Is Code Switching an Example of Language Interference?
Throughout the process of language learning there are many factors that take place. Besides, most learners have to deal with the fact that most of the errors and mistakes that they make are caused by language interference. Specifically, code switching has been considered an example of language interference, and an example of language development between learners.
First of all, Crystal (1987) has suggested that code switching might occur for many reasons. For example, when the learner tries to compensate his deficiencies of the language that s/he is learning s/he will switch to another language. In fact, this might occur if the speaker is tired or angry. Also, if the speaker wishes to express solidarity with a particular social group, s/he will switch to another language in order to exclude others from his/her conversation. Finally, the speaker will change to another language if s/he tries to convey his/her attitude to the listener. Therefore, these are some examples that demonstrate that code switching is actually used by the learners as a socio-linguistic tool.
On the other hand, many teachers have stated that code switching might be used as a tool for second language teaching. For instance, it is used when teachers start giving explanations in their first language and then they switch to the language that they are teaching or vice versa. In addition, code switching is very useful for those students whose first language is different because it will give them the opportunity to learn each other’s language when they are working in groups or pairs. In sum, code switching might be viewed as an effective teaching strategy, and as a chance for the learners to develop their communicative skills.
In conclusion, I think that it is very important to consider the role that code switching has in second language teaching. It might be viewed, as both, interference when it is used to compensate language difficulties, and as a socio-linguistic tool when it is used for second language learning and teaching.