Code Switching Across Generations in Bilingual Families

Paulina Martirossian, Veronica Rojas, Itxhel Lozoya, Cambrya Melendez, Ashlyn Claustro

Have you ever wondered how code-switching and bilingualism can differ depending on the person you are communicating with? Do you feel that it can have an impact on relationships that are formed between people among different generations? This study explores how bilingual individuals across many generations who speak Armenian and English or Spanish and English may alter their approaches to communication when interacting with certain people. Additionally, we were curious to find out whether or not the closeness of people’s relationships affects their formality when communicating and code-switching. In order to find results, we conducted numerous semi-structured interviews and listened in on the conversations between college students and their relatives, while paying attention to word choice, syntax, and grammar when speaking. We concluded that (87%) of our interviewees believe that their relationship with their elders determines the formality of their communication style, often leading to difficulty when expressing oneself. By studying code-switching and bilingualism, we discovered a relationship between identity and communication that spans across generations.

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