Code-Switching in a Multilingual Workplace

Alejandra de Socarraz-Novoa


This study focuses on code-switching between colleagues in a multicultural and multilingual university workplace environment, focusing solely on the participants’ interactions in English and Spanish. Changing languages within one sentence or conversation is referred to as code-switching. Based on earlier studies of code-switching but moving towards a more specific environment, the workplace, this study intends to answer the following two research questions: What form does codeswitching take in the workplace? And, what are the meanings participants assign to the act of code-switching? Using an ethnographic lens, I collected participant observation data and semi-structured interviews with three of the six participants. Analyzing the data through an iterative framework, I identified three distinct meanings that participants assigned to these forms of code-switching: face-saving, expression of raw emotion, and compartmentalization of work and private life.

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The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Martha Radice.

ISSN 2369-8721