Code Switching happens when a person that speaks two languages mixes them, or say borrows words from one language, to be clearer and more effective in his/her communication. All over the world a lot of Code Switching happens with English words being used in other languages, pardon, all over the world BUT in France, to be precise… Code Switching is always consciously chosen, doesn’t break any rule in either language and normally happens when one speaks both languages well enough (although I doubt that applies to quite a few Italian journalists… but don’t get me started on that).
Code Mixing instead happens to both adults and children as they learn a language and borrow words and grammar from their mother tongue to compensate for their inability to express themselves in the second language. Code Mixing happens when one doesn’t speak one, or both, languages properly. Code Mixing is very typical among bilingual children, a couple of points on this: – Code Mixing is normal and temporary, it’s no reason for concerns. All children get over it, so if it happens to your child, just let it be. Even if the child mixes the two languages it doesn’t mean he’s not aware of speaking two different languages. Research has observed that in this phase children have already acquired two linguistic systems and are aware of each language’s grammar. – If adults do a lot of Code Switching the child is more likely to get used to Code Switching too. He’ll still get over Code Mixing and he’ll learn both languages, but most likely he’ll jeep using a lot of Code Switching to express himself – Code Switching is not in itself a problem but does have some disadvantages.
If a child doesn’t separate the two languages it might be more difficult for the parents to understand how well he masters his language, it might look like he speaks both, while what might be doing is speaking one language and borrowing only few words from the other. If parents are not well aware of the dynamics, it’s difficult for them to understand whether they should provide more input for the weaker language