Solved: Relative Merits of Code-Switching or Code-Meshing Unit 3 Essay

English 101

Background In this unit, we’ve read two essays in which the author evaluates their relationship to language and demonstrate how languages are inexplicably tied to power. In our classroom discussions, we have related these articles to the 1947 declaration of Students’ Rights to Their Own Language (SWOL) and our own experiences in the education system. […]

Relative Merits of Code-Switching or Code-Meshing

The code-switching models distinguish students’ languages as disconnected entities and inspire the learners to keep the vernacular and academic dialogues separate. From an educational viewpoint, code-switching is applying one specific language at home and using another, which is accepted as Standard English at work and school (Young 53). In contrast, the models of code-meshing treat languages as interconnected into the learners’ repertoire, and the objective of its application is to teach the strategic use of the minority as well as standard vernaculars in hybrid texts. It, therefore, encourages blending dialects, registers, and dialects in one conversation or piece of writing. Based on these differences, it is evident that code-meshing embraces the cultural differences of people and enables them to illuminate their personalities. Code-meshing is, therefore, the communication pattern that offers a better way forward for American society because it aims to move beyond the act of racial compromise for African American English users imposed by code-switching pedagogy.

The argument for Code-Switching

Regardless of its well-intended inclusion objective, code-switching is, in practice, a vestige of lawful discrimination. This is because it is a strategy of education that forces African Americans to perceive the identity and culture of their language as antithetical to the US mainstream. The system, based on code-switching, is such that African American learners must continually limit the use of African American language and their exposition of African American cultural styles to settings that are almost exclusive to the blacks. Moreover, they must take these out of the professional, economic, and academic spheres (Young 53). The strategy of code-switching involves teaching black students a contrastive analysis, which is a technique that compares African American English to standard English. The objective therein is to ensure they learn to adjust from one to the other in different environments.

The argument for Code-Meshing

In contrast, code-meshing is a communication pattern that offers a better way forward for American society because every English language learner and native speaker of English has a right to blend varieties, dialects, and dialects of English with public, professional, and academic English. In essence, the goal of code-meshing is to terminate the dialect discernment against African American English through the simultaneous application of and mixing of American English dialects in a formal, conversational perception, including media interviews, student papers, and political speech. Therefore, code-meshing can be envisioned as an approach to encourage the linguistic democracy of English and facilitate its egalitarianism and acquisition to ensure its effective use at home, in public, in government, and in school (Young 52). The advantage of code-meshing in the classroom is that it extends past generating better papers; it will assist tutors in evading imposing the destructive impacts of racialization on students.

Moreover, with code-meshing, teachers promote a seamless and thorough mixture of standard English and African American English that results in well-expressed, less artificial, and more natural prose. The philosophy behind this teaching technique is that people’s so-called “nonstandard” dialect is, at present, fully compatible with standard English. The teaching method secures their right to characterize meshing in all venues and forms they communicate. The point, then, is that, unlike code-switching, code-meshing acknowledges the concept of dialect, which entails a variety of languages that some definable communities use (National Council of Teachers of English). Everyone has an idiolect, which is a personal version of a language that is unique. Some dialects are spoken by tradition; others are written. Society at large also shares some. Some other dialects are restricted to social groups, neighborhoods, or small communities. Most speakers, due to this, unconsciously or consciously, employ more than one dialect.

Code-meshing also seems to acknowledge that the membership of a speaker in different educational or age groups leads to varying dialects and should be considered when teaching. Similarly, it may result from memberships in groups linked to physical localities. Code-meshing is, therefore, the communication pattern that offers a better way forward for American society because, in larger US cities, individuals with similar ethnic origins are likely to reside in a single neighborhood and share a dialect due to having a common culture. Through their holidays, games, and clothing, such people may preserve the customs and values of “back home” or “old country.” One may hear their heritage’s linguistic traditions and values preserved in their homes, schools, churches, and restaurants (National Council of Teachers of English). In brief, tutors need to sensitize their learners to the options they already practice, mainly speaking; this is to allow them to gain confidence when interacting in different environments.

