Fever of Code-switching and Code-mixing between Arabic and English in School’s Classrooms | April 2018 | Translation Journal

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Fever of Code-switching and Code-mixing between Arabic and English in School’s Classrooms

ABSTRACT

This paper on interpersonal relationships has become an important aspect of the pedagogical area, especially in code-switching domain. Some linguists use the terms code switching more or less interchangeably, particularly in formal studies of morphology, syntax, semantics etc. This research examines the distinctive features of code switching between Arabic native speakers and English language speakers and its impact on the educational system. This research aims at finding out the implications of code switching in Arabic context. Modern educators explored that code switching in classrooms has used to be effective as a teaching and communicative strategy, which used among students. The study was conducted to investigate the reasons behind the usage of code switching during English lesson in different teaching environments in Palestinian schools. The data has collected through two different types of instruments, which includes teacher and student’s questionnaire.

INTRODUCTION

It is clear that Code-switching and code mixing plays an important role in human communication life. From ancient time up until now, there have been debates about Code-switching technique.

Some linguists use the terms code mixing and code switching more or less interchangeably. Especially in formal studies of syntax, morphology, etc., both terms are used to refer to utterances that draw from elements of two or more grammatical systems. While many linguists have worked to describe the difference between code-switching and borrowing of words or phrases, the term code-mixing may be used to encompass both types of language behaviour. While the term code switching emphasizes a multilingual speaker's movement from one grammatical system to another, the term code mixing suggests a hybrid form, drawing from distinct grammars. In other words, code mixing emphasizes the formal aspects of language structures or linguistic competence, while code switching emphasizes linguistic performance. More recently, educators explored code switching and code mixing in classrooms and have found it to be effective as a teaching and communicative strategy, which can be used among students. People commonly speak more than a language to communicate with each other. This position is highly widespread among Arabs, because; English taught as a second language as the medium of instruction in the educational system. The phenomena of code switching and code mixing of languages have long intrigued scholars who haveexamined what triggers such occurrences (Muysken, 2000; Wei, 2005). However, most research has been in face-to-face communication and in bilingual communities. This research examines the different facets of code switching and code mixing in Arabic contexts, while keeping in mind cultural differences.This research aimed at finding out the implications of code switching and code mixing in Arabic context. It looked at attitudes, outlook and need for code-mixing and code switching in Arabs during interactions in a classroom environment by novice users of English from Arabic backgrounds.

The study conducted to investigate the reasons behind the use of code mixing and code switching during English lesson in the classroom, which includes the educational setting of two Palestinian secondary schools in Gaza strip (Palestine). To gather the relevant information pertaining the study, the researcher integrated the qualitative research method to analyse the situation. The data was collected through 2 different types of instruments, which includes teacher’s structured interview and student’s questionnaire. The information gathered through these methods were carefully analysed and discussed in the findings and analysis section of this study.

Description of the current situation of teaching English at Gaza strip high schools

A number of features characterizes the current situation of teaching English at the junior level in Gaza strip high schools:

All schools offer English course at the junior level as obligatory course, but what is offered is quite arbitrary and depends totally on personal initiatives on the part of teachers.

Most of EFL students often used code mixing and code switching during English lesson, to explain what they want to say; to communicate with other students.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The study aims to achieve the following objectives:

Investigate the rational of teachers using code switching and code mixing in the classrooms, exploring the reasons behind student’s preference code switching from English to Arabic, to examine the positive contributions of code switching from target to first language. To examine whether the mixing and switching of the two languages (Arabic and English) depends on the contrasting syntactic properties of the languages involved.To achieve these purposes, the researcher distributed questionnaires among 57 students and 6 instructors from Gaza high schools.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS:

The researcher wishes to examine the possible answers to all these questions by conducting a study on this topic. The questions are as Follows:

1-      What are the teachers, students’ attitudes towards Code-switching and Code-mixing in the classroom?

2-      Why do teachers code-switch and mixing from target language to mother tongue in classroom during English lesson?

