Switching Codes

For some of us in the United States, this Sunday is a big day. It’s Super Bowl Sunday. Of course, here at MultiLingual, we are a little more interested because there is a team playing that is located less than 400 miles away. But what really happens on Super Bowl Sunday is that we will get to see some creative advertising.

An interesting article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram describes some ads appearing on local English television that use Spanish words to get attention. This phenomena even has a name: “code-switching.”

The article states that on Sunday during the Superbowl, we will see a bilingual advertisement describing how a hybrid Toyota changes energy sources like some people switch languages. If you watched the ad, you’ll see that there aren’t many Spanish words. Perhaps that’s the advertiser’s hitch—just enough different words to catch our attention. At least it is a nod to the Hispanic buying power in the US.

On Sunday, I’ll be watching the ads. And the game.

Marjolein Groot Nibbelink
Marjolein realized early on that the Netherlands was too small for her. After traveling to 30+ countries over the span of 10 years she moved to the United States in 2014. She holds a degree in Communication from the University of Rotterdam and has long had an affinity for creative writing.


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