Latest Posts

Code Mixing and Language Hybridization

Code-mixing refers to the mixing of two languages at the word level.

If we consider our situation we can find that domains related to education, media and profession are those where people use to mix the code. Teachers while talking in classroom often blends English words with those of Urdu. Media men and specially hosts at TV and radio etc mix the code frequently. They use a blend of Urdu with English and English with Urdu in talk shows and live programs. You can often find such kind of examples of code-mixing in TV talk shows.

Aik aur programHamarey studio—Chhota sa break—Bari bari companiyan,
Depend karta haiProtest huye hain—Koi bara initiativeExportss hit ho rahi hain


Language hybridization is a resultant process of frequent code-mixing. Sometimes, even the grammar or structure of one language is applied to the vocabulary of another. So when two or more languages are frequently mixed, resultantly a new hybrid variety of language takes birth. This new variety to some extent shares the qualities of both the languages but it has its own independent grammar and vocabulary that may not match any of the mixed languages.

A few examples of code-mixing and language hybridization from Pakistan between Urdu and English.

Hybridization in single words

Leadraan,   Companiyan,   Machinain,   Filmain,   Classon,   Agenday  

Hybridization in compound words

Quomi assembly,   Hakomti member,   Parlimani leader,   Contract Mulazmin,   Difaee Budget,   Passkarda shariat bill        

Hybridization in noun phrases

       Sometimes the speakers make a hybridized noun phrase by adding noun from English and the modifier from Urdu.

Mojooda assembly,   Tamam products,   Achi selection,   Aik both bara challenge,   Aik mind set,   Chota sa break,   Mukhtalif companies  

       Sometimes the speakers make a noun phrase by adding noun from Urdu and the modifier from English.

Record pedawar,   Provincial hakumat,   Major hisa,        Modern aslah,         
Legal masla,   Important guftgu,   Motor Gari     

       Sometimes the hybridized noun phrases are made by sandwiching the item of one language between the items of the other language.

Police aur judiciary,   Genuine opposition ka role,   Ain k article tin ki sub clause char,   News Night ka doosra segment,   Suicidal kism ka aik action,   Aik billion ropeya  

Hybridization in verb phrases

Control bhi kar saktay hain,   Justify nahi kar saktay,   Notification nahi hua hai,   Support nahi karain gaey,   Relief milay ga,   Pass kia tha

Some communities have special names for a hybrid variety: in India, Hindlish and Hinglish are used for the widespread mixing of Hindi and English; in Pakistan, Urdish refers to the mixing of Urdu and English; in Nigeria, Amulumala (verbal salad) is used for English and Yoruba mixing and switching.

1.    Kitna khubsurat scene hai. (Noun)

2.    In dono ko compare karo. (Verb)

3.    Ye one-sided report hai. (Noun Phrase)

4.    Aj main ne bara tasty kofta curry banaya hai. (Noun Phrase Hybridization)

Code-mixing and language hybridization are interesting phenomena in bilingual societies that gain significance in the backdrop of globalization.

Since majority of people in the country have a very superficial and limited understanding of English those who know English frequently code mix it in Urdu to exhibit their superior knowledge of English, but at the same time being fearful of that they may not be understood or interpreted well they repeat the Urdu equivalent. This repetition is used as a pedagogical strategy by many teachers in Pakistani schools to ensure that students understand what is taught.

The young people in Pakistan are often heard using English and Urdu salutation ‘hello, aslam-o-alikum’ together; especially in telephonic conversation it is very common. In the same way ‘good morning’ is often followed by ‘aslam-o-alikum’. Sometime after using an Urdu word or phrase they add its English equivalent such as ‘az khud, automatically’.

In such cased the speaker repeats the English equivalent of the used word to express his knowledge of English since English is a language of prestige and high status in Pakistan. Another reason in such cases is that the English equivalent of the word or term is more popular in society, and the speaker feels that the Urdu word or term being less in use may not be understood by the listener.

Code mixing plays a very significant role in language change and language variation, and also provides an insight into the socio-cultural phenomena taking place in that area or region, through the linguistic choices of the people. It is not only an indicator that the process of change is going on, but also a vehicle of linguistic change. Indeed, many linguists view mixed-code as an inevitable by-product of bilingualism.

As a matter of fact language change is not something new, it has always been taking place in all the languages through all the times, including Urdu. But what is important in the present scenario is the speed of this change that is noticeable even to the general public.