The Benefit of Code Switching


Code-switching, which may be defined as the alternation between two or more languages in a speaker’s speech, occurs naturally in the scheme of bilingualism. Studies have reported that code-switching often happened subconsciously; ‘people may not be aware that they have switched, or be able to report, following a conversation, which code they used for a particular topic’ (Wardaugh, 1998, p. 103).

However, although bilingual speakers claim that code-switching is an unconscious behavior, research has also shown that it is not a random phenomenon.

As attested by Li Wei (1998, p. 156), Sociolinguistics who have studied code switching draw attention to extra-linguistic factors such as topic, setting, relationships between participants, community norms and values, and societal, political and ideological developments influencing speakers’ choice of language in conversation.

In the classroom setting, teachers at times connect the previous lesson by putting the students at ease in the classroom setting where they speak in English mixed with the native language. Teachers often practice code switching in the classroom for a certain reason, yet on the side of the coin, they encourage their students to respond in straight English.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer
Doctor Jennifer
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Bilingualism

star star star star 5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

I have observed that there are many instances when a student falls short in his communication, the question of liability is always addressed to his English language teacher (Ugbe & Agim, 2009). Even after years of learning the second language, learners still do not achieve the confidence in using the language inside and outside the class. I may have some considerations for the L2 learners wherein, Littlewood (1994) mentioned in his work that regardless the fact that the medium of instruction is English, teachers would always resort to switch to vernacular in order to convey ideas.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

In this manner, the fluency of the language is somewhat affected. Like in other multilingual contexts, a related study conducted in Malaysia by Heller (1992) and Myers-Scotton (1992) wherein code-switching has gained a foothold as a verbal mode of communication among Malaysian bilingual speakers. It occurs in both formal and informal contexts of communication. Empirical research has shown that the practice of alternating or mixing languages is not only common, but serves important communication strategies.

Looking at the language foundation of the Philippines, I see the connection of the study of Bauson (2011) which cited that the Philippines has been dominated by the Spanish language influence which has marked its impact on the language formation. Tupas (2004), added that after this domination, another powerful language has influenced its medium in every educational system. Every language influence in this country has created a great impact in the formation of our language practices. I have observed that even though English language has been the medium of instruction in every educational system in the country, native language is inevitable.

According to Bautista (2009), foreigners who visit the country specifically in the urban areas are struck by the phenomenon of hearing conversation that they can understand because part of it is English but at the same time feel lost because other parts of it sounds different. This is said to be “Taglish” – the combination of Tagalog and English words and clauses in the sentence. This is most often heard in the conversation of those who were exposed to speak both language.

English language is a medium that every educated person has to learn because this has been used globally. With this trend, everyone is encouraged to study and learn in order to be able to compete with the trace of the trend. Because of this, every educational institution has to cope with the standard of its use. Inside the classroom, specifically in English class, all students are encouraged to speak in English but when they are outside the class, they tend to code-switch from their native language.

The study of Bautista (2004) remarked that code switching has continually been advancing in different parts of the globe. Philippines and Malaysia which are multilingual countries, code switching has appeared as a new language variety. Then and Ting (2009) examined the functions of teacher’s code switching in secondary school English and science classrooms in Malaysia, where English has recently been implemented as the language of instruction for science. Classroom interaction data were obtained from two English lessons and a science lesson.

According to Fournier (2009) during his talk on “Strengthening Language Competence” held in UIC – Davao City that the students in Mindanao are multilingual, so, the catalysts of influence in the use of the correct English language are the educators across the curriculum. The learner in school spends almost whole day and they are greatly influenced by educators who are considered as the model in encouraging the learners to speak and write English well. Today, there are still a lot of debates about whether English should remain to be the sole medium of instruction because the students’ English language competence is below par. It is for this reason that the study will be conducted in order to obtain other discoveries that affect the English language competence of the learners. This study is based on the communicative functions of code – switching and perception of the students on the language teacher’s code-switching.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe how code-switching is used as a device to achieve the communicative intents of a conversation in a bilingual classroom. This would also describe the students’ perception on teachers’ code switching in learning English Language. My passion in language teaching has been my inspiration in keeping myself enthusiastic inside the classroom. I feel the satisfaction when students learn to express themselves in fluent English. However, oftentimes, I struggle with a lot of challenges when they cannot meet my expectations. Despite their limitations, I also believe that there is always a room for improvement. The instinct of always doing introspection after the class reminds me to put myself in the shoes of the students while they are inside the classroom. I would like to find out what are their views when teachers switch from English to vernacular while trying to explain.

In this light, I am more interested in studying about the functions of code switching in a bilingual classroom and high school students’ perception of their teacher’s code switching.

Research Questions:

  1. How code-switching is used as a device to achieve the communicative intents of a conversation in a bilingual classroom?
  2. What are the students’ perceptions on teachers’ code switching in learning English Language?

Theoretical Lens

To frame this study into a bigger linguistic domain, I present theories and related empirical studies that supported the existence of code switching. Despite the fact that English is used as the medium of instruction, educators would still resort to switch to vernacular in order to meet the needed comprehension. Studies on code-switching have moved from the notion that the switching behavior is a compensation for linguistic deficiency in bilingual speakers (Adendorff, 1996; Myers-Scotton, 1995). Cole (1998) explains the three functions why teachers code-switch in the classrooms: Topic switch function – this is when educators alter his/her language according to the topic that is under discussion. There is a bridge from known (native language) to unknown (new foreign language) constructed to transfer the new content and meaning. Affective function – a code switching which is used by the teacher in order to build solidarity and intimate relations with students (creating a supportive language environment). Repetitive functions – the teacher uses code switching to transfer the necessary knowledge for clarity, and for efficient comprehension of students.

To add the picture of this study, Halliday (1975) believes that code switching is fulfilling of the interpersonal function of communication where mixed language spoken plays the role of a mediator. In other words, it is the use of language to act as a mediator between self and participants in the communicative event. Moreover, the work of Littlewood (1994) expounded that switching to one’s native language while engaged in communication when experiencing difficulty, switch code becomes a communication strategy. Instead of creating a new word with a second language material, a speaker may opt to use a word from his own native tongue. Apparently, this strategy is most probably to succeed in circumstances where the listener has the awareness of the native speaker’s language. This is where classroom learning situations most likely to happen.

According to Cook’s (1991) view of code switching is “to enable teachers to conduct the course even if the L2 proficiency of the students is low.” The use of code switching in the classroom would impart for a bilingual norm by means of which code switching is apparently an acceptable method of communication because it gives another method in second language teaching.

Lastly, putting code switching as a form of discourse function, Gumperz (1982) saw it as a choice to include non-verbal within a communicative encounter. This choice is established in an expected pattern of communication, specifically in the classroom.

Significance of the Study

The findings of the study would benefit the school administrators specifically in designing programs for intensifying the communication system in the academe. The programs heads may be aware of how this program be implemented through the teachers’ action. Moreover, school administrators or program heads would also of not just rationalizing it’s phenomenon but the student’s views may give them the idea of implementing measures whether to encourage or minimize the idea of code switching. Added to this, the subject teachers, specifically the English language teachers may also benefit in this study by being aware of how students perceive them during their lectures and conversations inside the classroom. Thereby, they will find means to improve the quality of English teaching methodology specifically in dealing effectively with the student’s difficulty in learning the language. According to Bautista, (2004), code switching has become another variety of language which is practiced by language teachers in order to clarify the lesson presented. Through switching to their first language, students can understand the idea in the lesson. Researchers may also benefit through the findings where they can relate to their quest of discovering in depth knowledge about the phenomenology of code switching.

Lastly, through this study, students would be aware of the implications of this practice in their learning wherein most students are not fully aware of this phenomenon.

Definition of Terms

For reason of clarity, I wish to define terms I used in my study:
Code Switching is the passage from one linguistic code to another one within the same discourse or, to be more precise, “the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or subsystems. (Gumperz, 1982)

In this study, code switching refers to the alternative language used by the teacher through mixing the English language with the native language in the classroom communication.

Three different types of code switching is introduced by Poplock (1994) He identified the tag-switching as the insertion of a tag phrase from one language into an utterance from another language. Second, inter-sentential switching occurs at a clause or sentence boundary, where each clause or sentence is in one language or another. Intra-sentential switching takes place within the clause or sentence and is considered to be the most complex form of switching. Third, intra-sentential switching takes place within the clause or sentence and is considered to be the most complex form of switching. This may be avoided by all but the most fluent bilinguals.

