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 Code Switching 
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I thought it was really interesting today that there were quite a few people in our class who knew that they could code switch. I was raised in a home where Standard American English was spoken but my dad's side of the family is from Avery County and they definitely speak the Appalachian dialect. I notice that I have learned to speak, at least somewhat, in this dialect when I am around them.

I was just wondering who else knows they code switch? How did you learn it? When do you use each dialect?

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Leslie Sheppard


Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:30 pm
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Well like I said in class I learned to code switch when I came to Appalachian. I knew I spoke Appalachian dialect, but I never knew that you could code switch. One of my really good friends is an English major, and she speaks perfect Standard American English dialect. She corrects me all the time. It gets on my nerves, but I started correcting myself after a while. When I go home is when I code switch back to Appalachian dialect, and then I speak Standard English when I am at school. Sometimes I do not even notice that I switch. It has just turned into a natural thing for me to do.

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Angela Nicole Sain


Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:52 pm
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I think I kind of taught myself. I didn't go to school in the same city that I lived in, and the kids I went to school with didn't have as much of a dialect as I did. Some did, obviously, but t ahose of us that did got picked on for being country. After I became conscious of the way I spoke, I started listening to how other people talked (apart from my family) and tried to imitate it like Kim said in class. I just learned that I needed to speak a certain way around certain people. I think on a lesser level everyone code switches without realizing it. Most people alter the way they speak around a professor in relation to how they speak around friends. That's code switching too.

College really made a difference though, especially since I'm an English major. Reading all the literature...hearing the professors in the English department with their 'proper' language...writing papers I knew would be graded based on hardcore Standard American English...I kind of had to perfect code switching or I wasn't going to do well in school!

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Natalie Brady


Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:06 am
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I haven't really paid much attention to my code switching but I did realize it when we were talking about it in class. I probably didn't learn until middle school because the people that I went to elementary school with spoke a lot like I did but the middle school was more diverse and grammar etc. became more important in class. I use much different dialects when I am at home from when I am at school. I feel like it sounds more professional to speak standard english. I really noticed my dialect and increased accent after class that day because I was on the phone with my grandmother and when I hung up my room mate (from up north) commented on the way that I was speaking. She said that she was trying to think if I spoke like that all the time because it sounded strange to her! Also yesterday Angela and I made the long drive to Georgia for Spring Break and, because we are from the same area, we began to notice that we spoke much more differently the further away we got from school! It was really interesting because it made me think that code switching deals a lot with how comfortable you are around a group of people. When I first meet someone I usually make a conscious effort to speak in standard english, but when I become closer friends with a group of people it is not as important to me to speak "properly".

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Katherine Stover


Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:35 am
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I have used code switching from as earliy as i can remember! It is so funny having that conversation in class because I feel that code switching is somthing that alot of kids do and do not even realize it so when we had that converstaion it was kinda funny to think about all the different situation that I code switch in that I have never really thoguht about before!

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Katherine Gray Nelli


Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:10 am
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I had never really thought about code switching before but after thinking about it I realize that I code switch more often than I would think. I'm a stickler about prepositions, so I'll be that person who corrects my friends when their sentences just sound so off to me, but when I'm at home with my family I'll catch myself using certain words that my friends use and my parents looking at me like I'm crazy. I guess I didn't realize around friends I will pick up on some of their dialects and not realize it! This is a very interesting subject.

Casey Gill


Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:05 am
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I know that I code switch when I go back to New York and am around my whole family. I don't really do it when I am home because I have gotten so used to the way my parents talk that I don't even really here their accents anymore. I still speak in Standard American English when I code switch but my accent is different because I say certain words differently. I think that a lot of people code switch without even realizing it and others adjust to fit into certain surroundings.

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Kimberly Marie Isidori


Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:12 pm
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I actually cannot code switch because I was always taught Standard American English. My parents always taught me that in my home and so did my teachers at school. I think that it is important to realize that there are different dialects. However, I think that it is also very important for all students to learn Standard American English because this is what most people use. Thus, when going in for an interview or something, the two can understand each other. Thus, I think that it is equally important to keep the dialect one grew up with, but to also be able to speak Standard American English, and be able to know when to code switch.

