In this study, the researcher is investigating the reasons behind changing one’s dialect to another, in particular, from Idhna’s dialect to Hebron’s by Idhna students at Hebron University. Since dialects vary now from one place to another, the researcher decided to study why his town students make changes when they moving to Hebron. Therefore, The researcher collected data from 23 participants (10 males and 13 females) on two different occasions, and they are selected randomly. The results came surprising and against the researcher expectations. Participants agreed only on two items among 13 items. However, the two items are also significant to the course of the study. Thus, it was clear that students code switch to be understood and to adapt themselves with Hebronites. The researcher, in this manner, studied the overall atmosphere of codeswitching process done by Idhna students. Moreover, students attitudes became obvious and intelligible from their perspectives towards codeswitching.
One of the means of communication between people is the spoken language. With time, languages became distinguished for different nations; each nation speaks its own language which differs from another. The overuse of a certain language by its people led to the creation of dialects. A dialect, in general, is a particular form of language that is used or spoken by certain people or in a certain geographical area. Speakers from all around the world most of the times switch their source register to the target one. Therefore, this phenomenon is called Code-switching. “A system of conventional spoken, manual, or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of a social group and participants in its culture, express themselves” (Crystal & Robins, 2019).
The definition of code-switching as a linguistic term varies from linguist to another, but, in general, Nordquist (2018) defined codeswitching as the practice of moving back and forth between two languages or between two dialects or registers of the same language at one time. Nordquist also illustrated that codeswitching happens heavily in conversation more than in writing. Over and above, codeswitching can be defined as the use of more than one language, variety, or style by a speaker within an utterance or discourse, or between different interlocutors or situations (Romaine, 1992).
It’s known that people code-switch when they are bilinguals or multi-linguals, so they change from one language to another where the two languages have different systems (Al-Rowais, 2012). Furthermore, students in general, code-switch when they interact with other students to convey a message they want to emphasize or facilitate communication.
However, codeswitching does occur in dialects of the same language. Therefore, what makes people change their dialect when speaking to other dialect speakers? The process of people code-switch their dialect into another depends on the situations that they are in and the way they act in. In addition, they switch when they are unable to indulge themselves with speakers of other dialects and unable to be intelligible. Almhairat (2015) stated that yet it doesn’t occur between family members, relatives or friends.
Statement of the Problem
It was noticeable that a high percentage of Idhna’s students at Hebron university code switch their colloquial dialect into Hebron’s. Therefore, this research paper investigates the factors that make Idhna’s students do changes, when they come to Hebron, on their dialect. It also seeks to know their attitudes towards this issue.
The researcher hypothesized that Idhna students at Hebron university change their dialect into Hebron’s regularly for various reasons; however, most of the results came the opposite. Due to the fact that the female participants were raised in a different way than male participants, the researcher’s assumption and some of the participant responses were in different directions. Therefore, in this section, the resulted data will be further interpreted.
According to Table 1, the participant agreed only on two items out of thirteen, so it seems surprising and unlike the expectations of the researcher. The researcher assumed that participants would agree at least on two-thirds of the Items. This could be attributed to the random sample that was chosen in order to be a case study of this paper. It is presumed that most female participants were raised using a city dialect instead of a village one, so it could be the reason why the data came as what is mentioned in the results section. Though in Almhairat (2015), the female participants were found code-switching more than males. Another factor could be that all participants either didn’t pay much importance to the question asked, or they were very sincere in their answers.
In contrast, Table 2 contains the most two disagreed on items, yet unlike the researcher’s prediction, two-thirds of the Items were disagreed on. Again, this is surprising and could be imputed to the fact that students are not used to being asked questions like the ones the instrument contained (See Appendix). Though the students were given the space and comfort to answer the items, the results weren’t totally expected. However, the items that the second table includes meant that students were aware of what was proposed to them, so whether they do change their dialect or not, those two items won’t be a reason for such a process. The outcome of items that informants disagreed on means that codeswitching is more related to social aspects than to personal ones as discussed in Blom and Gumperz (1972).
Regarding Table 3, items that were strongly disagreed upon are only two. Thus, these two items; ‘I have the tendency of not-fully trusting my dialect,’ ‘I feel myself inferior to Hebron folks,’ were a bit challenging for the students since there was no neutral option to choose. In addition, using a four-point Likert-scale required students to be a bit more honest in what they respond (See Appendix). In the third table, we notice that the means of the items were the highest, so we come to conclude that students neglected any idea of changing oneself for the sake of being accepted by another, and they maintained their originality. The results of Table 3 correspond paradoxically with Fasold (1997) in his study where he alleged that speakers tend to code-switch to disconnect themselves from their groups and communities.
Respecting the comments of the respondents, a small problem occurred. Out of twenty-three participants only three students wrote their comments about other reasons for codeswitching they know. However, their answers came to be with no use since they weren’t sufficient enough and of no value at all. Though the students were given the chance to add their imprints to the course of the research, they gave it up with paying no attention at all of the importance of their addition.
Nonetheless, another look to the analysis of the results, it was found that the participants agreed on that they code switch, yet they didn’t agree with most of the Items that were introduced to them. Therefore, the researcher came to the conclusion that different reasons should have been used, yet here lies the role of the open-ended question at the end of the instrument used (See Appendix). In addition, the Items that were agreed upon indicate that codeswitching happens for social and cultural aspects. Gumperz (1982) illustrated five major functions for conversational codeswitching; one of which is that speakers may switch due to emotional associations or certain expressions that easily found in one language that in another.
In conclusion, codeswitching is an up to date controversial and debated phenomenon. For instance, in this study, we were able to see how Idhna’s students from different faculties at Hebron university act towards changing their dialect into Hebron’s. Moreover, we noticed what reasons make the students code-switch and their attitudes. Though the results were varied and a little unexpected to the researcher, it was obvious that the participants were thinking in other reasons, but they couldn’t express them despite having the opportunity to do so. Over and all, this study investigated the overall atmosphere of codeswitching and its requirements among Idhna’s students at Hebron University.
- Almhairat. S. A. (2015). Code-switching from the Jordanian Bedouin Dialect to the Jordanian Urban Dialect, in Amman: A Sociolinguistic Study (Master’s thesis): Middle East University. Retrieved from https://meu.edu.jo/libraryTheses/5870d21772040_1.pdf
- Al-Rowais, H. (2012). Code Switching between Arabic and English, social motivations and structural constraints (Master’s thesis): Ball State University Muncie, Indiana. Retrieved from http://cardinalscholar.bsu.edu/bitstream/handle/123456789/196186/Al-RowaisH_2012-3_BODY.pdf;sequence=1
- Blom, J. & Gumperz, J. (1972). Social meaning in linguistic structures: CS in northern Norway. In John Gumperz & Del Hymes (Eds.), Directions in sociolinguistics: The ethnography of communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
- Crystal, D & Robins, R. H. (2019). Language. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/language
- Fasold, R. (1997). The sociolinguistics of society. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
- Gumperz, J. (1982). Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Nordquist, R. (2018). Learn the Function of Code Switching as a Linguistic Term. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/code-switching-language-1689858
- Romaine, S. (1992). Bilingualism. Blackwell Publishers: Cambridge.