Communication Device in this study refers to switching strategy to organize, enhance and enrich speech and conversation in order to achieve communicative objectives.

Umians are the students of UM Tagum Campus who are enrolled in different literature subjects. UM Tagum is the largest a non- sectarian branch of University of Minanao located at Arellano street, Tagum City, Davao Del Norte. Delimitations and Limitations of the Study

This study was delimited on investigating the how code-switching is used as a device to achieve the communicative intents and serve certain functions in a conversation and perspectives of the high school students towards teacher’s code switching practices inside their classrooms. The informants of the study are those who are enrolled for the School Year 2012-2013. Specifically, informants would evaluate English language teachers as they manifest the phenomenon in actual classroom scenario.


Presented in this chapter is the survey of related literature previously conducted by the researchers. This includes the theory of code switching as a phenomenon, the reasons and functions of code switching, the influence of teachers in code switching, and the response of the students towards code switching.

While the nature of code-switching is spontaneous and subconscious, studies have reported that it is actually used as a communicative device depending on the switcher’s communicative intents (Tay, 1989; Myers-Scotton, 1995, Adendorff, 1996). Speakers use switching strategies to organize, enhance and enrich their speech in order to achieve their communicative objectives. The use of English as medium of instruction is an important part in the proficiency of the language. Teachers were asked to rate the extent of their support for various statement related to the use of English as a medium of instruction in their teaching. The set of statement was focused primarily on the role of English competency in determining the student performances in the course. (UGRU Journal 2010)

Findings showed that there was a strong support amongst teachers in facilitating intensive English classes prior to the beginning of their course. Response also emphasized the important role that English competency played in improving and even determining the student’s level academic attainment. (UGRU 2010)

In other Asian countries such as Singapore, Chinese who are fluent in their own language are reluctant to use English as medium of communication among themselves. It is difficult for local Chinese students to find natural opportunities to practice using the language inputs obtained in English lessons. (Li, 2008)

When implanting the foreign language as medium of instruction program, it is needed to understand and adapt to the real world of local students. When English medium instruction is introduced, which bear only little relationship to students’ previous experience and perceptions, the students undergo educational shock as well as cultural shock. Subsequently, the new medium may fail to convince students. A major failure cause of English medium of instruction innovation is connected with the lack of understanding the students, the social action, and personnel behavior within the host educational environment. (Chadarat, et al, 2008 Thai University)

In a qualitative study conducted by Haomban (2008) it reveals that Code switching data of a particular speech community is made more accountable by showing the connection between how a conversational context is shaped by its participants and the linguistic, grammatical structures the participants employ or call upon to achieve such conversational goals. The discourse-enhancing functions of code-switching have been much discussed in the literature. For example, speakers may code-switch to express solidarity and affiliation with a particular group (Gal, 1978; Milroy, 1987). In addition, code-switching can also be use to fill a linguistic or conceptual gap of the speaker (Gysel, 1992). It is seen as a communication strategy – it provides continuity in speech to compensate for the inability of expressions.

Studies have also shown that speakers code-switch to reiterate or emphasize a point (Gal 1979). By repeating the same point in another language, the speaker is stressing or adding more point on the topic of discussion. In addition, code-switching is also used for different pragmatic reasons, depending on the communicative intent of the speakers such as a mitigating and aggravating message (Koziol, 2000), effective production (Azhar & Bahiyah, 1994), distancing strategy (David, 1999) etc.

In order to connect to conversations, Muthusamy, (2004) discussed the communicative functions of code switching and also the sociolinguistic, cultural and pedagogic reasons for code switching in the Malaysian context. In this study, Tamil speaking University students who have enrolled as undergraduate students in the University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia were involved wherein the data were collected from these students while they were interacting in different domains viz. classroom, university campus, family, market, neighborhood. It was found out that these students were competent in the both languages.

Gibbons (1983) studied language attitudes and code-switching in Hong Kong between Cantonese and English. It showed that when Chinese speakers use English with one another they give an impression of status and westernization. When they use Cantonese, they give an impression of Chinese humility and solidarity. However, a mix was considered ill-mannered, show-off, ignorant, not good-looking, aggressive, and proud from the Cantonese point of view.

In the light of these area investigated about code switching, I am more interested in studying about the college freshmen in their view about this particular topic wherein only few researchers have delved into. Code Switching as an Advantageous Strategy

Fromkin et al Rodman, Hyams, (2007) believed that code switching reflects the grammars of both language which functions simultaneously; they believe that it is not a “bad grammar” or “broken English”. Usually, the speaker would opt to code-switch when speaking to bilinguals because they know that they can speak both languages and that they know the grammatical structure that governs in it.

Dumanig, (2008) in his study about analyzing code switching using conversation analysis, provides a wide-raging analysis on the occurrence of code switching interactions. It shows the ability of the speaker in both languages.

Code switching or code shifting according to Owens, (2008) is exhibited often by bilingual speakers especially when the two or more languages are used in a certain environment. This is the effect of functional and grammatical principles which are multifaceted, regulated phenomenon that is systematically influenced by context and situations.

The phenomenon of code-switching has encouraged more researchers to probe a deeper challenge of knowing its advantages in the linguistic arena specifically for L2 learners. Bautista (2000) studied on how and why Tagalog-English speakers code switch. In her study, it reveals that the fastest and the easiest way of saying something is through code switching. Then and Ting’s (2009) analysis of the teachers’ code-switching using Gumperz’s (1982) semantic model show that code-switching in the two English lessons were vastly different, with little code-switching in the teacher-facilitated lesson. The other lesson, in which English was taught as a content subject was similar to the science lesson in the frequent use and co-occurrence use of code-switching for reiteration and message qualification. The direction of the language switch from English to Bahasa Malaysia as well as the proportion of teacher talk in English suggests that the base language for teaching is still English, even for the science lesson, and code-switching is a necessary tool for teachers to achieve teaching goals in content-based lessons involving students who lack proficiency in the instructional language.

Sert (2011) cited that “code switching in natural contexts mentioned above may have commonalities with its observable applications in foreign language classrooms. In dealing with these functions, teachers’ perspectives and students’ perspectives will be handled separately in order to reflect a wide ranging understanding of the phenomenon in educational settings. In building relations between “the use and functions of code switching in authentic contexts” and “the use and functions of code switching in foreign language classrooms”, it should be kept in mind that a language classroom is a social group. Therefore a phenomenon related to naturally occurring daily discourse of any social group has the potential to be applicable to and valid for any language classroom.”

In the work of Macaro, (2005)he pointed out that code switching in the L2 classrooms should be considered a valuable communication strategy, perhaps of equal value to input modification by the teacher, an even possibly, approaching the value of interactional modification between the teacher and the learners. Forbidding the learners to code switch will result them not being able to learn how to use it sparingly and in a principled way.

Ustuniel’s (2005) study described on the relationship between pedagogical focus and language choice in the language teaching/learning environment of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at a Turkish university. In this work it presents the method of code switching which is teacher-initiated and ‘teacher-induced in the six beginner-level English classroom Conversation Analysis (CA) method of sequential analysis in relation to the pedagogical focus was used, applying an adapted version of the classic CA question for interaction involving code switching: “why that, in that language, right now?” In this study, it demonstrates that code switching L2 classroom is orderly and related to the evolution of pedagogical focus and sequence. Through their language choice, learners may display their alignment or misalignment with the teacher’s pedagogical focus.

Ugot (2009) worked on language choice, code-switching and code mixing in Biase in Nigeria which she has found out that the speakers may repeatedly switch for giving importance; or because a word in another language may be more suitable; or because of their perceptions of the speech situation, changes in content, the linguistic skills of their interlocutors, degrees of intimacy.

In the Philippine setting, Gonzales & Bajunid (1996) in their article in using two or three languages inside the classrom, they described the multilingual situation in the educational system of the country, a system inherent with the problems from the unequal development status of Filipino and English and the failure to meet manpower and material needs. In their work, they encourage a collaboration created by these two languages

Despite the efforts in giving emphasis of English proficiency, survey of institution, comments, and exam results show that there are still reasons for more improvement.

To sum up in this view, code switching reflects the grammar of the two language because the speaker it shows the knowledge on how to use two languages in speaking. Code switching usually happens in an environment where two or more languages are present in the actual learning process because this is the easiest way to express their thoughts.

Moreover, code switching is considered as a valuable tool in learning because it is used for reiteration. In this aspect, the speaker should be aware how code switching the function in the learning process.

