Six Moments Of Code-Switching In Popular Culture

All this week, pegged to our launch, we've been doing stories of code-switching, the practice of mixing languages or ways of expressing yourself in conversation. In popular culture, celebrities and others have shown us all sorts of motivations of why someone might employ code-switching. Here are some of them:

1. You don't want to sound like an outsider.

2. You shift between two languages and two dialects in the same sentence, because that's the way your family rolls.

(The rapid-fire switch from English —> Cantonese —> Mandarin starts around 0:16.)

3. Because, really, that's the way your family rolls.

Gloria from "Modern Family" does a whole lot of code-switching on the show, especially when her family comes to town to visit baby Fulgencio. i i

Gloria from "Modern Family" does a whole lot of code-switching on the show, especially when her family comes to town to visit baby Fulgencio. Modern Family hide caption

itoggle caption Modern Family
Gloria from "Modern Family" does a whole lot of code-switching on the show, especially when her family comes to town to visit baby Fulgencio.

Gloria from "Modern Family" does a whole lot of code-switching on the show, especially when her family comes to town to visit baby Fulgencio.

Modern Family

4. You hate it when others try way too hard.

5. You know that translating isn't always easy.

6. You just want to "bro hug" Kevin Durant.


What are your favorite code-switching moments in popular culture? Share with us in the comments below, or tweet at us and use #codeswitching.

Kat Chow is a social media journalist and blogger for Code Switch. Follow her at @katchow, and the team at @NPRCodeSwitch.

Comments

 

Discussions about race, ethnicity and culture tend to get dicey quickly, so we hold our commenters on Code Switch to an especially high bar. We may delete comments we think might derail the conversation. If you're new to Code Switch, please read over our FAQ and NPR's Community Guidelines before commenting. We try to notify commenters individually when we remove their comments, but given that we receive a high volume of comments, we may not always be able to get in touch. If we've removed a comment you felt was a thoughtful and valuable addition to the conversation, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing codeswitch@npr.org.