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Rose Zhang
Why do people switch between two or more languages in the social media?

Hello, everyone! I am interested in the occurrence of language code-switching in the social media. I would like to know more about whether and why people tend to switch between two and more languages on the internet. Also, I wish to understand whether and how the language code-switching facilitate the intercultural communication? As for people who alternately use two and more languages, will they face a crisis related to mother tongue and cultural identity? Some specific questions are as follows:

Q1: How often do you use social media such as Facebook, Weibo, and Wechat? (Always / Frequently / Sometimes / Seldom)

Q2: What does language code-switching usually involve on Facebook, Weibo, and Wechat? (Greetings / Facts / Opinions / Feelings / Secrets / Others)

Q3: Why do netizens switch between languages in social media? 

Q4: How do you feel when you switch between different languages? (Sense of security / sense of inclusion / sense of vulnerability / sense of differentiation) 

Feel free to discuss with me on this topic. And many thanks to you for sharing your ideas with me!



Apr 4, 2018 8:01 AM
Comments · 1

All great questions. 

I don't think it is the use of two or more languages that is the cause of a lack of cultural identity for me.  It is more the fact that I am an Asian that grew up in a Asian household but lived in the US for most of my life.  I identify with American culture, but people see me and they see Asian, not American.  Whenever I tell someone that I am an American, most people either respond with "you don't look American" or "no, where are you really from?  Where are your parents from?"

I don't have any problems with my mother tongue (English) although sometimes I may "forget" a word or a phrase because I may be thinking in Korean but speaking English.  But that is very rare.

I try not to mix languages.  If I am speaking Korean, I try and stick to Korean.  If I do not know a word or how to express myself in a certain way, I ask instead of replacing unknown word or unknown phrase with English.  That helps me keep my languages separate and helps keep each language in tip-top shape.  

Having said that, there are certain words in each language that cannot be translated and are so fun to use.  

April 4, 2018
Rose Zhang
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language