Code Switching as a Pragmatic Discourse

As another language variety, code switching has been practically used by bilinguals. Gumperz (1982) suggested that linguists look at code switching as a discourse mode, or a communicative option which is available to bilingual member of the speech community on much the same basis as switching between styles or dialects is an option for the monolingual speaker. Switching in both cases serves an expressive function and has a pragmatic meaning. He further suggested that a number of discourse functions, which shifts from one language to another can mark. This usually happens between the direct and reported speech or quotations when it is reported in a conversation.

In a communicative competence, Romaine (1989) believed that code switching can also be used to specify an addressee as the recipient of the message, although switches of this kind may be to accommodate monolingual interlocutors by switching to their language. She further added that code switching in English is used to provide what is perceived to be the best way of saying something.

In a study which was conducted by Jones, (2005 it considers the relationship between code switched forms and borrowings and, via an analysis of flagging strategies, reveals that speakers seem to differentiate between these two types of contact form. The switching patterns of individual informants are also examined and it is demonstrated that a speaker’s attitude towards the dialect seems to have a bearing on the extent to which they code-switch. In this context, we see the connection of attitudes to the language.

The lack of ability to recall forms in conversation is likely to lead to code-switching according to the first part of what Myers-Scotton (1993) terms the ‘virtuosity maxim’, which she formulates as follows: ‘Switch to whatever code is necessary in order to carry on the conversation. This may the usual practice of the speaker when the flow of ideas need to be elicited so that there will be no interuption just because of missing word.

On discourse, Beghetto (2007) teacher need a metaphor on how to consider the value of creativity with the pedagogical supports. This is called ideational code switching which represents the ability of the student to move from intrapersonal to interpersonal creativity. Through allowing the students to express in their own words, discourse creativity can be maximized by students. Poplack (1985) supports this idea that speech functions served by code switching which are presumably potentially available to all speakers whether bilingual or monolingual. In this sense, creavity can be elicited when the speaker’s availability of words are present.

A mixed code has its own rules and constraints. How the mixed element behaves, with respect to the other elements in discourse unit of it is a part, will not be predictable from the individual constituent structure rules of the two systems in contact. (Singh, 1987) In discourse, especially the flow of the language, the speaker try to connect the missing word through mixing the native language.

The work of Suzzaine (1989) cited the attitudes towards code switching. According to her, there are some irregularities and shared judgment among community members on how code switching should be interpreted, and how speakers are to categorized on the basis of switching behavior. More careful monitoring of code switching in communities undergoing language shift since code switching is often characterized as communites undergoing rapid social and linguistic change. The examples that Suzzaine (1989) gave on this practical use is in Hongkong where it becomes a prestige where code switching may allow speakers to tread more neutral path between opposing identities symbolized in two languages.

To recapitulate, code switching is the combination of two languages in discourse mode which is used as communicative option. It is used to provide an option where the speaker can be able to express in his best way of saying something. Every individual who is bilingual can be potential to use mix rules in code switching.

The practical use of code switching involves the individual freedom to use due to two or more languages is learned by the speaker. He mixes the language from time to time with flexibility.

Code Switching for Instructional Management Purposes

All English teachers put their effort to help the communicative skills of the students. Wheeler (2005) insisted on only one version of English –“Standard English ” which whitewashes the many Englishes that are actually used in the world and erases cultural differences that make students and their perspectives unique and original. Lindblom (2005) discussed the use of code switching to teach standard English. In this study he found out that code switching works for instruction from elementary school through college wherein it becomes successful method for teaching Standard English. In the classroom environment, Andrews, & Rusher, (2010,) provided a second meaning of code switching as instructional technique in wherein the teacher strategically changes from language for purposes of vocabulary and reading comprehension. The results of four studies are examined that suggest that certain codes witching strategies support English vocabulary learning and reading comprehension as instructional strategies. Code switching inside the classroom, Greene & Walker (2004) in their article offers six recommendations that instructors can employ to encourage effective classroom code switching practices for students in the basic communication course; these are to reconsider attitudes, communicate expectations, demonstrate model language behavior, affirm students’language create culturally reflective assignments, and develop assessment methods. Another explanation for the functionality of code-switching in classroom settings is its repetitive function. In this case, the teacher uses code-switching in order to transfer the necessary knowledge for the students for clarity. In this way the teacher stresses importance on the English content for efficient comprehension. However, the tendency to repeat the instruction in native language may lead to some undesired student behaviours. A learner who is sure that the instruction in foreign language will be followed by a native language translation may lose interest in listening to the former instruction which will have negative academic consequences; as the student is exposed to foreign language discourse limitedly. (Qing, 2010)

As a teacher for quiete some time, I find that teaching English is a challenging part for me particularly in presenting the grammar and structure of the English language, I always make it a point to my students that I have to make better strategy to let them know the structure works and how they should put it in application. Code switching comes in this part. Just like in the study of Chung, (2000) it examined the purposes of code switching and how it is used as a communicative strategy between Korean-English bilinguals. The analysis also posted that code switching functions as a communicative strategy for facilitating family communication by lowering language barriers as well as by consolidating cultural identity. It resulted on the awareness that code switching is a versatile strategy to meet the complex communicative demands between or within generations of an immigrant family. According to Damra, & Qudah, (2012 many teachers believe that the use of the native language can be useful in explaining structural grammar rules. They consider that teachers who know the students’ native language have more advantages over the ones who do not. This supports the idea of Atkinson (2012) which contends that the potential of the mother tongue as a classroom resource is so great that its role should merit considerable attention and discussion in any attempt to develop. On the other hand, proponents on the use of native language pointed out that the use should be selective and not seen as just as easy option.

He further added that the key for the teacher seems to be using the mother tongue appropriately and avoiding the overuse, which will make learners feel that they cannot comprehend the input of the foreign language until it is translated into their native language. Thus, the complete removal of native language in the language classrooms is not appropriate. In an adverse result of the study which was conducted by Baldevia & Sumacle (2011) which examined on the relationship of the level of code switching to the oral English language of the students, it was found out the as the frequency of code switching increases, the oral proficiency of the respondents decreases. They both recommended that the use of the native language be minimized. As the learner acquire another language, the L1 is the means of connecting to the L2 which results to do code switch more often. In the case study of Bauer (2000) it shows the case of Elena’s different levels of code switching which offered several explanations for the different codeswitching patterns across the reading events (demand of the text, encoding of text, influence of reader’s style, and child’s goal). The findings suggest that Elena’s book interactions in both language did not appear to confuse her and that her code switching was systematic. These findings suggest that bilinguals systematically code switching but extend these findings by showing how a young bilingual systematically code switched across different contexts. In the context of classroom code switching Ali & Maryam (2011) studied on the EFL classroom contexts at tertiary level in Iran, where English instruction tends to begin late at secondary schools. They perceived code switching as useful regarding various functions that served Iranian EFL classrooms. The EFL instructors believed that code‐switching was an effective teaching strategy when facing low English proficient learners. Analysis of data revealed that triggered code switching manifestations in both EFL contexts were different, with the greater frequency of code switching taking place in engineering ESP context. Moreover, ʹproper nounsʹ and ʹlexical transferʹ were the frequently observed types of trigger words responsible for code switching in general and ESP contexts respectively. The findings in the study of Wilkerson (1985) indicated that the instructors use code switching as a strategy to save time, avoid ambiguity, and establish authority. Variation in the amount of English spoken by instructors may influence student’s articulation between courses and the ultimate success of language programs. Teachers find means to deliver the lessons to the level of understanding of the students. Another local study conducted by Ecle (2010) on code switching practices of the faculty, the findings showed that faculty used code switching more often inside the classroom during lectures, discussions, and illustrations. Faculty and students agreed that code switching is a helpful tool in understanding the lesson. In summary, code switching in the classroom works for instructional purposes from elementary school to college which was used as a successful method for teaching standard English. This has become the strategy to support English vocabulary learning and reading comprehension. Reconsider attitudes, communicate expectations, demonstrate model language behavior, affirm students’language create culturally reflective assignments, and develop assessment methods are six recommendations instructors can employ to encourage effective classroom code switching practices. Code switching is communicative strategy for facilitating family communication which becomes a versatile strategy to meet the complex communicative demands. With the optimistic view of code switching, we can really see the usefulness to language development. Looking at the other side of code swithching, Brooks (1993) stated that teachers minimize the value of the target language when they translated, rely on English or engaged in classroom code switching, or practice the switching between the language studied and the native language. This was supported by Freeman & Freeman (2010) which stated that code switching as a “filler” to continue the flow of communication process, but it is an indicator of a weakness in the second language, a substantive element. To sum up, instructors are confident that code switching is an effective teaching strategy to low English proficient learners. Faculty used code switching more often inside the classroom during lectures, discussions, and illustrations. Faculty and students agreed that code switching is a helpful tool in understanding the lesson. On the other hand, code switching can be an indicator of weakness because sometimes, the target language is minimized.

