Tuesday, April 23, 2013

One Example of Code-Switching

The recently started NPR Code Switch blog has caught my attention.  Though the definition of code switching seems to be broad, it hits home for me in many ways ranging from my use of two languages, having a "work mode" tone when I troubleshoot problems, a ministry voice, and a casual mode that is made up of Bay Area, Asian Pride, hip-hop laced slang.

There are lots of potentially meaningful examples of code switching in my life, but here's an inane one.  During the exchanging of the Sign of Peace during Mass, there are some guys where our sign of peace is a bro-hug.  There are some women where our sign of peace is a hug.  And there is the select one where the sign of peace is a kiss (hi babe!).  Everyone else is a strong, firm handshake and either, "Peace be with you," or "Zhu ni pin yan," which in itself is a code-switch within a code-switch.  

But one of the most awkward situations is when I bro-hug one of my bro's or a particular high schooler I'm fond of and then when reaching to make a normal handshake with the next guy, they assume the bro-hug too and it degenerates into an awkward mess of accidentally interlocking fingers and a half-hearted hug.

Good thing the gif below didn't happen the other way around.  It could have gotten pretty weird with the white guy.

Inline image 1

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