What is code mixing

Code mixing

Code mixing is the mixing of two or more languages ​​or varieties of language in speech. Some scientists use the terms “code-mixing” and “ code-switching ” interchangeably, especially in the study of syntax , morphology , as well as other formal aspects of the language. Others suggest more specific definitions of the mixing code, but these specific definitions may be different in different subfields of linguistics , education theory , communication , etc.

Code-mixing is similar to using or creating pidgin ; but while pidgin is created by groups that do not share a common language, it can occur in multilingual conditions, when columns share more than one language.

How to change code

Some linguists use the terms code mixing and code swapping more or less interchangeably. Especially in formal studies of syntax, morphology, etc., both terms are used to refer to utterances that derive from elements of two or more grammatical systems. These studies are usually interested in the alignment of elements of distinct systems or constraints that limit switching.

Some works define it as the placement or mixing of various linguistic units (affixes, words, phrases, clauses) from two different grammatical systems within the same sentence and speech context, while code swapping is the placement or mixing of units (words, phrases, sentences) of two codes within the same speech context. The structural difference between code swapping and code mixing is the position of the changed elements – for code swapping, code modification occurs intersententially, while for code mixing it occurs intrasententially.

In another work, the term code switching emphasizes the movement of a multilingual speaker from one grammatical system to another, while the term code mixing suggests a hybrid form, drawing from distinct grammars. In other wordscode mixing emphasizes the formal aspects of language structures or linguistic competence , while code switching emphasizes linguistic performance .

Although many linguists have worked to describe the difference between exchanging code and borrowing words or phrases, the term can be used to encompass both types of language behavior. 

in sociolinguistics

While linguists who are primarily interested in the structure or form of code mixing may have relatively little interest in separating code mixing from code swapping, some sociolinguists have gone to great lengths to differentiate the two phenomena. For these scholars, code switching is associated with certain pragmatic effects, speech functions, or associations with group identity. In this tradition, the terms code mixing or language switching are used to describe more stable situations in which multiple languages ​​are used without such pragmatic effects.

in language acquisition

In studies of bilingual language acquisition , code mixing refers to a developmental stage during which children mix elements from more than one language. Almost all bilingual children go through a period when they switch from one language to another without apparent discrimination.  This differs from code switching, which is understood as the socially and grammatically appropriate use of multiple varieties.

Starting at the babbling stage , young children in bilingual or multilingual environments produce utterances that combine elements of both (or all) of their developing languages. Some linguists suggest that this mixing of codes reflects a lack of control or ability to differentiate between languages. Others argue that it is a limited-vocabulary product; very young children may know a word in one language but not another. More recent studies argue that this initial code mix is ​​a demonstration of an in-development ability to exchange code in socially appropriate ways. 

For bilingual children, code mixing may depend on the linguistic context, the demands of cognitive tasks and the interlocutor. Code mixing can also work to fill in gaps in your lexical knowledge. Some forms of code mixing by young children may indicate a risk of language impairment .

In psychology and psycholinguistics

In psychology and psycholinguistics, the code mixing label is used in theories that rely on studies of language switching or code switching to describe the cognitive structures underlying bilingualism. During the 1950s and 1960s, psychologists and linguists treated bilingual speakers as, in Gros jean’s term, “two monolinguals in one person.” This “fractional view” assumed that a bilingual speaker carried two separate mental grammars that were more or less identical to the mental grammars of monolinguals and that were ideally kept separate and used separately. Studies conducted since the 1970s, however, have shown that bilinguals regularly combine elements of “separate” languages. These findings have led to studies of code mixing in psychology and psycholinguistics.

Sridhar and Sridhar define it as “the transition from using linguistic units (words, phrases, sentences, etc.) in one language to using another in a single sentence”.  They note that this differs from code swapping in that it occurs in a single sentence (sometimes known as intrasententially swapping ) and in that it does not fulfill the pragmatic or discourse-oriented functions described by sociolinguists. (See Code-mix in sociolinguistics, above.) The practice of code-mixing, which is based on competence in two languages ​​at the same time, suggests that these competences are not stored or processed separately. Code mixing among bilinguals is therefore studied in order to explore the mental structures underlying language skills.

like merged class

mixed language or merged classroom is a relatively stable mixture of two or more languages. What some linguists have described as “code switching as unmarked choice” or “frequent code switching” has more recently been described as “language mixing” or, in the case of the more strictly grammaticalized forms, as ” fused lessons”.

In areas where code switching between two or more languages ​​is very common, it may become normal for words from both languages ​​to be used together in everyday speech. Unlike code exchange, where an exchange tends to occur at semantically or sociolinguistically significant junctures, this code mixing has no specific meaning in the local context. A blended lesson is identical to a blended language in terms of semantics and pragmatics, but blended lessons allow for less variation as they are fully grammaticalized. In other words, there are fused class grammatical structures that determine which source language elements can occur.

A mixed language is different from a creole language. Creoles are believed to develop from pidgins as they become nativized. [12] Mixed languages ​​develop from code-switching situations.


An example that comes to mind: Grandma’s native language is Greek, but she speaks pretty good English. Grandchild knows only household-level Greek, but has to take Grandma to her doctor appointment.

Doctor says: I’m going to need to your consent to perform an MRI to check a mass in your cranium.

Grandchild says to Grandma: The doctor wants to know if it’s ok to take a picture of your head to make sure everything is ok? Is that all right?

Grandma chats with grandchild in a mixture of Greek and English, and then grandchild tells the doctor, Yes, she says it’s ok.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button