It is estimated that there are four times as many people who now speak Globish as there are native English speakers — about 1,200,000,000. The actual number may be even larger. All of them are trying to use Globish as a middle-ground language. So what is Globish? Wikipedia defines the word Globish as follows: “Globish is a subset of the English language formalized by Jean-Paul Nerriere. It uses a subset of standard English grammar, and a list of 1,500 English words. According to Nerriere it is “not a language” in and of itself, but rather it is the common ground that non-native English speakers adopt in the context of international business.” Did you know that there are 615,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary? This is a collection of all the words that have been used in the English language. But very few native English speakers know more than 80,000 of these words. But most native English speakers will not use more than 7,500 English words in their communication.
Globish, the dialect of the 3rd Millennium
Globish is a simple, pragmatic form of English codified by Jean-Paul Nerrière, a retired vice-president of IBM in the United States.
It involves a vocabulary limited to 1,500 words, short sentences, basic syntax, an absence of idiomatic expressions and extensive hand gestures to get the point across Mr Nerrière, 66, originally sought to help non-English speakers — and notably his compatriots from France — in the era when business meetings are invariably held en anglais. He advised that instead of struggling to master the Queen’s English, they should content themselves with Globish.
His two books, Don’ Speak English, Parlez Globish and Découvrez le Globish, became bestsellers inFrance and were also published in Spain, Italy, South Korea and Canada. They are also being translated into Japanese.
“Globish is a proletarian and popular idiom which does not aim at cultural understanding or at the acquisition of a talent enabling the speaker to shine at Hyde Park Corner,” he wrote.
“It is designed for trivial efficiency, always, everywhere, with everyone.”
Mr Nerrière says that his globalised version of English is now so common that Britons, Americans and other English-speakers should learn it too. “The point is that Anglophones no longer own English,” he told The Times in Paris.
He says that in multi- national meetings, Anglo-Saxons stand out as strange because they use complicated expressions and terms instead of using the elementary English adopted by colleagues from other countries.
If you want to speak Globish, Mr Nerrière recommends the following tips:
- “Keep sentences short
- Repeat yourself
- Avoid metaphors and colourful expressions
- Avoid negative questions
- Avoid all humour
- Avoid acronyms
- Use gestures and visual aids
- Don’ say Eerie, Say Strange
- Don’ say Globish is the gateway to international conversation, say Globish helps you to talk to people from other countries.”
So is this the end of English as we know it or simply the birth of a new lingua franca? Is Globish the Esperanto everyone was waiting for?