Teacher’s Influence on Code Switching

Singh (2007) mentioned in his work on new paradigms in teaching English in the new era that the English teacher is the only one of the many experts who is at the student’s immediate disposal. This means that a teacher can be a great influence and a model to his learners in which they either consciously or unconsciously emulate their teacher’s manner of speaking.

Bilingual teachers use two languages to teach the academic content. within the context of lessons. They switch between the languages in at least three ways: (a) spontaneously, (b) for direct translation, or (c) intentionally. Teachers may decide on the spot when L1 should be used and when a switching to L2 is appropriate in order to enable comprehension and meaningful involvement of students (Cook 2001)

Cook (2001) further explained the purposes of code switching during lectures. She believed that SLA research does not give justification for avoiding L1 or else its logical use can be: a way into the meaning of the second language; a short cut in explaining tasks; a way of explaining grammar; a way of demonstrating the classroom is a real L2 situation, not a fake monolingual situation. Jacobson and Faltis (1990) developed NCA in which teachers put into equilibrium in the use of two language within a single lesson. This just shows that code-switching in the university classroom is both inevitable and necessary. This is a dynamic aspect off the communicative process and not just a portion of communicative resources of a bilingual selection.

Cook (2001) clearly states, teachers should remember that: the classroom is often a natural code-switching situation; there is nothing wrong or peculiar about code-switching; principles exist for code-switching in the classroom. As it is, the teacher plays a very important role in the success of L2 acquisition of the learner. He influences in the language formation is very necessary interaction of the learning process.

On the other hand, Zabrodskaja (2007) cited that when the teacher knows the language of the students, the classroom itself is a setting that potentially elicits code-switching. Code-switching is inevitable in the classroom if the teacher and students share the same languages and should be regarded as a natural component of a bilingual’s behavior.

Wilkerson, (2008) believed that English as a target language in the classroom must be practiced purposely while teachers make interaction inside the classroom. In the findings of her study, teachers recognize the importance of target language during classroom instruction.

Then and Ting (2004) studied on the direction of the language switch from English to Bahasa Malaysia and the proportion of teacher talk in English wherein English is still the base language for teaching English science lesson. Code-switching is an essential tool for teachers to attain teaching goals in content-based lessons involving students who lack proficiency in the instructional language.

Sert, (20110 emphasized that “the teachers’ use of code switching is not always performed consciously; which means that the teacher is not always aware of the functions and outcomes of the code switching process. Therefore, in some cases, it may be regarded as an automatic and unconscious behavior. Nevertheless, either conscious or not, it necessarily serves some basic functions which may be beneficial in language learning environments.”

In this case, Owens, (2007) gave a summary on the function of code switching in twofold. First, this may be a support for the preservation of the first language while the second language is acquired or learned. Second, code-switch may confirm that both languages are used once the two languages are learned.

Hughes, et al (2006) studied on code switching among bilingual and limited proficient students as possible indicator of giftedness. In this study, it tackled on code switching inside the classroom. It made mention the five reasons why code switching is used by teachers: for translation; as a “we code” (Gumperz, 1987) for establishing and maintaining solidarity of membership; for giving procedures and directions; for clarification
especially for new vocabulary; and as a checking for understanding.

Pennington, (1995) observed five Cantonese-English speaking classroom teachers during writing lessons in Hong Kong. In this study, it was concentrated on teacher’s language shifting. It was found out that teacher’s functional distribution was on the following: individual talk, defining words, giving instructions, expediting lessons, explicating ideas, reading in the first language, tagging as utterance, discussion, expressing solidarity (we code) disciplining and motivating.

In a study conducted by (Qing, 2010) about examining the code-switching practices of teachers of non-English Majors, it analyzes the factors of teachers’ English/Chinese code switching in EFL teaching for non-English majors. It also interpreted the collection of data and discuss EFL teachers’ awareness of their actual use of code-switching in classroom and helpthem develop an appropriate attitude towards its role in EFL teaching.

Duran (1994) cited in her article about toward a better understanding of code switching and interlanguage in bilinguality with its implications for bilingual instruction emphasized that “whether code switching is used to fill a gap or if it is a conscious desire to mix the two languages to create new forms, the language created in most code-switches has internal linguistic consistency and validity for the learner’s deep structure. While the surface structure also has bilingual consistency and validity to those communicating with it, for language separatists and language purists it is otherwise. First language purists fear that the use of the second language with the first will either keep the first one from growing or debase it or cause confusion in the speaker’s mind. Second language purists think the same. It may just be that both interlanguage and code-switching are needed for many reasons, one of which may be in order not to debase, erase, or cause cognitive confusion to each language. Wouldn’t that surprise us all?”

Another study conducted by Sibayan (1993) who examined the pedagocial strategies used by teachers and the learning strategies used by the students. One of the pedagocial strategies which was found out is code switching. Teachers and students employ this strategy for clarification, explanation and restatement Lai, (1996) found out that code switching helped learners appreciate their learning because they have the ability to understand the input of the teacher. The comprehensible input also allowed them to feel less stressful and to become more comfortable to learn since they are comfortable with the environment, without any unnecessary anxiety. This was pointed out by Krashen (2009) in his second language acquisition theory which he quote that “the best methods are therefore those that supply comprehensible input in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are ‘ready’, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not forcing and correcting production”.

In summary, teachers is considered as an expert for student’s immediate disposal. They can be a great influence in the language learning of the students. Code switching is a way to give meaning for a second language. It is a short cut to explain task and grammar. In the classroo, code switching is inevitable wherein teachers become an equilibrium in the communicative process. They play a very important role in the success of learning.

Code switching is an essential tool to attain objectives in the content-based instruction although it is not performed all the time but regarded as automatic and unconscious behavior.

Student Response Towards Code Switching

Gleason and Ratner (1998) explained in his work about “growing up bilingual” that code switching is considered evidence that bilingual speaks neither language really well. In fact, though code-switch utterances sometimes occur because the speaker know both language or but because the speaker has forgotten the word or does not know the word in the language being spoken, children often correct their code-switch which pointed out that they know both the language.

For children or for learners, Owens, (2007) emphasized that code switching appears to be a function of the participants in a conversation. The three characteristics of the participants are necessary. These are their perceived language proficiency, their language preference, and their social identity.

Sultana and Gulzar (2010) conducted a qualitative case study on “Code Switching as a Teaching Strategy” at NUML in the Faculty of English Language, Literature and Applied Linguistics which they found out that code switching is considered as the most creative aspect of bilingual discourse but in teaching and learning a foreign language situation, it is primarily seen as adverse. The study explored whether code switching and code mixing was being utilized at the Masters level for teaching literature and linguistics. Analysis has shown that teachers utilize different codes while teaching the same lesson and it becomes a useful teaching strategy for various purposes.

Sert (2011) emphasized that “the first function of student code switch is equivalence. In this case, the student makes use of the native equivalent of a certain lexical item in target language and therefore code switches to his/her native tongue. This process may be correlated with the deficiency in linguistic competence of target language, which makes the student use the native lexical item when he/she has not the competence for using the target language explanation for a particular lexical item. So, “equivalence” functions as a defensive mechanism for students, as it gives the student the opportunity to continue communication by bridging the gaps resulting from foreign language incompetence.” With the assessment of the English language proficiency in every school, it shows that students are still inadequate with the English language. As cited in the study of Grace Shangkua Koo (2008) at the University of the Philippines, it reveals that as observed in 1914, it showed low level of English proficiency.

Educators around the globe have emphasized the English language proficiency of all learners in order to cope with the standard of global English. This is supported by all levels of education that every student should be competent in his language skills. Countries around the globe, specifically in Asia, where English language is considered as L2 strive to keep its proficiency to the norm of proficiency.

