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Code-switching is when a person who can speak at least two languages switches words in both languages. People speaking more than two languages don't usual code-switch, though bilinguals do. Bilinguals learn two languages and the brain associates each object with the first word they learn, or the latest word they learnt. The word in the other languages is either pushed to the back or kept as a secondary reference. so there is always a confusion for bilinguals and they tend to use the word that immediately comes to their mind. For instance, an English person, living in China will learn a lot of new words in Chinese. After a period of time, he tends to remember the Chinese words faster than the English words and so starts mixing both languages in his speech.

A Bilingual brain doesnt know that it has to change languages. It generally stores all related words together and treats them as a single language. Whereas a multilingual brain knows that it has to juggle with languages and so always stores different languages separately. So multilinguals generally dont mix languages.

Do you Code-Switch?

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Yes, after over 5 years living in a country that speaks our 2nd language, I am now code switching when we travel home on vacation. I find that certain words in the 2nd language are just better in that language and it is hard to come up with an alternative word in English. Some say this is a good sign that language learning is becoming ingrained. Oddly, I rarely do it in English though so your explanation of when we code-switch and why makes sense. I would have learned all of my English words first. So the words I code switch must be new words that I learned or the application of them after i learned my secondary language. And example of this is the word 'mahay' which is translated 'capable' in English. It is used here in Madagascar in a variety of different contexts that we do not use in English. I find we use alot of idiomatic expressions when it comes to the usage of this word. So now I often find myself when speaking with other foreigners in the country inserting that word and my meaning is understood. There are other situations where I code switch. For example, I have some co-workers who are French/English speakers. But their Malagasy is now much stronger then their English. However, if they begin speaking in English to me, I will continue in that language but if I reach a point in the conversation where I know it might become unclear, I insert the Malagasy expression and then carry on in English again. As an example, if relating something that recently happened I might say, 'the bus driver told me I wasn't 'mahay' and so we should hire a driver to go on vacation.'

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Yes, that is a good example of code-switching. Some people, even people that have spoken the second language for decades will use slang in their native tongue. Others will swear in their first language. I don't know if they feel it is less inappropriate if fewer people can understand them, or it is part of the pleasure of cursing, by speaking the easier language, and letting out frustration.

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I think I'm in the same boat as Sidney I've spoken English most of my life from very young, and my language is very complex. It goes round the houses to say something simple, it's just tiresome sometimes. We also tend to borrow words from English, especially to explain things that we never historically had in our lives. I think that's why a lot of the younger generation in my country prefer to speak English.

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