Why do some cultures switch between speaking English and their native tongue on TV shows and such?


Why do some cultures switch between speaking English and their native tongue on TV shows and such?

In: 11

Because some thoughts are easily expressed in English and some don’t translate over, so they’re best expressed in their native tongue.

Because we know the audience will understand, and often expressions, humour or puns in certain languages just have more impact, and is well understood in multilingual communities. Plus, it just happens, you “think” in the language of the conversation and something makes you start thinking in another one.

It’s called code switching and it happens a lot in real life. One of the better depictions I’ve seen recently would be in “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

And there’s a lot of reasons. Big one is just nuance. Some phrases work better in certain languages. Another is literally just not remembering the proper word in one language. Some do it for privacy in public. In some ways its a kindof way of bonding/increasing solidarity like having a unique language that others can’t follow because they don’t also speak 3 languages like your family.

And even in other contexts if English is more of a second language learned than if someone grew up bilingual speaking in a native language is usually just preferred. English, is being spoken for the convenience of the English speakers in the room, not for the convenience of the one speaking.

You can absolutely use a transformer block to hammer in a nail. But if you also have a hammer available, why not use that instead?

Languages are just **tools** and if you and the folk around you have multiple ones available then you might feel that a certain language might be better-suited to express a thought or a feeling than another.

Countries that were colonized by Britain often had their native culture and language suppressed and English language imposed. Especially in cases where the colonized country consisted of several nations with different languages, English has turned into a de facto common tongue, in some cases replacing parts of the native language and introducing English words for culturally imported things and concepts.
The result, after many years, is the fluidity you have observed, where even in the case a conversation is in a native language, English words, phrases and sentences are mixed in.

In addition to the other excellent answers, sometimes it’s too show that the people talking don’t understand each other. Vikings was a good example of this, where the actors would mostly speak English, and then switch to Old Norse/English when two groups met that couldn’t understand each other.

What others said.

For example I am a Malaysian but I cant remember how to say the word “convince” in Malay and Mandarin so I just use the english word.


1. We grow up learning both languages. So it is very common for us to switch and mix.

2. Sadly, in our culture having good spoken English is a sign of intelligence and knowledge so even if the conversation is entirely in our native language, most of us throw in English sentences to make sure other people know of our education level and such.