Palmer, (2009) explained, that “code switching is a natural part of being bilingual. Yet, two-way immersion programs are known to insist upon separation of languages, discouraging both teachers and students from drawing on both linguistic codes at once.” In her study, it was found out that, the second-grade classroom the children continued to code-switch as they find ways to obtain their linguistic means which the teacher instituted a motivation system to discourage code switching. Part of the conclusion agrees with recent research in encouraging teachers to allow conversational code switches while expecting students to produce monolingual spoken and written texts.

Along with the development of foreign language proficiency, English language became the medium of instruction in all subject areas. In this case, all learners must be proficient in order to become competent. But as a second language, there are ways in which communication flows spontaneously. There is where bilingualism comes in. With this phenomenon, code switching has become prevalent in the sense that it bridges the communication gap.

The types of switching which were identified as tag switching, inter-sentential switching, and intra-sentential switching have been manifested by English language teachers inside the classroom while having lectures and interactions with their students. From the related studies mentioned above, code switching shows that the speaker is competent in both languages. It is a necessary tool for attaining teaching goals especially to less proficient learners. The classroom is usually the natural code-switching situation although teachers do this consciously or unconsciously. On the other hand, students opt to code-switch since they both understand the language and the structure that underlies with it. This is known as equivalence of the language. In the light of these inter-related concepts, ideas and theories which were discussed by the researchers, the base of the study is established in a qualitative investigation. In this study, the discussion of the related studies is grouped into five topics. Code switching as an advantage strategy relates how other researchers viewed code switching as something that gives optimistic result to the bilingual. Code switching as a pragmatic discourse relates the practical use of code switching involves the individual freedom to use of two languages. Code switching plays a very important role to instructional usage which relates other researchers findings as applied to classroom setting. In the classroom, code switching is inevitable where the teacher unconsciously or functionally code switch can affect the students’ language learning. Students’ response to code switching is said to be “equivalence” that functions as the student’s opportunity to continue bridging for language competence.


Discussed in this chapter is the methodology used in this study. This includes the research methods and design, role of the researcher, informants of the study, the method of data collection, and data analysis.

Research Design

With my intention to gain better understanding on the perspectives of the students in their learning particularly in the functions of code-switching, I chose qualitative research study because I believed that this will lead me to learn, discover, and prove theories and studies which have already been studied. Phenomenological study would be best suited as the research design because this is a phenomenon that is observed in the teaching practice today. Raagas (2010) emphasized that this design would look into the multiple perspective of the situation and make generalizations of what is something like. In this design, it depends almost exclusively on lengthy interviews with carefully selected sample participants. Furthermore, Moustakas (1994) pointed out the principles in phenomenological research principles has a necessity of treating experiences and behavior as integrated parts of the single whole. In this study, the perspective of the students towards language teachers code-switching gives a description in their views towards it. Silverman, (2000) mentioned in his work that methods used by qualitative researchers exemplify that they can grant a deeper understanding of social phenomena. In this sense, deep understanding commence in inner experiences and language. The phenomenon of code-switching is prevalent not just in informal setting of learning, but it is also considered as an alternative language for a particular function. Mirriam, et al, (2002) added that in the phenomenological study, it addresses to the common questions of everyday experiences believed to be important sociological or psychological phenomena of the typical group of people wherein it focused in describing the incidents from the perspectives of those who have experienced it. In this study, the college students of University of Mindanao – Tagum Campus are the informants who have experienced directly with their teacher’s code switching inside the classroom. My desire to obtain the student’s acuity of code switching in the classroom setting has directed me to use the phenomenological study. According to Creswell (1998), personal experiences are considered as phenomenal. In this study, I am interested in knowing the functions of code – switching and how the students react towards this code switching phenomenon which they have experienced in the classroom.

Role of the Researcher

In this study, I took the role as an observer. Aspiring to come up with quality reasons of students’ response to code switching, my task was to facilitate informants to give their views. Aside from this, in order to gather the needed data, I observed and recorded a class discussions my co-teachers in UMTC. I chose the Literature and English Language class because these subject have a very rich source of authentic discussion, task and activities since students will be asked about their reflections, ideas, comments, reactions and conclusions. After that I recorded some of the teachers’ discussion, conducted interview with the participants and recorded their responses. The recorded speech was transcribed and speech that contained code-switching was identified and extracted.

As an observer of these participants, I have observed that the teacher’s and student’s code switching are very much prevalent especially during in depth discussion. The teacher often asks them to say it again in straight English. But, it would take a few gaps of minutes before a student could be able to explain or the worse is, the explanation is stopped. So, teacher will be forced to code switch into their first language L1 to elaborate best her communicative intent. With my desire to achieve proficient communication skills, I find it necessary to investigate the functions of code – switching and the student’s perception on code switching which is practiced by English teachers inside the classroom whether it has made a contribution to their learning in the language or has contributed to a drawback in their language learning. In this study, during the start of the process, I gave the definition of code switching and discussed to them the types of code switching that they may have observed while the teacher is having classes. According to Kieglemann, (2002) the researcher’s role is to facilitate the questions of the research to the informants so that they can share their experiences. Moreover, in this qualitative phenomenological study, I consider the researcher’s also the reflexive role in which I was the researcher who both facilitated and analyzed the research’s procedure and involve in the instrument through which the data was collected. I considered Patton’s (1990) suggestions on ways which a researcher might unduly influence the data of a qualitative inquiry. First, the researcher’s presence which will take the reaction of the participants. Second, the professional incompetence in which the researcher has taken preparation particularly in this subject Lastly, the value imposition which will be free from biases

Research Participants

Informants in this study were the 20 college students from different Literature and English Language classes of University of Mindanao Tagum Campus. To be specific, there were 10 informants participated in the in-depth interview and 10 informants participated in the journal as written document. This exceeds the minimum requirement of ten informants for in-depth interviews according to Creswell (2007). With my desire to describe the functions of code switching in conversation I observed 3 English language teachers and 3 for Literature teachers in the said institution and observed and recorded their classroom demonstration. The data were analyzed according to the situation that triggered the code-switching. Situation here means the intentional functions of code-switching that the speakers use to achieve their communicative objectives, that is, how code-switching can convey the speakers’ intent. To determine the functions of the code-switching, the categories proposed in the research literature were used to examine the representative switches: mitigating and aggravating messages (Koziol, 2000), effective production (Azhar & Bahiyah, 1994), distancing strategy (David, 1999), signaling topic change (Fishman, 1972; Hoffman, 1991), dramatizing key words (Auer, 1988), framing discourse (Koike 1987) and personalizing messages (Koziol, 2000). To get the parameters of the population of UMTC college students, a purposive sampling was used. Silverman, (2007) suggested that purposive sampling will allow the researcher to illustrate the process where the researcher is interested to work and prefer the sample on a carefully on this basis. Raagas (2010) further suggested that a purposive sampling of five to twenty five individuals will be used in the phenomenological study. In this study, it is within the suggested range number of participants. These participants were Literature and English Language students from different colleges of who have represented voices from the whole class. The direction and results of this study were generated from the results of the English language and Literature teachers’ observed and recorded classroom demonstration and phenomenal experiences by these college students of University of Mindanao – Tagum Campus.

Data Collection

The following steps were employed in gathering the data:

First, through purposive sampling technique, the participants were identified. They were requested to sign a consent form and agree to the condition stipulated that their participation is voluntary and that they were willing to impart their knowledge as needed in the study.

Second, the participants were given an orientation about the study and were asked to participate through recorded observation for the Literature and English language teachers and, written document and an in-depth interview for the students as means of data collection.

Third, the participants were given ample time to write a journal as their written document about their teacher’s code switching in the classroom as a record of their experience. The written documents and an in-depth interview were the suggested means of data collection.

Written Documents: Raagas, (2010) suggested that throughout the data collection period, a participant will be asked to record his observations and keep a journal of his daily experiences inside the classroom. According to Creswell, (1998) the reflections of these experiences will serve as the data for the study. In this study, the informants were asked to write a description of their language teacher which describes his/her faculty, fluency, proficiency and the teaching strategy on how he/she handles difficult lessons. Bailey (2006) further added that reflections of experiences includes behavior or attitude. In this study, the journal is the written document of their observation of the teacher’s behavior, attitude and language teaching styles.