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Jennifer Beach


Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:21 pm
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It is still hard for me to decide if I code switch or if I just have a different accent. Most of the time when I talk I will talk with the standard English, but at the same time I use ain't and ya'll all the time. When I am in Boone I don't hear the same sounds in words as I do when I am back home. Home is only 45 min away so it amazes me that it sounds so different. Sometimes I will start talking really southern and you can tell I am from the south. My boyfriend and I have contests with our dialects and/or accents. He is from Vermont and can talk with that northern/Yankee accent. Whenever he hears me talking really southern he starts talking with the north accent. We try not to laugh but it is so funny. But I think most of the time I am a code switcher.

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Emily Towery


Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:21 pm
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It is interesting for me to think about code switching as well. I am not really sure if I do or not, but I think that in some cases I am different from other people in the class. I am from Greensboro and have grown up there all of my life. My friends from high school mostly were from the north, so they told me that I would say several "country" words or sound more "country" than they did occasionally. Now that I am here in Boone for the past few years, every time I go home I hear them comment on how that "countryness" has come out even more. My parents say they don't notice it, but my friends being from the north, they definitely do.

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Laura Davis


Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:13 pm
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In class there were people who had heard of different dialects and knew that they could code switch. I had never heard of different dialects and had no idea that I could code switch. I just thought that I had an accent and knew how to lose the accent and speak "proper." I think that dialects should be discussed more in schools and that it is a topic that should be more widely known about. I am all the time being made fun of for my dialect and I think that if people knew that it's not necessarily improper but just different then we would be able to understand better why we all speak English but differently.

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Katelyn McMillan


Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:11 pm
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I am from Pennsylvania and when we were sitting in class I did not think I code switch, but when I thought about it for a while I realized I do code switch when I go back to visit. When I go back north I definitly watch some of the things I say. I don't say yall as much and some other words that I learned down south. I also switch things around from words I said when I lived there that I dont' say down south and start saying them again. I don't know if that is quite code switching, but its the closest I come to it. I am pretty sure I speak Standard American English most of the time I just change some words depending where I am.

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Alicia Yewcic


Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:59 pm
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Katie Stover wrote:
Also yesterday Angela and I made the long drive to Georgia for Spring Break and, because we are from the same area, we began to notice that we spoke much more differently the further away we got from school! It was really interesting because it made me think that code switching deals a lot with how comfortable you are around a group of people. When I first meet someone I usually make a conscious effort to speak in standard english, but when I become closer friends with a group of people it is not as important to me to speak "properly".


There's a definite trend occurring in this topic where people code switch whenever they go back home to spend time with family in particular. The association between comfort levels and code switching wasn't one I'd noticed before, but looking back I can definitely see that my way of speaking changes when I'm around family. My mother has a somewhat distinguishable accent at home, but when she speaks with patients over the phone before a visit, I notice how proper and enunciated her speech becomes.

For me code switching is kind of an intrinsic quality that becomes context specific. I can change my speech on a dime to fit my current situation, and I think that would be an incredibly powerful tool to possess as a future teacher.

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Jonathan M. Sykes


Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:03 pm
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I have to say that I know for a fact that I code switch. Most of the time I speak to people in different dialects or using different words depending on who I am talking to. I have friends that I have grown up with and speak my normal Appalachian dialect with, but I have many friends that are from up north that I use a whole different dialect with. My family is my biggest influence. When I am around my parents I really speak country in the words of my boyfriend. I do not really think about it when I change my dialect and I defiantly do not even notice it most of the time. I think I pick most of the changes in words and dialects that I use from the people that I am around. I am not sure where I learned to do this or why I do this, but as most everyone who really knows me would say I do this all the time.

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Danielle L Epley


Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:28 pm
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