How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

El code-switching es normal, experts say

guys talking

Photo by polandeze/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A street conversation in August 2007, languages unspecified.

This afternoon I happened to catch a re-tweet of an interesting post that SpanglishBaby, a website dedicated to bilingual parenting, published a couple of months ago on code-switching. For those who don't call it code-switching, it's that thing that bilingual types, i.e. people like me, do when we're having a conversation, say, with our mother or our cousin or a close comadre or compadre in English, then inexplicably switch to our native language, then switch back.

For bilinguals, code-switching is business as usual. For monolinguals who overhear us as we're jabbering into our cell phones in the produce section at Whole Foods, asking "Should I get the organic fruta bomba?" of the person at the other end, it can be infuriating.