ISSN 1754-5366

Subiko Welcome [Welcome to Everyone]: Hindi/English Code-Switching in the British-Asian Media


Studies among British-Asians have attested the pervasiveness of code-switching (CS) in this community. We examine Hindi/English CS on cable television in Britain, extending the type of analysis carried out on various language pairs to a new medium. CS on television mirrors CS in real life, with various qualifications. It is avoided at one extreme of the style/formality continuum, in news broadcasts and in children’s programmes–presumably for normative reasons. Its conversational functions are well-represented in the framing of different programme segments, and, unsurprisingly, where spontaneous speech/ audience participation are involved. It is under-represented in dramas/ soaps, which supposedly depict naturalistic speech, but where dialogue is actually highly stylised.

We conclude that further studies should be carried out using spoken media material, which provides a fertile source of sociolinguistic data. We speculate on the legitimizing effect of the presence of frequent CS on television on the practice of speakers.

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