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Code-switching allows us to flip between languages, but the question becomes: what is my second language? This week, we are going to learn a ‘new’ language. This ‘new’ language is called standard, edited American English (SEAE), and it is the language we use in college and other formal writing and speaking situations. It’s important that we recognize SEAE as a ‘new’ language because it helps us to separate it from our ‘normal’ home language. It’s also that important that we see SEAE as separate or ‘new’ because no one (and I repeat no one!) speaks in SEAE. We can’t. It is impossible to edit the spoken word. It’s spontaneous, personal, and conversational–and it’s supposed to be! So, why are we asked to write in this stuffy, formal way when the other way is just as good? Because–right or wrong–SEAE is the common language of the academy. It’s the way we in a professional setting–like college– speak to one another so that everyone can understand. It’s a way we let others in on our conversations.

  • The objectives for this week are to define standard, edited American English and analyze the reasons why it is preferred in professional communications.
  • The purpose of this week is to practice and apply the conventions of standard English and academic writing


And lastly, it’s important to know that you are not going to learn this language (or any language) overnight, in a week, or even in a term. The point here is not to master SEAE, but develop it!

The narrative essay will discuss a specific moment or event in your life experience. Narrative essays should be personal in nature and conversational in tone.


For this particular narrative, you will discuss the concept of code-switching by discussing:

  • your position as a linguistic insider (a time when you were successfully able to code-switch)



  • your position as a linguistic outsider (a time when you were successfully not able to code-switch).
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