3-      Are code-switching and code-mixing help Arab students in classroom learning?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

To analyse teacher’s code switching and code mixing due to they are in control of the teaching situation. Also, they hold the authority and the rights to set a barrier depending on the reasons on why they should do coding in the class, and Is it important for student or not. The teachers and students alike; will answers all these inquires.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Numerous researchers wrote about Code-switching and code mixing from target language to first language (English to Arabic). As a common phenomenon in second or foreign language classrooms,

Code switching has studied extensively during the last two decades, both from a functional and a structural perspective (Diebold, 1963 & 1969; Gumperz, 1982, 1969, & 1970). However, there is disagreement concerning what constitutes code switching. Some consider switching to involve entire phrases (Schaffer, 1978; Safi, 1992), while others include single words but distinguish them from borrowing (will be explained later). Hudson (1980) distinguished between code switching, code mixing, and borrowing in his section on the mixture of varieties. He believes that code-switching is “the inevitable consequence of bilingualism” that leads speakers to choose a language which the other person can understand”. (p. 51). Code switching has commonly applied to the “ability of bilinguals to alternate between languages in the linguistic repertoire” (Scotton, 1977; Valdes, 1982; Hasselmo, 1961; Zantella, 198 1). Scotton and Ury (1975) propose, “code-switching is the use of two or more languages in the same utterance or conversation, Davies (1992) believes that most code switching research has focused on the syntactic dimension of code-switching, treating it as a structural phenomenon. He believes that social and psychological dimensions have a great influence that deserves attention. For that, he proposes that aspects like the speakers’ degree of proficiency in each of the language, the attitude they have toward their own

Languages. Muysken (2000) defines three types of code mixing insertion, alternation, and congruent lexicalization. In his view, insertion occurs when lexical items from one language have incorporated into another. The notion of insertion, according to Muysken (2000), corresponds

to what Clyne (1991) terms as “transference” and Myer-Scotton as “embedding”. However, Macaro(1997) mentioned in his book that teachers switched from target language to first language mainly to give and clarify instructions for classroom activities, to give feedback to students, to translate and to check comprehension. This notion has very much connected to the present study, as the researchers were more interested in findings out the underlying factors of teachers code switching in classrooms, thus the feedback provided by Macaro (1997)was of great benefit to come about the questionnaire for the students as one of the methods of gathering information for this study.

However, researchers in support of crosslingual (code switching, code-mixing) teaching strategy including Tikunoff and Vazquez-Faria (1982), Levine (2003), Chen Liping (2004),etc., argue that L1 (the first language) can promote the learning of TL (target language) and L1 deserves a place in FL classroom. Code switching, code mixing are a good strategy of efficiency in FL teaching. Faced with conflicting opinions, the author of the present paper holds a positive attitude towards L1 use in FL classroom. The study gives empirical evidence regarding the positive influence of teachers’ use of code switching in EFL classroom by investigating the general situation of code switching, code mixing in English classroom of Gaza strip-Palestine secondary schools.

Edwards (1995) points out that the switch is sometimes for emphasis, when arflot just is more readily available in one language, but many other reasons for code switching have investigated. These include the degree of intimacy between participants, the comparative linguistic skills of the interlocutors, changes in content and purpose, and structural similarities between the codes involved that facilitate switches at particular points in an utterance where grammatical items are interchangeable. Georgakop olou (1997) looked at code switching and style-switching (changing between social or stylistic variations of the same language code) in Greek e-mail messages sent to friends. She found that the tyrro devices were important textual cues signalling interpersonal relationships and alignments between participants (148). According to her, code- and style-switching has used to signal a transition from a formal, transactional/ professional focus to a personal focus in messages that were predominantly transactional and/or professional in content.

Simon (2001) says Code-switching has exploited as part of actual teaching methodology. When the teacher knows the language of the students, the classroom itself is a setting that potentially elicits code switching. Code switching is inevitable in the classroom when the teachers and students share the same languages that regarded as a natural component of a bilingual’s behaviour.

Arnfast and Jorgensen (2003), undertake systematic investigations of learners’ code-switchingshow how code switching may develop into a bilingual competence in learners within the first year of intensive training.Rodolpho Jacobson (1981) has proposed and tested a model, which incorporates the use of code switching in the teaching of content courses in bilingual courses. There are pros and cons to the application of the concurrent approach that is using two or more languages in the same context.Cook (2001) discusses the relationship between code switching and language teaching. She states that for many students the ability to go from one language to another is highly desirable; there is not much point in being multi-competent if you has restricted by the demands of a single language.

METHODOLOGY

DESIGN OF THE STUDY

To answer the research questions as formulated above, this study employed a qualitative method. That is, it was based on open‐ ended questions and close-ended questions used in the questionnaires in order to collect accurate data.

Data collection

7 teachers and 57 students have selected randomly from three high schools in Gaza strip has conducted in the Questionnaires that applied during English course; the researcher designed two questionnaires for both teachers and students alike. The researcher used open, close-ended questions to attain authentic result.

