Globish --- English Simplified

English
@MALUSE (30019)
Denmark
August 10, 2017 2:01pm CST
Why do people all over the world feel the need for a lingua franca? They want to communicate, they want to be able to do business with each other. They certainly don’t want to master English so that they can read Shakespeare plays in the original. At least the overwhelming majority doesn’t. This has led to a simplification of grammar rules and vocabulary and to a language free of allusions, quotations, sayings, puns and jokes. The Frenchman Jean-Paul Nerriére, a retired IBM executive noticed in the 1990s that non-native English speakers understood each other much better than non-native speakers understood native speakers and vice versa. Instead of, say, ‘niece’ they use ‘the son of my brother/sister’, instead of ‘oath’ they say ‘word of honour’ etc. Two fewer words to learn! Nerriére compiled a vocabulary of 1.500 words, enough to communicate with anybody regardless of their mother tongue. It’s basic or essential English but contains all the necessary terms of our digital age. This non-native English is also called ‘decaffeinated English’. It quenches the thirst but hasn’t got spark. The site (www).globish.com introduces Monsieur Nerriére and his concept - you can click on a video and hear him talking - and offers books on Globish for learners with different first languages. A special service is also advertised, namely to help rewrite any text in Globish. “Not sure if your text is Globish compatible? Our Globish Word Scanner highlights any non-Globish words in red so that you can rewrite your text.” This is the point where Globish may be useful for native speakers of English, too. If you write an article and want it understood worldwide, you should scan it to find out which words are not included in the 1.500 word list of Globish and then substitute them with simpler expressions. Globish may not be rooted in the British or American cultural heritage any more, but it can’t be denied that it stems from there. This is the reason why some people are against it and propagate a completely artificial language like, say, Esperanto which is composed of elements of different languages and doesn’t prefer just one. Some artificial languages are already quite old, Esperanto, for example, was invented at the end of the 19th century. But obviously they aren’t serious contenders for Globish. The opponents of unifying languages claim that cultural diversity will suffer and maintain that preserving cultural diversity is as important as preserving biodiversity. The funny thing is that native speakers are excluded from Globish. If you haven’t learnt to *listen* to your mother tongue, you don’t know how many figures of speech, images, metaphors, puns, proverbs etc. you use. You may think that you can speak in a simple way and be convinced that even foreigners with a limited knowledge of English can understand you, but that isn’t the case. You just don’t know which words are ’simple’ for a foreigner and which are to be avoided or rather substituted by simple synonyms. My English is far above Globish (I scanned this text and found that I would have to substitute quite a lot of words). Yet, after teaching it as a second language to foreigners for 40 years I can adapt to any standard because I know where the difficulties are. I’m glad, however, to be able to understand and use all the ingredients that must be omitted to simplify it and make it a means of universal communication. I wouldn’t want to miss the joy of getting a pun or even using one myself.
23 people like this
19 responses
@sabtraversa (9098)
• Italy
10 Aug
Is that the Simple English you get as option on Wikipedia? Much better than Esperanto, definitely. Language changes through the years and centuries, the English we speak today wasn't the same centuries ago. Globish might be "the English of future" or maybe not, it's up to us: our words are law, we speak, we decide. In the meanwhile, "Sorry, I do not understand what you mean. Can you please repeat in an easier way?" is 100% Globish and can be used against Classic English.
8 people like this
@Asylum (46315)
• Manchester, England
10 Aug
Esperanto was a magnificent creation because it was designed to be easily pronounced by all, but unfortunately it never became popular.
4 people like this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
10 Aug
As I've written, you often don't get a good answer if you ask a native speaker to repeat something 'in an easier way'. People who haven't studied their native language don't realise the different levels of speech. What they think is 'easy' may even be more difficult than the original version. Globish won't be the language of the future among native speakers as long as there will be literature. Literature thrives on everything that's eliminated from Globish. Yet, it may well become the language of international business and politics - if it isn't already. You can check your level of English by going to the site I've mentioned and letting Globish check a longer text of yours.
3 people like this
• Italy
10 Aug
@MALUSE I checked my last three discussions and had a few words in red, the most being in the poem, but that was expected. It could be a huge loss of time, but if the non-native keeps on repeating "please explain again with other words" they should get to the point the communication becomes effective. Yes, written language is what created History, therefore it'll be always there. Then there's that subtle difference between spoken and written language, the former being simple (or full of slangs) most of the time and it affects modern and future literature. But "ancient literature" won't be lost, unless people forget how to read or all books and digital memory devices* self-ignite all by sudden. *Not just books and literature, it can apply to music lyrics and films/movies too.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (73910)
• United States
10 Aug
Globish would definitely aide comprehension of text for all. I do not want to miss out on getting the gist of a piece of written work either.
6 people like this
@suziecat7 (3456)
• Asheville, North Carolina
10 Aug
I have mixed feelings about this. While it's important to be able to communicate, much of culture is embedded in language and I would hate to see it integrated to a point where unique identification would be lost.
4 people like this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
10 Aug
Globish hasn't been invented for cultural purposes. It won't be the language of the future among native speakers as long as there will be literature. Literature thrives on everything that's eliminated from Globish. Yet, it may well become the language of international business and politics - if it isn't already.
4 people like this
@Platespinner (17578)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
11 Aug
I can see the appeal of a language that is simpler to learn and understand, but on the other hand there is so much richness and depth to language and communication that ends up completely lost.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
Globish is not meant to substitute 'real' English. It was invented for business purposes and simple communication.
