.
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Unread postby Banjooie » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:08 am

what the

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:09 am

Banjooie wrote:what the
What are you doing here?

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Christian
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Unread postby Christian » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:16 am

Dä ä la gött de grabbar!

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:18 pm

Christian wrote:Dä ä la gött de grabbar!

Spoiler:
Don't mind me.

:ghost:

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Christian
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Unread postby Christian » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:46 pm

I hereby put forward the motion to include Swedish as the second National Language of the US of A.

All for, raise ye utensil-grasping-limbs and say aye.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:10 pm

That'll be tough, since technically we don't have a first. :D

(While English is the de facto national language, and by and large the only one used for government processes directly, it's never been put into law. They've tried a bunch, but it's never passed. It is the official language of 30 states, though, and Hawaii's the only one to legally have two.)

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Christian
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Unread postby Christian » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:31 am

What are you talking about? English? I was talking about french!

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:27 am

Idran1701 wrote:(While English is the de facto national language, and by and large the only one used for government processes directly, it's never been put into law. They've tried a bunch, but it's never passed. It is the official language of 30 states, though, and Hawaii's the only one to legally have two.)
Florida is one of those states!

Fat lotta good the law does there!

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Unread postby Banjooie » Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:56 pm

what is this I don't even like potatoes waiter please take this back and get me what I ordered

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Christian
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Unread postby Christian » Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:02 pm

shush.

Not one more word out of you. If you so much as peep, I'll make sure you'll regret it for the rest of your... your... uhh...

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Unread postby Ganonfro » Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:02 pm

Mmm... a baked potato sounds delicious right now...

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Unread postby RussianOtaku v2 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:45 am

Most commonly for a bilingual language user a code shift occurs when circumstances of his enviroment change and register shift occurs when the subject matter discussed changes.

I beleive someone already described previously that there are certain situations when one language is more appropriate (family gathering, friends brough up in a certain culture) In these circumstances navigating between two languages is code-shifting (especially if representatives of both languages are present) A good experiment is to get a bilingual person drunk, and than star asking them questions in both languages. The brain will automtically shift gears and will keep operating in the last language addressed.

Register shifts occurs when subject matter being discussed is more familiar in one language over the other. This is common in professional environment. You learn your job in a particular language, and but for rare instances, you will know your trade best in one language. Therefore when discussin it with someone, you will shift into trade language for the explanation, but carry out the rest of the conversation in primary language.


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This board is still here?! I tip my hat to the tenacity of its netizens.

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