Globish

“The world’s varieties of English range from the ‘crazy English’ taught to the Chinese-speaking officials of the Beijing Olympics, to the ‘voice and accent’ manuals issued by Infosys and Microsoft at their Bangalore headquarters. Thus, English today embodies a paradox. To some, it seems to carry the seeds of its own decay. In the heartlands of the mother tongue, there are numerous anxieties about its future: in the United States, language conservatives agonise about the Hispanic threat to American English. But simultaneously, and more stealthily – almost unnoticed, in fact – the real challenge to the English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible comes less from alien speech than from the ceaseless amendments made to English in a myriad daily transactions across the known world. Here, global English, floating free from its troubled British and American past, has begun to take on a life of its own. My prediction is that the 21st-century expression of British and American English – the world’s English – is about to make its own declaration of independence from the linguistic past, in both syntax and vocabulary.”

There’s a bit of silliness in Robert McCrum’s writeup on his own book Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language in the UK’s Guardian. But there’s also a considerable measure of good sense. One hopes the book, soon to be released, emphasizes the sense and jettisons the nonsense.

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Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ‘Globish’ is one term for the idea of simplified English for international communication. Other practitioners use terms such as ‘global English’, ‘international English’, ‘internationalised English’, and ‘worldwide English’.

  2. Globish reminds me of another project called “Basic English” Unfortunately this failed, because native English speakers could not remember which words not to use 🙂

    So it’s time to move forward and adopt a neutral non-national language, taught universally in schools worldwide,in all nations.

    As a native English speaker, I would prefer Esperanto

    Your readers may be interested in the following video at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

    A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net


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