Code-Switching in Television Talk Shows and Its Impact on Viewers

Code switching is a very important aspect of bilingualism, and is considered a natural occurrence when two bilingual speakers engage in discourse. Mostly, such speakers are not consciously aware that they are code switching. Nonetheless, it serves an important social function. Whenever there is more than one language spoken in a community, its population code-switches for effective and impressive communication. Code switching is the blending, of two or more languages in discourse, often with no change in context and contents. The advantages and disadvantages of code switching are discussed by linguists/ researchers with an aim of educating or raising the level of awareness of the common folk.

Some linguists view code-switching as inevitable, and feel that it helps to express meanings more precisely, while others believe that code-switching basically pollutes a language, rather than enhancing the effectiveness of communication. Professionals in speech-language pathology have viewed the use of the amount and types of codeswitching as indicators for relative language proficiency.

Code-switching is used to maximize communication and to strengthen not only the content but the essence of the message; it can be considered an asset, not a deficiency. However when used in great abundance, and to the degree that it interferes with communication, it can be considered a deficit.

The present study is an attempt to highlight the impact of codeswitching, which exists in TV talk shows. Speaker may switch to any language; he or she is capable to speak. The choice of language depends upon speakers, setting, topic, etc. The objective of the research is to highlight the use of code switching in television talk shows.

In the beginning, this research work presents the background information, identifies the specific area of investigation and the questions to be answered. It also outlines the objectives, hypotheses, scope, and significance of the inquiry.

Secondally, efforts were made to introduce the works of all those sociolinguists, who provided the contemporary as well as the succeeding generations with sound knowledge of bilingualism and code-switching. Their work is beacon for the students of sociolinguistics. Because of their research, one can easily peep into the complicated world of Code-switching. It was intended to cover all those terms, concepts and ideas, which are essential to understand the role of a language and language choice in TV talk shows.

Third step deals with methodology. In this section the techniques and strategies, which were adopted to gather reliable and authentic data, has also been discussed. Finally, in the perspective of sociolinguistics/ code switching, the collected data has been analyzed to address the basic question on which the research was based.


The incentive behind the selection of this topic for research is to explore the impact of code-switching on general public. The research also investigates the role of code-switching in the speech of the respondents. Most of the aspects related to code-switching in TV talk shows have been discussed in this research, in order to bring about awareness among audience that whether it is necessary for the present generation to frequently switch into foreign language or not.

The research is the reflection of the following questions.

(i) How does code-switching affect the process of communication especially in mass communication?

(ii) What is the public opinion about code-switching?

(iii) What is the impact of code switching on communication in the opinion of educated class?

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