In-depth Interviews: In this study, in-depth interview was used in order to gain more quality and quantity information. Raagas (2010) emphasized that through in-depth interview, there would be more in-depth, representation, efficacy, efficiency, and value. In this study, the nondirective in-depth interview was employed so that the informants were given maximum freedom to respond within the parameters of the topic. Data Analysis

In the analysis of data, three steps were employed patterned to the study of Gempes, et al (2009) namely: data reduction, data display and conclusion drawing, and verification. Data display of Amparo (2011) was used as the model for the presentation. After transcribing the class discussion and interview, statements that relate to the topic were separated into core ideas that reflect into specific thought. The responses of the participants were grouped into major themes that reflect the various aspects of the phenomenon.

Triangulation was used in order to map out and described more concisely the intensity and complication of the problem. According to Raagas (2010), this method is the combination of methods used to produce more empirical materials to for a more precise, thorough and objective representation of the study. Silverman, (2007) added that the written document observed by the informants and the responses of this interview can be triangulated. Denzin (1970) who is known as the advocate of triangulation emphasized that triangulation can serve to overcome partial views and present something like a complete picture.


This chapter presents the results of the data gathered from the informant’s responses on the qualitative research questions:

  1. How code-switching is used as a device to achieve the communicative intents of a conversation in a bilingual classroom?
  2. What are the students’ perceptions on teachers’ code switching in learning English Language?

After the period of conducting an in-depth observation and interview with the informants, their responses about code switching have thrilled me to see the results of the study. I have observed that each of them freely gave his/her views on code switching. The data were gathered from the in-depth interview and were recorded through audio recorder. Their responses were transcribed and were carefully assessed though making meticulous process of categorization of themes. The other 10 informants participated in the journal which served as the written document in which they recorded their observations inside the classroom during the English and Literature class. The journals were encoded and were fastidiously processed through drawing out core ideas and were classified into major themes. The 20 informants were college students of UMTC. From the informants’ responses through in-depth interview and journal, the data were drawn through themes which were tabulated and patterned after the study of Amparo (2011).

Functions of code-switching to achieve the communicative intents of conversation in a bilingual classroom

The research question is resolved based on the observed code switching communication strategy of English language and Literature teachers from different year level teachers of UM Tagum Campus. The data present a very rich description of speakers’ use of code-switching as a personal communication strategy. The data clearly illustrate how speakers organized, enhanced and enriched their speech through code-switching strategies such as signaling social relationships and language preferences, obviating difficulties, framing discourse, contrasting personalization and objectification, conveying cultural -expressive message, dramatizing key words, lowering language barriers, maintaining appropriateness of context, showing membership and affiliation with others and reiterating messages. These findings are discussed below.

To signal social relationships

Code-switching can also be seen as a tool to indicate the social relationships between the participants. The data illustrate that teacher code-switched either to level the rank or to wield power between the participants. The following data show that the teacher switched to Tagalog pronouns to indicate her strategy to level the rank between her and the participants. Teacher: The message of the story “She walks in beauty” has a very significant meaning sa atin, right? We have to appreciate ourselves wholeheartedly because tayo ay…., ahm.., you know all creation of Almighty Father. Ikaw… siya… all of us have talents and skills that are distinctly unique with each other. So we must not feel like we’re so hopeless because others possess with lots of skills and talents coz uhmmm what matters most is that lahat tayo ay pantay-pantay sa mata ng Diyos.

As can be seen clearly, the use of Tagalog pronouns was used to show equal relationship between her and the participants of different status, age and familiarity. In Tagalog speech behavior, it is very important to observe the use of pronouns or forms of address for people of different social roles. This confirms earlier research on Tagalog bilinguals’ communication which reported that the use of Tagalog pronouns can avoid rank signaling (Calicdan, 2001) and equalize power relations between speakers (Reyes, 2000). In addition, the use of Tagalog pronouns can also be seen as a deliberate effort to avoid the serious implication of not adhering to the mores of addressing people among the Filipinos. As exemplified by Asmah (1992) a simple error in the use of pronoun or forms of address, or a slip of the tongue in some language act, may not be easily forgiven (p.44).

To signal language preference

Studies have also shown that speakers tend to code-switch to fill in the lexical gaps in the language of interaction. The data from the present study confirmed this. Speakers maintained the Tagalog terminology for technical jargons and referential terms rather than using the English equivalence. The analysis shows that such maintenance arises, perhaps due to habitual use of the terms, training received in Tagalog, the comprehensibility of the terms in English compared to Tagalog, and the availability of the English terms in the speakers’ linguistic repertoire. However, a closer look at the data shows that speakers did not only code-switch due to the lack of vocabulary, but rather as a language of preference. Teacher: As you observed on the story, Alamat of Mt. Kan-Laon. Laon sharpened the kawayan, right? Through his what we called itak which is used for haunting fish in the river… Students.. are you still following me??? Then as he entered in the downtown village, there he met Kang, she had a very beautiful face na may balingkinitang katawan and a very sweet voice that’s why no wonder all men in the village were allured to her God-given prowess. …(For closure…) Okay class to give a little background of this famous legend, Alamat of Kanlaon is very famous in some provinces of Visayas because it also depicts the rich culture and tradition of people living in the said place and it also describes what type of people living in near areas.

As can be seen from the excerpt, the speaker’s use of Tagalog referential terms such has ‘alamat’ (line 1), kawayan and itak (lines 2,3) and balingkinitang katawan (line 6) was not because of the lack or unfamiliar terms in English but because these tagalong terms are more powerful and more familiar to the students. In addition, it seemed that the Tagalog version was preferred as the word ‘alamat’ was used more compared to its English version ‘legend’. Romaine (1995, p. 143) points out that, Although it is popularly believed by bilingual speakers themselves that they mix or borrow because they do not know the term in one language or another, it is often the case that switching occurs most often for items which people know and use in both languages. The bilingual just has a wider choice – at least when he or she is speaking with bilingual speakers. In effect, the entire second language system is at the disposal of the code-switcher.

To obviate difficulties

Teacher: There are some ways of expressing your reactions to the story A cask of Amontillado.. Build.. no I mean create no.. no .. no.. .. alright gumawa (Make) kayo ng short reflective essay not more than 250 essay. | 1234| A closer look at the data show that code-switching is far from random. Speakers seemed to code-switch to obviate difficulties in finding the correct referential terms in Tagalog. This can be clearly seen in the following excerpt.

The data illustrate evidence that the speaker felt that she faced difficulties in finding the right referential term in English for the word make (lines 2, 3), so the speaker code switched into tagalog and prefers to use the tagalog version of make which is “gumawa”. The fillers ‘uhm’ (line 2), show that she was looking for the right word between ‘build’ and ‘create’ and found it both inadequate so she preferred the tagalong term which is ‘gumawa.’ In terms of accuracy and adequacy of the choice of words, the former (build) would be inappropriate to use because this term is basically used in the field of engineering and construction while the latter (create) sounds inadequate because the term is more appropriate to apply in different activities with authentic output such as creating a planetarium, portfolio, dance steps, mock-ups and the like. The speaker’s attempt for the continuous used of English had caused her confusion as to which term to use. Thus, she decided to revert to the Tagalog present tense term (gumawa) as she felt that it was the correct Tagalog verb to use. The word ‘alright’ (line 3) implies that she had given up looking for the right word in English and the Tagalog term would obviate any confusion.

To frame discourse

Another function of code-switching is to attract and hold listeners’ attention. This is done by framing the discourse with the use of frequent ‘ingklitiks’ in Tagalog terms like ‘o’ and ‘di ba’, and routines like ‘tama’ and ‘kuha’. According to Koike (1987), this type of code-switching normally occurs at boundaries as an intensifying strategy to emphasize the utterance, hold the listeners’ attention and move the action forward. The following is one of the extensive evidence found in the situated discourse. Teacher: Alright you group yourselves into 4. Please select one representative to come in front and pick for the topic that each of the group is going to portray. O here are the topics. But before that please answer the following questions. You have to identify the figurative languages present in the poem, “How Do I Love Thee”…. Di ba? I told you yesterday to review all the figures of speech that we had discussed last week. Tama? Remember? After that you are given 3 minutes preparation and 3 minutes presentation for the role playing… alright… Kuha???

As can be seen from the data, the body of the discourse was in English, framed by the Tagalog inglitiks, ‘o’ and ‘di ba’? (lines 3,7) and interactive routine terms like ‘tama’ (line 8) and ‘kuha’ (line 11). The switches occurred at the beginning of the utterance and were used to capture the audience’s attention before moving on the next instruction of the group activity.