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
11 Aug
@MALUSE I don't doubt that, but I suspect that "simple communication" will make us believe we understand one another when in reality we don't. I think globalization creates a need to understand each other on a deeper level culturally than any simplified language will allow.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
@Platespinner I get what you're saying but you must admit that not understanding each other can also happen if you use a very elaborate language. We see proof of this every day.
3 people like this
@xFiacre (10111)
• Ireland
10 Aug
@maluse This doesn't please me at all. Every language has its own delicious taste and ought not be diluted or polluted. Of course I only appreciate this having learned other languages in all their complexities, and learning Irish now is a pure delight even though it tortures the logical mind.
3 people like this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
Obviously, I haven't explained things well. Several members have reacted in the same way. Globish is not meant to substitute 'real' English. It was invented for business purposes and simple communication. Better to have it than to misunderstand each other. Foreigners can always go on and learn the 'real' language if they feel like it.
3 people like this
@xFiacre (10111)
• Ireland
11 Aug
@MALUSE I suppose if I was negotiating a lucrative business deal I'd be more concerned about accuracy and clarity than the subtle nuances that bring savour to a language.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
@xFiacre Indeed. You've understood the concept.
1 person likes this
@poehere (17075)
• French Polynesia
12 Aug
My mom was an American and native speaker. I grew up speaking French and English. Mostly French because we lived in France. In our home my dad made us all speak English for my mom. So when I went to America I sort of had a heads up on how they spoke. It was strange for a few months, but then it sort of fell into place. Now that I haven't been back in so long I have lost a lot of my ability to decrypt the ways of the English. I am planning on going there next year so I will see what happens. Maybe I will be totally lost all over again. Who knows.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (112981)
• Switzerland
11 Aug
I am surely going to check the site Globish. I have noticed that too many times when you ask people (speaking a language different from yours) to repeat, they repeat exactly without changing a word, this especially in the United States. Same speed, same words, same accent, this does not help, so the idea of Monsieur Nerriére is interesting and an intelligent approach to solve language problems.
2 people like this
@drannhh (15002)
• United States
11 Aug
Many times when dashing off a reply here on myLot I realize that something I have said probably makes no sense to others. Oddly, I never considered that anyone would read a Shakespeare play in anything other than the original (although I have read a French version of El Cid, so I guess, to borrow a line from Cole Porter, "anything goes.")
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
Shakespeare isn't easily understandable even to young native speakers of English. Imagine the difficulties for foreigners! I used to read Macbeth in the original with my German pupils in the last class of secondary grammar school. One reason for choosing this play was that it is short. There isn't so much spiel - difficult to understand but 'signifying nothing'.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
@drannhh These plays are also worth reading, of course, but Macbeth is much shorter. It would be nice if you dropped me a line when you've used the Globish thing for a while.
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15002)
• United States
29 Aug
@MALUSE I have used the Globish International app a few times at the breakfast table instead of dictionaries to look up common words in Spanish, German, and Italian, but it doesn't have French.
@FayeHazel (9300)
• United States
14 Aug
Wow. A simplified language. That's an interesting idea - though I would hope that it wouldn't hurt the rates of people wishing to learn English - proper.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
14 Aug
Everyone who has mastered Globish can go on learning more if they feel like it.
@jstory07 (55980)
• Roseburg, Oregon
12 Aug
Everyone should speak one language English and than we would have no problem.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
12 Aug
Speakers of other languages will see things differently. Why not, say, Spanish? Spanish is the second most widespread world language. Or why not Chinese, the language which has most speakers in one country?
2 people like this
@just4him (85184)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
12 Aug
I hadn't heard of this kind of language. Very interesting and it would make it easier for people to understand.
1 person likes this
@Asylum (46315)
• Manchester, England
10 Aug
I could probably lower my command of English in order to make it simpler to follow, but after a lifetime it is instinct to converse at a certain level. Of course, the greater the command of English and the more precisely you can communicate your thoughts, but sadly the less people will understand.
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (11225)
• Riga, Latvia
10 Aug
Thanks for sharing. Interesting site. When I gave private English lessons here I always too English language material from the Internet. This is one site I didn't know about. However now my private teaching business no longer thrives. Everyone has gone off to work in foreign countries and know enough English.
1 person likes this
11 Aug
Nice! I heard about Esperanto, and Memrise app teaches it, but never heard of Globish! I like the concept. I also like the service for turning articles into Globish. Now if only we could also solve the different accent issues. I had more hard time with English speakers in Pakistan than the Urdu ones.
@MALUSE (30019)
• Denmark
11 Aug
You're right. I'm not used to English spoken by Asians or Africans and have problems understanding them even though some of them speak the language really very well.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (91810)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Aug
That's very interesting. I'll have to have a look at Globish.
@thelme55 (10828)
• Germany
18 Aug
I haven´t heard about Globish English. Well, maybe I did but I didn´t notice that it´s Globish. Maybe just weird. Thanks for the heads up. Very interesting to know.
@garymarsh6 (12006)
• United Kingdom
13 Aug
If it helps business men communicate better then hopefully it is to be applauded, All our languages are changing and not always for the better. If you listen to some very old BBC news readers the standards are quite different to what we have today!
@alberello75 (11914)
• Genova, Italy
13 Aug
This Globish, I think, would be useful for us in Europe. Unlike the United States, we have united every value with EURO (and the worst results, have been seen!), But not the language. However, I think it is impossible for us Europeans to unify everything in one universal language. But until now, I've never heard of that Globish. This could revolutionize the language of the future? Thanks for the tip
@bluesa (10604)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
11 Aug
I think Globish is great for business purposes, I can understand them needing to simplify. But yes, I too would not want miss the joy of understanding a pun or being able to deliver one.