WebHeader_Grove.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support the news you rely on from NHPR and NPR with a gift today!
National

Six Moments Of Code-Switching In Popular Culture

Gloria from "Modern Family" does a whole lot of code-switching on the show, especially when her family comes to town to visit baby Fulgencio.
Modern Family
Gloria from "Modern Family" does a whole lot of code-switching on the show, especially when her family comes to town to visit baby Fulgencio.

All this week, pegged to our launch, we've been doing stories of code-switching, the practice of mixing languages or ways of expressing yourself in conversation. In popular culture, celebrities and others have shown us all sorts of motivations of why someone might employ code-switching. Here are some of them:

1. You don't want to sound like an outsider.

2. You shift between two languages and two dialects in the same sentence, because that's the way your family rolls.

(The rapid-fire switch from English --> Cantonese --> Mandarin starts around 0:16.)

3. Because, really, that's the way your family rolls.

4. You hate it when others try way too hard.

5. You know that translating isn't always easy.

6. You just want to "bro hug" Kevin Durant.

What are your favorite code-switching moments in popular culture? Share with us in the comments below, or tweet at us and use #codeswitching.

Kat Chow is a social media journalist and blogger for Code Switch. Follow her at @katchow, and the team at @NPRCodeSwitch.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.