Code Switching Literacy Narrative

Similar to Author Amy Tan’s experience, language shapes our identities and the way we experience the world around us. Think about your own relationship to language and “Code Switching”.

Consider how “audience” and the context of a situation (or your purpose for communicating) affect your own body language, tone, and word choices when you communicate. Think about the way you learned how to communicate or shift language to get what you need from others.

1. Use “Open Form” to write an essay (3 page minimum, 5 page maximum)

about the way you have learned how to adapt/adjust (“code-switch”) your language for a specific person/group/situation; Or maybe you could write about the opposite: not adapting/adjusting your language.

Food for thought: Some cultures code-switch more than others; some people code-switch between groups (audiences) as a means of survival or adaptation in the presence of a “dominant” culture. Some folks on the Autism Spectrum, for example, might not code-switch at all.

2. Either way, consider and share two or three specific examples including dialogue or specific language.

3. Include a consideration for potential consequences of not code-switching or the reactions people might have hearing/seeing you communicate differently.

4. Reflect on your own thoughts about feeling authentic versus inauthentic if you code-switch.

5. Use a quote (“in-text citation”) or paraphrase from “Mother Tongue” to add to your own discussion at some point in the essay.

6. In addition to “Mother Tongue,” find an additional article that validates or offers an interesting counterpoint to the subject of your own literacy narrative.• Use a quote or paraphrase from that article as well.

7. You may write the essay in 1st person. 8. Give your essay a creative title.9. Remember MLA formatting. Include a Works Cited page with your sources in alphabetical order!

Works Cited (example)

Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.”

(Place your second source according to alphabetical order)

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