1. Linguistics. the alternating or mixed use of two or more languages, especially within the same discourse: My grandma’s code-switching when we cook together reminds me of my family's origins. Bilingual students are discouraged from code-switching during class.
2. Sociolinguistics. the use of one dialect, register, accent, or language variety over another, depending on social or cultural context, to project a specific identity: Politicians use code-switching on the campaign trail to connect with their audience.
3. the modifying of one's behavior, appearance, etc., to adapt to different sociocultural norms: For many female Muslim students, code-switching from their home environment to that of school requires forgoing the hijab.
Also called code-shifting [kohd-shif-ting].
Origin: First recorded in 1955-60
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