So today in the unexpected curse of free time which is quarantine, I learned what codeswitching is. It basically means that depending on the audience one interacts with, people either subconsciously or intentionally change their manner of speaking. Apparently some black people tend to do it for upward mobility (“talking white”), but I realized as a baal teshuva that I do it A LOT. And I don’t always recognize it.
For example, say I’m talking to a gentile friend. “Hey man, what’s going on?” Or, as standard New York slang you can be more direct: “You good?”. Which is an umbrella question for many different variations of “how are you”? If I get to complaining about something, it might sound something like, “Bro I just went in that bodega and shits disgusting. Place wasn’t cleaned in 3 weeks”.
But if I go to crown heights and interact with the yeshive buchurim, all of a sudden half my vocabulary changes. “Nu?” “Oh, they all have broiges.” “Oh, Shloime doesn’t hold by cholov stom”. “Mamish everybody knows Yankel’s bittul toireh. Halfway off the derech already. Tell him I’ll daven so that he abandons his fakakte shtus and he finds his way back through the zechus of my brocha.
Obviously these yiddish-tinged examples are highly exaggerated and pulled out of my tuches, but you get the idea. Now that I think about it, I 100 percent change my manner of speaking, drastically, depending on the audience.
Anyone else realize this?