Examples of Code-Meshing
Two categories have been created to organize the examples of code-meshing we have collected: Code-meshing in the Real World and Code-meshed Academic Works.
Code-meshing in the Real World: here you will see a wide variety of code-meshed texts and videos. Several of these come from pop culture such as TV shows (A Different World), comedians (Key & Peele), hip-hop music (Chance the Rapper), and even Broadway musicals (In the Heights). Others feature works of literature by authors who reflect on their heritage and foreground their native languages and dialects vis-à-vis the dominant language and discourse, including The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Beyond the Rice Fields, and Sozaboy. In addition to its code-meshed title, Borderlands/ La frontera even crosses registers and genres, incorporating poetry, ethnography, autobiography, and sociopolitical history. Other texts discuss the authors’ familial languages directly such as in the writings of Amy Tan and Zadie Smith. Some of the videos you will see explore code-meshing across spoken and signed languages like at the “Signs” restaurant in Toronto.
We’ve also found some less-obvious examples of code-meshing such as a preface to an ethnic cookbook (Permission to Speak, Afro-Vegan) and in a TED talk by Jamila Lyiscott. Code-meshing may even be found in presidential greetings! (“Wha gwaan Jamaica!”)
Other ‘real world’ code-meshing resources we have collected are academic studies which have observed and traced the intricacies of mixed languages (including pidgins and creoles) around the globe (APiCS) and the diversity of dialects within a single language, like English (Do You Speak American?)
Code-Meshed Academic Works: here you will find examples of scholars who have used code-meshing in a variety of ways. It has long been common to use code-meshing across registers (often in the title such as in To Study Err-making is Cognitive Science or Blowin’ in the Wind), and more recently there has been a move towards using code-meshing across languages and dialects. In all cases, code-meshing allows scholars to reveal and express their distinct, insightful perspectives. They take ownership of their language as well as their voice, presence, and identity as a communicator. Some consistently use it as a writing strategy for an entire essay (Should Writers Use They Own English?) or even an entire book (Talkin’ and Testifyin’). Others use it in their academic works at strategic junctures to make a point or take a stance (Racism in Writing Programs).
Feel free to explore the examples collected in this site. What patterns do you notice? How might certain examples be relevant to your own writing courses, assignments, and students? How might others be less relevant?
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