To contrast personalization and objectification

Code-switching may also be employed to show a contrast between personalization and objectification. A speaker may use a language in talking about his or her personal feelings while using another language in describing facts or objectives. This can be illustrated in the following example. Teacher: So whatever what my feedbacks and comments mean to you. All you need to do is to concretize and realized all of those. Uhmm, Humihingi ako ng pasenxa sa mga walang written reports na napalabas hindi ko ginusto eto pero napag usapan na natin na ang walang assignment ay hindi makakasali ng klase.(Please accept my apology to those who do not have written reports. It’s not my intention to make you out in the class but I have no choice because we all already agreed to this policy)| 1234567|

It can be seen that the speaker used English in objective-related utterance (line 1) and used Tagalog version for the utterance that involved personal feelings (lines 4-7). Fotos (1990) found similar findings in her study on Japanese-English conversational switching among bilinguals. She found that English as a foreign language (EFL) learners tend to talk about their feelings in Japanese and use English for factual, task-related utterances.

To convey cultural-expressive message

Some cultural expressions uniquely belong to a particular language and cannot be expressed in another language. Speakers often switched from the language of interaction when it comes to cultural expressions as they feel that the language will not be able to convey the intended meaning. Excerpt 6 above is a good representation of this. We all know that the concept of apologizing or asking for forgiveness for any shortcomings at the end of any social event is the cultural norm in Philippines, particularly among the Tagalogs. The phrase ‘Humihingi ako ng pasenxa sa mga walang written reports na napalabas hindi q ginusto eto pero napag usapan na natin na ang walang assignment ay hindi makakasali ng klase.’ as used by the speaker is a typical utterance for this purpose and it is uttered with sincerity. To say it in another language does not really convey the sincerity and intention of asking the forgiveness. This prompted the speaker to switch from English to Tagalog. This linguistic behavior has also been observed in other communities. For example, Mendieta-Lombardo and Cintron (1995) found that the Spanish community in America would use the Spanish words to ‘express emphatically Hispanic concepts and to evoke emotional and cultural associations that the English correlate would fail to convey’ (p. 567).

To dramatize keywords

The data show that speakers also code-switch for a dramatic effect in order to attract listeners’ attention. It can be represented by the deliberate use of words that can emphasize the speakers’ point, or expressed in the forms of inventive expression as shown in the following excerpts. Teacher: I really don’t like when these things happened next time. It’s so nakakahiya! I already give the pointers for the quiz but still majority of you failed.|

The speaker code switched into Tagalog and hence preferred to use ‘nakakahiya’ as a strong emphasis in expressing her disappointment to her students who failed the exam. The teacher had used it effectively and created a significant impact as the students heard the word ‘nakakahiya’. She already knew that most of her students are just average and below average and using the word “shameful” would not sound effective. The speaker’s use of this English word within the matrix language, Tagalog, was to highlight his dislike over the matter. Such use resulted in the dramatic emphasis on the situation. To lower language barriers

Studies have shown that speakers accommodate and take into account other interlocutors’ linguistic factors in designing their speech (Giles & Smith, 1979; Bell, 1984; Giles, Coupland & Coupland, 1991). Speakers may diverge and converge their speech to accommodate the other interlocutors for effective communication. The data show that code-switching is employed as a strategy to lower the language barriers between the speaker and the audience due to the discrepancy in their language competence. The speaker was more fluent and competent in English compared to Tagalog. The audience, on the other hand, were competent Tagalog speakers and their level of competence in English was only marginal. The following data demonstrate how the speaker used code-switching as a strategy to compromise her own and the audience’s level of competence in Tagalog and English. Code-switching was, thus, seen as device to ensure understanding where she switched only at the topic-related words such as ‘panlapi’ (line 2), ‘unlapi’ and ‘hulapi’(lines 3).

Teacher: Alright, Alhessy’s question about the vocabulary is under panlapi.. uhmm… you know yung unlapi at hulapi.( Alright, Alhessy’s question about the vocabulary is under affixes.. uhmm… you know those prefixes and suffixes.| 123|

With this, we could plausibly observe that the speaker prefers to use the Tagalog grammar terms ‘panlapi’, ‘unlapi’ and ‘hulapi’ for easy
understanding in which students are more familiar of and not of its English versions like ‘affixes’, ‘prefixes’ and ‘suffixes.’

To maintain the appropriateness of context

The analysis of the data was in line with Blom and Gumperz’s (1972) concept of situational switching. The following excerpt illustrates how the teacher switched her language to keep up with the language used by the students in order to maintain the appropriateness to the context. Teacher: These are my objectives for today’s lesson: * Point out the dual dimensions that enrich the poem. * Explain the tone of the poem and structure used by the author. * Distinguish the different figures of speech found the poem. * Give the rhyming scheme and measurement of the poem.Teacher: But of course before we start, I want you to greet Assalamualaikum.Students: Waalaikumsalam.| 123456789101112|

It is the practice in Islam that when someone greets a person that it is compulsory for that person to give his or her reply. In this scenario, the assigned teacher of this class is a Muslim and she already conditioned the mind of his students that every time he entered in class and said ‘Assalamualaikum,’ his students must reply to him ‘Waalaikumsalam.’ According to him, he made it as his strategy to catch the attention of the students and be aware of the culture of how Muslim people greet with each other. It goes without saying that the Arabic greeting ‘assalamualaikum’ should be replied with ‘waalaikumsalam’. As can be seen from the excerpt, the students switched their language of interaction to Arabic in their reply to the teacher’s Arabic greeting as it was the most appropriate thing to do. A Muslim will not answer it in another language as it will not be appropriate and seem absurd.

To show membership and affiliation with others

Speakers also code-switch when they want to establish relationship between them. The following excerpt illustrates the speaker’s effort in enacting a relationship with the others through code-switching. Teacher: All agreed? What about our ka-berks at the back?(All agreed? What about our friends at the back?)| 12|

The teacher in this class did not really know the participants of the class discussion since she was just a substitute to an English language teacher who was scheduled to deliver her first baby. However, she tried to affiliate himself with the others by using the word ‘ka-berks’ when addressing them. The word ‘ka-berks’ is a colloquial term and according to Yen (1991) informal terms such as colloquialisms are widely accepted in the communication of the local people for ‘friend.’ The speaker’s choice of the native variety vocabulary indicates her effort in establishing friendship, affinity and solidarity with the participants. Even though he could use the informal Tagalong term ‘ka-berks’ word for ‘friend’, her use of the Tagalog word seemed as a strategy to show that although he was the superior, he considered the participants as her friends. The informal tagalog version ‘ka-berks’ gave the implication that he had elevated the participants’ status to his level. This is related to the prestige that language brings to its speaker.

To reiterate messages

Code-switching is also used to reiterate messages, which are, repeating what has been said earlier in another language with the intention of making the message clearer and more understandable. Teacher: If you want to convert it, each the weightage for quizzes is fifteen per cent…. Ok kinse porsyento…| 123|

It can be inferred from the data that the reiteration of the phrase ‘fifteen percent’ (line 2) was to ensure mutual understanding among the listeners. Thus, by reiterating the word ‘fifteen’ with ‘kinse porsyento’ the speaker was making sure that everybody in the context of the interaction understood it as ‘fifteen’ not ‘fifty’.

Perceptions of Students in Teachers’ Code Switching in Learning English Language

From the in-depth interview and the journal of the informants, perception of students on teachers’ code switching English language resulted into implies two outcomes: Code switching as a Boon and Code switching as a Bane.

