Why do multi-lingual people seemingly, with no reason, switch between languages while talking to someone who is also multi-lingual? What benefit does it have over staying with the language they started the conversation with?

58 views
0

Why do multi-lingual people seemingly, with no reason, switch between languages while talking to someone who is also multi-lingual? What benefit does it have over staying with the language they started the conversation with?

In: 4

It’s called code-switching, and it allows the speakers to draw from both languages’ vocabularies to express ideas. Some words in one language don’t have nice, short, or eloquent equivalents in another, so if you’re speaking to someone who knows both languages, you use whichever one helps you to most easily get your ideas across.

My cousins are bilingual and speak fluent Spanglish, lol. They say it’s because sometimes they can’t think of the word in one language so they use the other. Cómo se dice. . .

Code switch is comfortable. It also is something that explains who you are without you needing to explain it out loud. People who can speak your language already get you, and some phrases are just more expressive in another language or just don’t translate very well.

Not everything translates exactly from one language into another.
When you can only speak one language, you get around not having a word for a specific thing, or not being able to describe something perfectly, because you have the rest of the language available to you as well as slang, and hand gestures etc.
However, if you speak two or more languages, it is usually easier to switch into another language because that language has a particular set of vocabulary that is more appropriate for the topic.

Then on top of that, there’s secrecy.
Being able to switch languages to say something that you don’t want everyone to understand is a very useful tool

Well, this is my answer as a French who lived in England for a year:

When I met other French people, we would speak French (except if there was someone who didn’t). We were all living in a hostel when we arrived. We don’t use the translation of hostel in French, because we don’t sleep in any in our country.

So basically, that means that we never used the term in our native language, and we only used in English. So when we talked between us, we would use the English term “hostel” out of habit. This is an exemple, but it happened a lot.

It also applies to multiple languages conversations. Sometimes a word in a language is more precise than another in another language. Or sometimes you have inside jokes about a term in a specific language.

Finally, let’s say I’m speaking English with an English guy that also speaks French. If i don’t know how to phrase something in English, then I’ll say it in French, knowing the person will get it.

Hope that answered your question!

Edit:typo and grammar