Proponents of code-switching argue that the approach should not be perceived as a handicap; instead, it should be seen as an opportunity for learners’ language development. The advocate of this approach further asserts that it is suitable for negotiations between participants concerning the form and nature of the interaction, which often are explicitly revealed setting, norms, social roles, conversation cues, perceived status of the interactants, and topic of discussion. The supporters of code-switching also emphasize that this approach enhances the learning of English language students; it enhances how scholars answer queries and enhance the learning and teaching of English as a second dialect (Young 52). Teachers have also been encouraged to implement the translation model of code-switching due to various reasons. Specifically, they argue that language educators should assist learners in shifting from home grammar to school grammar in the classroom.

Based on the argument of the proponents of the code-switching method, the approach sounds fair on the surface because it seems to permit the African American learners to have their racial identity and speak it as well. However, the reality is that to teach learners that the varieties of the two languages must remain apart and cannot mix, belies the assertion of equality in linguistics and imitates the same deceptive rationality behind Jim Crow legislation. The regulation held that the law acknowledged that races are equal; nonetheless, it necessitated their separation. Without a doubt, the points of view used to support code-switching are unquestionably and startingly comparable to those used to promote racial segregation (Young 53). Code-switching is evidence of the segregationist practices that continue to inform the teaching of African American learners. In America, learning institutions establish a setting for racial injustice; this, in turn, makes literacy tutors accessories, often unwittingly, in the persistence of racial inequality.

Standard English results mainly from the speech customs of middle-and-upper whites. Code-switching, in this regard, requires that those who speak African American English should do away with the variety and shift to standard English in school and Public. Furthermore, the learners are simultaneously mandated to acknowledge the dominance of standard English and the people related to it. The restriction of African American English in mainstream public schools means that, in effect, it is rendered substandard. Arguably, this is the case even if the language is euphemistically designated as suitable for other situations, times, and environments (Young 55). For this reason, many proponents of code-switching further assert that they are anti-racist and would never aim to re-establish racial subordination. They, however, interpret the racist reasoning of the legal segregation of the early 20th Century into linguistic rationality that undergirds language instructions of the 21st Century.

Unlike code-switching, code-meshing would allow for the assignments in the classroom to be structured to assist learners in making shifts in order, diction, vocabulary, sentence length and structure, style, and tone (National Council of Teachers of English). In brief, this implies that they will be taught to do what they are presently doing better. The assignments that require variety will also open dialect issues since the concepts are patterns of choice among linguistics options. Code-meshing is the communication pattern that offers a better way forward for American society because most African Americans grow up speaking what is regarded as two distinctly diverse languages: standard English and African American English. In the course of acquiring the mentioned languages, many people from these groups develop an appreciation of how, where, and when to relate to them. Speaking standard English to the shites was an approach African Americans used to show that they understood their language (Mellix 260). Nevertheless, by speaking standard English, the African Americans admit to others, mainly to themselves, that their accustomed communication was substandard.


All in all, code-meshing is the communication pattern that offers a better way forward for American society because it does not obligate learners to hold back their “English” but allows them to bring them forward more strategically and forcefully. The notion behind this approach is that the so-called “nonstandard” dialect of other people are already well-matched with standard English. Therefore, code-meshing safeguards African Americans’ rights to exemplify that meshing in all venues and forms where they communicate. Code-meshing is also crucial because, for some learners, it is virtually impossible to separate the two languages, and the need to do so seems tyrannically oppressive. In brief, there is enough linguistic, educational, and cultural evidence to end and challenge code-switching.

Works Cited

Mellix, Barbra. “From Outside, In.” The Georgia Review, vol. 41, no. 2, 1987. pp. 258-267.

National Council of Teachers of English. “Students’ Right to Their own Language.” NCTE, Apr. 1974,

Young, Vershawn Ashanti. “Nah, We Straight: An Argument Against Code Switching.” JAC, vol. 29, no. 1/2, 2009, pp. 49-76.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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