Thursday, March 5, 2009

Switching wihin a Code

This idea of switching (within a code) for different social situations is really interesting and connects with an idea within Wardhaugh (2006). The idea of there being a considerable amount of variation within one language, and it changing to fit in with surrounding social requirements. The way we relate to other individuals and groups somewhat depends on a whole host of factors (race, ethnicity, gender, religion, social class etc...Wardhaugh, 2006, p. 6), and these factors influence not only the way we act, but what and how we communicate. I also find myself changing the way I talk within different situations. When I am with Australian friends I tend to be more casual and easy going with language. Australians with other Australians tend to fill in the blanks more. I can be a little more abstract, and may not even need to finish sentences, as I can assume my Australian friends have the contextual cues to infer meaning. However, with my American friends, I sometimes have to spell things out more clearly, and change the way I present information so that they can understand.
Also, when speaking in meetings, I have to change to a more formalized form of language, and I concentrate harder on being very logical and to the point. This tends to make me feel and act differently, in order to fit in with my expectation of the identity I have for that particular purpose. My question is if this is only a perceived boundary, or is it actually real. One way to test it is to actually break the boundary, by speaking in a more casual manner...but what will the consequences be...
Actually, I participated in recent teacher interviews recently, and one of the applicants was very surprised at our interview techniques...we tried to make the process a little more casual, by joking a little and presenting a more friendly atmosphere...and it seemed to be a little off-putting for the applicant...until they themselves adapted to the new environment...this case alludes to the idea that we can readily change our social identities, to match the perceived environment...part of those social identities are variants in language and behavior...We ended up hiring the individual involved...ciao Steve

No comments: