Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Verbal Strategy Families > Code Switching

Code-switching strategies are strategies for changing the type of language one produces—whether a change in register or style, a change in dialect, or even a change in language. Depending on the social requirements for a particular choice of language, dialect, or register, a writer may need to adopt different patterns of word choice, grammar, or even spelling than those to which he or she is accustomed. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 32.

Code switching corresponds in part to Language Standard 3 of the Common Core State Standards. Those who are not native speakers of a relatively standard dialect of English will need to exercise code-switching strategies in order to meet Language Standard 1 of the Common Core State Standards.

Literature Note - Code Switching (With an Emphasis on Register and Style)

Development Table 32. Hypothesized Development of Code-Switching Skills

(home to school)
Can recognize differences in accents and dialects and associate them with social categories such as regional origin.
Can deploy imitative strategies to acquire speech patterns characteristic of familiar social settings.
Can express oneself in the accents or dialects of one’s home, family and peers.
(school to text)
Can recognize differences between written and spoken language and associate them with characteristic contexts and functions.
Can deploy differentiating strategies to acquire code-switching between spoken and written, formal (school) and informal (home, family and peer) language varieties.
Can approximate the linguistic patterns characteristic of school settings.
(text to genre)
Can recognize key linguistic differences between different textual genres and associate them with particular purposes or occasions for writing.
Can deploy differentiating strategies to acquire the ability to code-switch between different text genres as appropriate.
Can switch fluently between home and school speech patterns and approximate the conventional patterns characteristic of standard written English.
(genre to style)
Can recognize the conventional social implications incumbent upon a particular choice of genre and register features.
Can deploy adaptive strategies in which the author consciously controls the mix of genre and register features in a text in order to produce specific effects.
Can switch fluently between different genres and registers.
(style to voice and tone)
Can recognize the social and emotional inferences created by a person’s choice of genre and register features.
Can deploy stylistic strategies in which the author consciously adopts a specific persona and stance to communicate to an audience, with resulting adjustments in style and tone.
Can fluently produce text in which the mix of genre and register features are automatically controlled to produce appropriate effects.

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