Participants

Table 1: Participants information (Students & Teachers) involved in the study

Name of School

Student’s Level

T’s Educational Qualification

T’s years of Experience

S’s Proficiency Level

No. of T

No. of S

Khaled Alhassan secondary school

Secondary school

Degree, Diploma of

Education

5 – 15

Intermediate

3

28

Kamal Naseer secondary school

4

29

Total

   

7

57

To achieve reliable results of investigating teacher’s Code switching and mixing in EFL class, two types of educational environments have chosen to participate in this study. Two secondary school was included, Khaled Alhassan secondary school, Kamal Naseer secondary school. The reason behind the selection is to find out the code-switching and mixing scenario that takes place in various types of schooling system in Palestine. 57 students of secondary level, of intermediate proficiency were implicated in this study. Which, 29 students are from Khaled Alhassan secondary school, 28 students are from Kamal Naseer secondary school. The students were required to answer the questionnaire questions. In addition, 7 teachers from the 2 high schools participated for the questionnaire; Majority of the teachers have at least a degree, a diploma educational qualification and also have about 5 to 15 years’ experience in teaching English in schools.

METHODS AND INSTRUMENTS

Student’s Questionnaire

Question 3 and 2 has asked in the questionnaire to investigate the reasons behind teachers switching in the class and does the students benefit form CS/CM during the lesson, while question 1 has questioned to explore the teachers and student attitudes, performance toward code switching and mixing. Finally, the data managed to answer the research questions.

Teacher’s Questionnaire

The questionnaire involved a total of 7 teachers were selected from 2 high schools to attain the purpose of the questionnaire, in specific 3 teachers from Khaled Alhassan secondary school,4 teachers from Kamal Naseer secondary school. This questionnaire was conducted with the teachers to elicit more information about why teachers code-switch or mix during English classes. This method helps to clear the underlying reasons for the teachers’ attitudes toward Code-switching and Code-mixing in the classrooms.

FINDINGS

In order to get valid result in the questionnaire, the researcher employs the same questions that used in the research questions.

Student’s questionnaire

Q1) Do you prefer when your teacher switch or mix from English (into, to) Arabic during English lesson?

Yes

No

57

0

For the first question, 40 students agreed that they benefit in learning when their teachers switch and mix during the class.

Q2) Why do you think teachers switch or mix from English into Arabic during English lesson?

To communicate with the students easily

4

To be friendly and get closer with the students

10

Arabic language is more flexible than English

2

To give clearer instruction to the students

6

To explain the meaning of difficult words\ vocabulary

35

 

Answering this question, all 35 students agreed that their teachers switching and sometime mixing to explain the meaning of difficult words, a total; 10 students vote that their teachers do that to be friendly and get closer with the students, 6 students vote that code switching or mixing used to give a clearer instructions to students; 4 students said to communicate with the student and only 2 students confirmed with Arabic language is more flexible than English.

Q3) Does your teacher usually switch or mix from English into Arabic during the English class?

Yes

No

57

0

For this question, total of 57 students agreed that their teachers use code-switching and mixing, that is using from Arabic into English and sometime vice versa.

Q4) Do you think teachers’ switching in both languages helps you to upgrade you learning process?

Yes

No

57

0

All 50 students confirmed that they code switching helps them to upgrade their learning process during their classes.

Q5) How often does your teacher switch or mix from English into Arabic during the class?

Always

7

Sometimes

46

Rarely

4

Never

0

A total of 46 students agreed that their teachers switch and mix from English into Arabic only sometimes, 7 students voted for always, 4 voted for rarely, but none for never.

Teacher’s questionnaire

Q1) Do you think the students benefit in learning when you switch or mix from English into Arabic in the class?

Yes

No

7

0

All 57 teachers agreed that their students do benefit in learning when teachers use switching or mixing during the class.

Q2) why do you switch or mix from English into Arabic during the English lesson?

To communicate with the students easily

5

To be friendly and get closer with the students

3

Arabic language is more flexible than English

1

To give clearer instruction to the students

5

To explain the meaning of difficult words\ vocabulary

7

For this question, 7 teachers answered that they code switching or mixing during the lesson ‘to explain the meaning of difficult words or vocabulary’, a total of 5 teachers stated that ‘to give clearer instruction to the students’, and also to communicate with them, 3 teachers said code switching and mixing were used ‘To be friendly with the students’, and only 1 teachers agreed with ‘Arabic language is more flexible than English’.

Q3) Do you usually switch or mix from English into Arabic during the English lesson?

