There’s a linguistic behaviour called code-switching and another called code-mixing. I’m not too certain about the difference between these – in fact, it seems that linguists are divided in defining them, some even using them interchangeably. Anyway, I’m told this video features both.

It fascinates me, as this is exactly what I’m doing – not with Gaelic and English, but with English and my so-called first language. Funnily though, not when communicating with other people. Only a handful of my friends and acquaintances know both. But when I’m thinking, when I’m involved in one of those permanent internal monologues/dialogues we keep with our own selves, I guess I’m switching and mixing even more than Tormod MacGill-Eain. Not to mention I also have a few dialects of either of these languages to mix and switch between – and, to a much lesser extent, Gaelic to throw in as well.

(Incidentally, there’s also an English-only video with Norman Maclean on the Island Voices website, which is interesting to me for a quite different reason. He’s talking his alcoholism, and my own experience is in some aspects identical – and in some others directly opposite.)



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