*Deborah Ashabai Fredericks John & Francisco Perlas Dumanig
This study examined identity construction through the use of code switching in English language newspaper advertisements in Malaysia. Specifically, this study investigated how code switching is used to construct identity and determine the types of identities constructed. One hundred and twenty one (121) food, finance, motoring, energy and telecommunications English advertisements with Malay, Tamil and Chinese code switching occurrences were selected from the three local English newspapers with the highest circulation over a period of six months from 1 August, 2011 to 31 January, 2012. The data was analysed using Bhatia’s (1992) four structural components of advertisements, Piller’s (2001) identity theory of similarity and difference and Woodward’s (1997) theory of difference and representation. The findings reveal that during festivals, advertisers construct identity through code switching in the headline and body copy components of their advertisements. The types of identities constructed include Islamic identity, ethnic identities and national (Malaysian) identity. The findings are consistent with previous studies on language choice and advertising.
Keywords: Advertising, code switching, identity construction, language choice