Code-switching and mixing builds vocabulary, says socio-linguist

Major cities like Johannesburg are a space where people with diverse cultures and languages have to find ways to communicate with each other.

In order to communicate with others who do not speak their languages, people use what linguists call code-switching. They use two or more languages in a single conversation.

This seems to be working perfectly for speakers in South Africa's diverse communities, who have created new phrases by combining different languages. But arguments vary about what this means for language preservation.

On #NightTalk, Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo spoke to Dr Thabo Ditsele, senior lecturer and socio-linguist at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), about the significance of code switching in languages.

Listen to the conversation below...

We use code-switching in a generic sense. Strictly speaking we have code switching and code mixing. The difference is with code switching you would say the first part of your thought in English, and the second part in Tswana. Whereas code mixing happens when you for example speak in Tswana and slot one English word as you go along. But for people who don't know linguistics they may use code switching for both language appearances.

Dr Thabo Ditsele, seniour lecturer and socio-linguist at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

You dream in a language that you best express yourself in.

Dr Thabo Ditsele, seniour lecturer and socio-linguist at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

As a socio-linguist I have an appreciation for the terminology developed in society. Code switching and mixing is good because it enriches vocabulary. It shows that as human beings we are dynamic.

Dr Thabo Ditsele, seniour lecturer and socio-linguist at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

If people around us don't speak the same language as your first language you will reinterpret or translate the thought you originally conceptualised in your first language.

Dr Thabo Ditsele, seniour lecturer and socio-linguist at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Meet the woman striking the gender balance in the energy sector

Meet the woman striking the gender balance in the energy sector

Noxolo Kahlana believes there are many opportunities for women in the energy sector and encourages women to jump on the bandwagon.

Should heads of state make public their health status?

Should heads of state make public their health status?

Following speculations on the health of Nigerian President Buhari, Gugs and Sizwe ask why head of states hide when they are sick.

A steep price tag may not always constitute a good bed

A steep price tag may not always constitute a good bed

702's Gugs and Sizwe chat to UCT sleep researcher about how much time and energy should go into choosing the right bed.

Suicide is prevalent among business owners - insurance advisor

Suicide is prevalent among business owners - insurance advisor

Karina Namhing, Director at Nam Inc analyses the reason insurance companies are reporting high suicide rates in 2016.

Why documentaries still matter

Why documentaries still matter

Movie Producer and long-standing industry member, Anant Singh speaks to 702's Sizwe Dlomo about the relevance of factual content.

Will technology create a single global language or save marginalised ones

Will technology create a single global language or save marginalised ones

The digital village may only need a single language but technology may be the key to saving mankind's 1st innovation.

Popular articles
Struggles interracial couples still face

Struggles interracial couples still face

The Open Line took an unexpected turn when a caller in an interracial relationship shared how her father rejected her partner.

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Makhabane says Ncwane was feeling weak yesterday and his wife phoned paramedics to check on him.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?