What Is Codemeshing?

A Definition

The masticated version is code meshing language blending. Mo betta: it language democracy. (It be, e.g., wha I’ms doing when I decidedly idiosyncratically phono-trip on the sentential tip with the wordage the way I just done did, with the syntax borderline tohubohu and smacking of somethin you might’ve caught on your No. 1 overtly crass track, 808s booming, something. That said–and this a brother talkin just so y’all know–it not just a black thang. It ain even a remedial thing. It’s just a thing, unless you prefer “thang”.)

It refer to the concurrent use of different languages, dialects, and genres, sounds, and even more distinct linguistic features and conventions in a single rhetorical performance. As a one Vershawn Young notes, It’s more than mixing Spanish and English; it not necessarily Spanglish or Chinese English, or “Chinglish”. Break the epidermis and code meshing more than just arbitrarily inserting so-called “nonstandard” wordage, verbiage, language, aqui y alli. It’s chaos in language–and if you know anything bout chaos–

Why Codemeshing, d’oh?

Because–for reasons. Seriously, though: it not like a gun to our heads to codemesh like that–that is, if we don’t value other folks languages like that. That is, if we not about that language equality life I’m taumbout. That is, if it under the lot of us to adopt another (language, dialect) for the sake of another brother or sister of the humankind variety different than us. That is, if we don’t find it a li’l sus that the way you talk, especially if you non-White (when White folk out here been butchering they heirloom all higgledy-piggledy since forever) could mean the rest of yo colored life.

And should we not, right–for that you got folks out here pushin that code chicanery switching. In fact, peep how Obama do in da lynx infra

That first clip type funny, though. And my bad anent the language, I can be pretty laissez-aller widdit sometimes. And while those not all that good of illustrations of the deleterious effects of code switching, it look like it almost nuttin for Obama to bust it out, right? But that not how it really be. Read.

Code switching: the deliberate use of one language over another at a given time as the rhetorical situation calls for it. Traditionally, this mean speaking one way with, say, yo boyz, and another with your bosses and/or teachers. This mean all that “I mean, like, I’m sayin, yo,” garbage relegated to the “streets” (unless it’s “streetz”) whereas that “Queen English” jus fine bout every place else you go. And some take it further, talkin bout how it BETTER for one to drop all that whatever-the-hell else they be talkin altogether and speak “proper”.

Disabusing oneself of they Primary Discourse is something speakers of nonstandard English, or just another language altogether, been doing for years: Non-English speakers comin into this country be giving it to they seeds when it comes to how they speak; they say they gotta learn proper English if they want to be successful, get a job, keep a job, be respected. Black parents pulled that cajoling stuff on their youngsters, too, chuckin they favorite hiphop CDs out moving cars, unless that was me and my boyz’ folks.

Codeswitching as Language Bleaching


Think of it this way: designating one language King of another, let alone everyone, is NO QUESTION discrimination; straight up. Code Switching, to invoke Young, is rooted in segregationist ideology, the notion of “same but not equal.” It effects hierarchal complexes when it come to how people perceive language; it make peeps bias towards language, favoring one way of speech over another. And granted: why it might be funny from time to crack on a person bout how they non-articulate anything ever cuz they speech a hotmess (I’ve done it, had it done to me, peeped others doing, it’s a thing) it not the same as codifying features of other (or Other) people’s speech jus so that you can discriminate against; i.e., not hire them; or, rather, hire them for a job they not gonna be interacting with people on. That type of reduction be making people mad self conscious, yo; be making them wanna not be themselves, not even around blood. They get around blood an can’t even talk to them anymore, they feel like. Because they done went an gone forfeited they heritage, they Home Dialect, Language, Discourse, don another and just so that they can earn a li’l cred in the marketplace. Tell me now (and be real witcha Boy, too) how that not the same as, say, selling ya soul, ballooning ya breasts to sick-ass-hentai-porn proportions, or bleaching yo skin just to be mo palatable? These surgeries in China gon make it hard to taste anything, though.

“Multiculuralism” a Joke


AKA “multiculti,” it the “Newest, Latest” the suits in they conglomerates selling minorities and Liberal Whites on. It’s the flava of the month–hittin’ y’all a li’l bit of that everythang! Because–POSTRACIAL.

But we’ve been trying to establish here that code meshing gotta also do more with that deep structural stuff that go on past the epidermis of just mixing “standard” and “nonstandard” words together in communication. If you look at it, codemeshing appeal to the myriad of sensibilities if you doing it right. Language is rooted in experience, it’s how certain language speakers relate to the world around them, identify with things.

Standard English (Ideology) only appeal to one sensibility, though. And such linguistic myopia detrimental to those whose language composition not hidebound by the dominant, or even representative of it; e.g. Black English speakers.

The thing about cultural sensibilities, though: don’t everybody share the same. What I deem important to talk about, focus on, is based on my cultural sensibilities which may not necessarily align with those of the dominant culture; so we not going 2 c i 2 i. And we far from having equal representation of folks representing they-selves in this country. So what you got are a bunch of privileged folks doing the job of portraying Other people within a consumer based exploitative media culture whose sensibilities are in contrast to the actual people their representing. That’s like me assuming authority on women when I’m nor have ever been a woman. But I’m going to come out my face and portray a woman while expecting to capture all of the nuances that make being a woman, in whatever context, womanhood. That’s not right.

But it stay happening is what I’m sayin. Representation of The Minority by The Dominant be diaphanous, as in flimsy, un-authentic, fresh off the conveyor belt. Straight bologna. It been long planted ( what people should be focused on, interested in, be getting a kick out of, by the dominant since, like, forever. This why I take issue with today’s issues of comics. Not that I don’t dig how they making historically white guys into women and/or brown people, but is it genuine? Or: how genuine is it? And: should it matter?

Think–Is it plausible for every brown person to speak the way they white and male and straight counterparts speak; or act the way they act? Also who’re we entrusting with these delicacies? And: why should we? Because just because?

Like, we not superheroes, and I get it: getting all in a dither bout how this person representing me and mines in the realm of fiction shouldn’t be all that red hot, maybe. But if we gon suspend reality when it come to defying gravity, clearing edifices in singles bounds, and such, then at least give us that. It not all that irrational, much of an overreaction to take writers, editors, illustrators–ALL OF THE PORTRAYERS THEM–to task when it comes to writing race.


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