Code switching as a Boon means that code switching strategy is advantageous to the students in terms of language learning. These are based on the positive responses of the informants. The core ideas which I have drawn from the data gathered from the in-depth interview and journal such as gives better understanding to the students, difficult words are translated, and students can expound ideas to the very best are the general responses of the informants. One of the informants in the in-depth interview pointed out: It really helps me a lot ma’am, kasi (because) there are many terms example in the subject literature mam na sobrang mahirap intindihan talaga (that is so difficult to understand) specially in poems. We all know that there are many idiomatic expressions and figures of speech that are very unfamiliar, So you know… uhm if you don’t have knowledge about that, of course di mo talaga maintindihan (you cannot understand it) and meaning ng poem. So every literary discussion that we have, we will feel so great if e translate ng teacher ang mga difficult terms into Tagalog or Bisaya. (DCIDICFSPC_09)

Likewise, in one of the responses in the in-depth interview, which I have found out that code switching is such a help in explaining student’s ideas. Ma’am, for me I agree that code switching is very helpful in us students ma’am. Ahm because example for me in my case, I have many many ideas in my mind, but I don’t have the confident to share it because I don’t know the correct terms to use. Hahahaha (laughing)… Bago ako mag explain mananghid jud q mam if pwede mag taglish so that maexpress jud naq og tarong ang naa sa akong utok.(Before I explain I asked permission first if it would be fine to use tagalog-English in explaining so that I could express my ideas in mind.) (DCIDICFSPC_11)

The typical responses on favorable outcomes of the informants are: gives better instruction, contextual ideas which are hard to process are understood, and students can relate to the topic. One of the responses of my in-depth interview with the informants supported by saying: Um… Yes, I do ‘cause I feel, sometimes like I feel that the teacher herself is more comfortable and can express herself in Tagalog or Bisaya language at times although the lesson is always explained in English. But then, when she relates it to the readings, readings or stuff like that, I think she feels more comfortable in it. So, that means, it is for use to relate and understand. (DCIDICFSPC_08)

The variant response of the informants as code switching as a boon such as encouraging student to speak up, students become optimistic towards acquiring knowledge, elicits student’s eagerness to learn, and helps dig deeper the true essence of the lesson. In one of the journals of the informants mentioned: If the ideas that I will explain is just very basic like if teacher will just ask the characters and the place of the story I can handle it by explaining in English. Nahhh! Pero ma’am if teacher’s question goes to the how’s and why’s questions. I am really forced to speak it in bisaya or tagalog so that I could expound my ideas deeper. Maglisod juq q ma’am. Di naq ma express ako pinahawd na answer.hahahaha (laughing). (It’s really hard for me ma’am. I cannot express my higher ideas)

These variant responses were supported by another informant in his journal by saying:

May be sometimes… because um, when she shifts to the native language, you are more comfortable of that. And sometimes we are more comfortable with the, how the, how the person speaks, of how the person acts. We aremore eager to learn rather than not being interested because for me, in my idea, ah, in order for a student to learn, in order to be successful, we have to, like, what we are doing, to what we are listening to. And if we are not set on it, we will not learn, if that’s the case. So, let’s respect that. (DCIDICFSPC_07)

Code switching as a Bane means that it has a disadvantage effect that gives interferences in the fluency of learning the English language. In general, the students do not find teacher’s code switching effective because spontaneity of speaking the English language is hindered. For me ma’am, I did not find it effective enough because I feel to myself that my English is not improving because the teacher is fond of explaining the topic in Tagalog or Bisaya so with that, I mean in that manner ma’am like that, my motivation to master the language ma’am will decrease because the teacher, like, in the first place is using Bisaya or Tagalong and not English. So for me, what’s then the use of practicing it?

Moreover, another variant response of the informant which made a significant result is that it belittles student’s ability to speak straight English because it is in the classroom where they can have the opportunity to practice spontaneous English. ‘Coz’ in my point of view if you answer the question and explain it in pure English, people will look you as very smart and intelligent person. So in my case, specially ma’am that my plan course in college is Political Science starting from now in, like, every discussion in class, I really try my best to express my ideas in straight English because every time I did this it gives me authority and confidence that you know… uhmm very helpful when I will be in college. (DCIDICFSPC_04)

The use of dual languages confuses the students, which is one of the variant responses of the informants. This was emphasized in one of the journals of the informants that said: I had just observed that if you code switch you can often have error the grammar. (DCJCFSPC_05)

For those who can understand and can speak better English, the effect of code switching for them becomes an obstacle in their focus in learning. I feel a bit, I lost my, my, ah, interest…ay… not really interest but my focus because when a teacher, when an English teacher for me, she is an English teacher, he or she should spontaneously speak English for us to changing the language. Being in the Philippines wherein English is, ah, we can’t deny is deteriorating. I have to say that um… it’s, it’s the English teacher has the responsibility to show to the students that, if we should learn proper English. (DCIDICFSPC_03)

In summary, based on the responses of the informants in an in-depth interview and their recorded observations and reflection through the journal, I have elicited the research question “What are the perception of students on the teachers’ code switching towards the student learning in English language major ideas were drawn and were grouped into two major themes as Code switching as a Boon and Code switching as a Bane. With this, it is very plausible code switching could have either a favorable and unfavorable outcome depending on how students perceive code switching as teachers’ strategy in teaching language.


This chapter deals with the discussions and conclusion of the results, which were drawn from the research questions. The goal of this phenomenological study was to underscore and expound the findings on the code-switching as a device to achieve the communicative intents of a conversation in a bilingual classroom and student’s perception of English language teachers’ code switching inside the classroom. The main reason for language teaching is to impart knowledge to the students on how to become effective in communication. Cook (1991; 2001) emphasized that teachers have to consider the external and internal goals of language teaching. One of the main goals is to bring students into a near native like way of communication. In my experience as a language teacher for the second language learner, I observed that students too, desire also to become better in the language because they believe that English Language will bring them to a better life. For the second language learner, code switching is the most common phenomenal experience that they encountered during the process of learning. In this framework of study, college students of UMTC were the informants wherein they share their voices about their English teacher’s code switching inside the classroom. In this quest of seeking the important information, the following qualitative research questions were answered: * How code-switching is used as a device to achieve the communicative intents in a conversation of a bilingual classroom? * What are the perceptions of students on teachers’ code switching in learning English language? How code-switching is used as a device to achieve the communicative intents in a conversation of a bilingual classroom? The data present a very rich description of speakers’ use of code-switching as a personal communication strategy. The data clearly illustrate how speakers organized, enhanced and enriched their speech through code-switching strategies such as signaling social relationships and language preferences, obviating difficulties, framing discourse, contrasting personalization and objectification, conveying cultural -expressive message, dramatizing key words, lowering language barriers, maintaining appropriateness of context, showing membership and affiliation with others and reiterating messages. The results of the study have shown that code-switching behavior is not random nor it is seen as a sign of linguistic deficient or inadequacy. Rather, it is a negotiation between language use and the communicative intents of the speakers. Code-switching is employed as a tool to achieve these intents. It is also used to express a range of social and rhetorical meanings. As pointed out by Myers-Scotton (1995), the choices that a speaker makes in using a language are not just choices of content, but are ‘discourse strategies’ (p. 57), that is, the choices are used more to accomplish the speaker’s intents than conveying referential meaning. What are the perceptions of students on teachers’ code switching in learning English language? There were two major outcomes which emerged from this research question. These are the Code switching as a Boon and Code switching as a Bane. First, Code switching as a Boon the is the constructive result that students perceived in their learning of the English language. Code switching gives better understanding to the students in their lesson because difficult words are translated to their native language. In here, they can expond their ideas without being interrupted with their handicap of not being spontaneous in English. This results are supported by the study of Andrews, & Rusher (2010) which confirmed these advantageous outcomes to the learning results to the students because they can be able to understand instruction and they can be able to relate to the topic introduced by the teacher. In some instances, context of the the language used by the teacher are sometimes hard to process in the level of the student’s understanding because their vocabulary is inadequate. Through code switching, students can have the confidence to speak and they become certain that they can acquire new knowledge because they can understand the deep significant ideas of the lesson. The second outcome that emerged in this study is Code switching as a Bane. The effects that delay the flow of the language learning process in the language of the students are the setbacks that teachers may have imparted. Sert (2010) study emphasized that code switching is not always performed consciously which means the moment of code switching may be just for a function or sometimes an act of unconscious code switching due to flexibility of dual languages. I found out that when teachers unconsciously code switch, students are prompted to imitate the teachers. This can become a detrimental effect to the goal of leading the students for a desirable target language. Ideas which may contribute to the deterence in spontaneous flow of students internalizing the ideas presented by the teacher during class presentation is that students perceive it to be something that distracts their focus toward heating the desired understanding because of code switching interference. I found out in this study that students who are already good in English desire to have their teachers to speak spontaneous English. They are very idealistic and expects that teachers would display the best possibe English. On the other hand, the informants also understand why teachers do code switch because they take the consideration on the level of comprehension of other students. To recapitulate that emerged from this study, the students perceived that teacher’s code switching is designed in signaling social relationships and language preferences, obviating difficulties, framing discourse, contrasting personalization and objectification, conveying cultural -expressive message, dramatizing key words, lowering language barriers, maintaining appropriateness of context, showing membership and affiliation with others and reiterating messages. There are effects of teacher’s code switching to the language learning of the students. These can a boon or bane in learning English Language.

Cite this page

The Benefit of Code Switching. (2016, Mar 29). Retrieved from

The Benefit of Code Switching
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment