Jonnie Robinson, Curator, English accents and dialects, British Library Sound Archive, writes:
Many first and second generation children of immigrant communities are acutely aware of their bilingual status. Such speakers demonstrate an incredible ability to code-switch - that is they can alternate between different languages as circumstance dictates, often within the same utterance. In most cases this process is subconscious and, as Abida explains, simply indicative of the fact that a speaker doesn't know the appropriate word in one of the languages or simply feels that certain English words express far more accurately the meaning they are trying to convey.
Within the community itself, switching between languages can be used to communicate a sense of shared identity or group solidarity and it's interesting to hear these speakers' observations on the family dynamics regarding their linguistic behaviour. As in many such cases, both children acknowledge that they use a mixture of English to their parents, although their parents respond exclusively in Urdu. Perhaps more intriguingly, just as many families concede that the youngest child is often treated more leniently in terms of discipline and general notions of acceptable behaviour, likewise it seems Muhammed senses he 'gets away with' speaking more English than his older sister. This demonstrates perfectly how our use of language is strongly influenced by our environment and above all incredibly revealing about the way we perceive ourselves in relation to others.