Yes

No

7

0

All 7 teachers from 2 high schools agreed that they already used CS\CM during the class, also they said; code switching and mixing is a good technique that the teachers should use more often during English class in the future.

Q4) Do you think the students likes learning when you switch or mix in the class?

Yes

No

7

0

All 7 teachers confirm that the students do benefit in learning when teachers use coding during the class.

Q5) How does the teachers switching or mixing from English into Arabic in class helps the students improve in their learning?

It helps to reduce my fear and shyness of asking questions in class

4

It makes my learning easier and faster

7

It enables me to understand the content better

6

It enables me to understand the instructions clearer

3

I can get to know the meaning of difficult words

7

All 7 teachers agreed that using coding in the class helps the student to improve and upgrade their learning in terms of, enabling them to know the meaning of difficult words, make the students learning process easier and faster, a total of 6 teachers voted that it helps the students to understand the content better, while as; 4 teachers agreed that it may reduce the fear and shyness of asking questions in the class, only 3 teachers voted that code switching helps student to understand the instructions clearer.

RESULTS & DISCUSSIONS

This section presents the results on code‐switching and mixing in EFL classrooms. All the questions and data collected from the teachers and students questionnaires were to investigate the use of code switching and mixing by teachers in the classrooms during English lesson. For more detailed, the data collected from both questionnaires will be discussed in relation to the research questions provided.

The students’ questionnaire has provided evidences for the use of code switching\mixing by teachers inside the classrooms. This data is further enriched by Q1 from the students’ questionnaire as well as Q1 from the teachers’ questionnaire.

In addition to that, data from Q2 from both questionnaires also show that both students and teachers use code-switching\ mixing during the lesson in order to explain the meaning of difficult words and vocabulary.

Based on the data from Q3 from student and teachers questionnaires, it has revealed that the all of students and teachers agreed that they use code switching in the class. This further confirms the use of coding by teachers during the English lesson.

The result from Q4 from student’s questionnaire clears that all students confirmed the using of code-switching and code-mixing helps them in improving their learning better. In the other hand there was a wide consensus among all the teachers that code switching and code-mixing benefits the students and teachers alike, and help them improve the learning and teaching process. Data from Q5 from students questionnaire, display that most of students confirm that their English teachers sometime use CS\CM during the English class in order to make the learning process more easier and faster for students

Similarity; the result from Q5 from teachers questionnaire, explore that all teachers agreed that the most students and teachers perceive code-switching \ mixing as a technique to help students in leering the meaning of difficult words or vocabulary, and make the learning easier and faster. Moreover, it’s significant to note that the close amount of votes for all the other choices indicates equal importance of these aspects in helping the students:

Through my study as student of one of EFL courses, I have realized that there is a widespread consensus among English teachers that students’ performance is markedly better, when the teachers use CS\CM from time to time in the English class.

In addition, some subjects have reported difficulty in coding for their language diaries due to delicate differentiation between pure Arabic and a low level of English mix in Arabic speech. In some cases,

English proper names and acronyms have not counted as English linguistic elements. In other words, certain English words have become somewhat lexicalized in Arabic and treated as pure Arabic.

Examples includes; “Mummy” (pronounced as mama- ماما), babyبابي (طفل) - ) pronounced as bibi, etc.

CONCLUSION

This research has looked into the status of teaching EFL at the Gaza strip high schools. The finding revealed that most of the English teachers used CS\CM during their teaching. In addition, some subjects have reported difficulty in coding for their language diaries due to delicate differentiation between pure Arabic and a low level of English mix in Arabic speech.

It is notable that coding needs more studies in connection with power and ideology. Results show that teachers claim CS\CM are important in enabling the student to understand the English lesson better; most of the subjects also seem to come to a consensus that there should be future use of code switching and mixing to facilitate learning process.

REFERENCES:

Gumperz, J. (1982). Code switching in conversation: language, interaction and identity .London: Rutledge.

Myers‐Scotton, C.M. (1993). Social motivations for codeswitching: Evidence from Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gumperz, J. J. (1982). Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jacobson, R. (1981). Intersentential codeswitching: an educationally justifiable strategy. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED231 221.

Cook, V. (2001). Second language learning and teaching (3rd Ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Hudson, R. (1980). Sociolinguistics (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

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Arnfast, J. S., Jørgensen, J. N. (2003). Code switching as a communication, learning, and social negotiation strategy in first-year learners of Danish. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 13 (1), 23–53.

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Arthur, J. (1996). Code switching and collusion: Classroom interaction in Botswana primary schools. Linguistics and Education, 8(1), 17-33.

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