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Has anyone heard anything about this "Globlish"?
Thread poster: Rafa Lombardino

Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 01:50
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
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May 1, 2005

I've just read an article published by a Brazilian magazine about something called "Globlish", that is "Global + English". The term was created by Jean-Paul Nerrière, who calls Globlish "the frank language", and believes the trend should be taught at school.

According to Nerrière, 8 out of 10 people around the world already speak Globlish without knowing it. These Globlish speakers would have a basic knowledge of English which, associated with gestures and facial expressions, would be enough for another non-English speaker to understand it perfectly.

For example, if a businessman from the Ukraine were talking to a businessman from Brazil, they could understand each other using "Globlish"! But if an American or British businessman were observing the two foreigners talk, they would not be able to make sense of much of it...

Nerrière believes there are only 1,500 relevant words in English that should be learned by a non-English speaker, associated by some other possible words depending on the professional activities such Globlish speaker undertakes.

Nerrière, who speaks English fluently and has worked for IBM in France and in the US, maintains the website http://www.jpn-globish.com/ and is ready to write his second book on the topic.

What do you think about it? Will the innovation catch on, considering the number of people around the world that have basic and miscellaneous knowledge of the international language that we still call English?


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Globlish May 1, 2005

Hmm, if Globlish is so immmediately comprehensible, why does the inventor use French on his web site and not Globlish?

Krys


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Joanna Borowska  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:50
English to Polish
Polglish May 1, 2005

In Poland we have our own "variety" of Globish. In some articles I've read they called it "Polglish"

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Jalapeno
Local time: 10:50
English to German
Maybe... May 1, 2005

Krys Bottrill wrote:

Hmm, if Globlish is so immmediately comprehensible, why does the inventor use French on his web site and not Globlish?

Krys


Presumably because it's difficult to express gestures and facial expressions on the internet...



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Barnaby Capel-Dunn  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:50
French to English
Another article on the same subject May 1, 2005

This one taken from the IHT
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/21/features/Blume22.php

Best

Barnaby


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keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:20
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English to Hindi
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hinglish May 1, 2005

ryfka wrote:

In Poland we have our own "variety" of Globish. In some articles I've read they called it "Polglish"


In India,some people mix up English words with their own language and an artificial language "Hinglish"(Hindi+English) is evolved.Sometimes it goes to a ridiculous state and become extreme artificial.
Every living language has a potentiality to grasp and digest the living words of another language. Many french and latin words are taken in English ans these words are known today as English words also. But this process takes a long time and be done automaticlly. If inclusion of words done forcefully,then the language seems artificial.
Globlish seems a vague idea. Apart of gestures, every local language is also include. Therefore every person should know somehow all languages of the world apart of english language.
Anybody can do it, at least I cannot do !!


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invguy  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 11:50
English to Bulgarian
At first sight May 1, 2005

the concept seems to be a praiseworthy attempt to foresee the future of verbal communication in a globalizing world. I am afraid, though, that I can see it being used (rather - abused) in a number of irrelevant contexts - like:

"It would end this crazy French terror about English and francophonie. The French say you are killing the French language and I say, no, we are saving it from being killed by English."
................
"This is the way to get Americans to learn another language."
(quotes from http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/21/features/Blume22.php )

Reducing the natural formation of a global verbal communication tool to its local effects could create unnecessary, even harmful, bias. I might come out a bit conservative here - but frankly, I'd prefer to see things progress unattended, at their own pace. IMHO it is quite obvious that English (or whatever variety of it) will be the lingua franca for the next generations. However, a premature framing of the process, albeit only expressed in hasty coining of terms, could only cause slowdown and/or distraction.

Maybe we humans still haven't learned to trust evolution?... or maybe it's still too slow for our innate eagerness?...


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 01:50
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
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Spanglish and Portuñol... May 1, 2005

ryfka wrote:

In Poland we have our own "variety" of Globish. In some articles I've read they called it "Polglish"


In Brazil we have what we call Portuñol, which is an incomprehensible mix of Portuguese and Spanish, since most Brazilians believe they can speak Spanish by approximation, creating words as "pierto" or getting into strange situations with the wrong usage of "embarazada" or "saco".

And I think everybody already know what Spanglish is, so I won't even touch this subject...

But the problem with Globlish is not having your own perspective regarding English and your native language; Nèrriere proposes the creation of another English and says, sarcastically, that Globlish should be taught in the US so that Americans could finally speak another language!p The article replies with a clever twist, wondering if the French linguist (?) is a little sore because French is not the international language anymore, as it was 50, 40 years ago... My mom still has her French dictionaries from her Foreign Language classes in Elementary School from the late 50s and early 60s!

About his website being in French, I was also wondering why he didn't apply his invention himself, to set an example, you know?! He would probably say that he already speaks English fluently or he would argue that Globlish only "works" as a spoken language, with the aid of the gestures and facial expressions -- which made me think about this friend who learned some slangs in English watching the character Joey from the sitcom "Friends"...

Anyway, I do hope this doesn't go anywhere. I was an English teacher for three years and I remember how confused some kids were as is... Introducing this Globlish at language schools, in my opinion, would be a disaster because they would not be able to learn spelling at all! (Nèrriere encourages the spelling according to the pronunciation, turning "people" into "piple", for example...) Wouldn't the informality of emails and internet chatting be enough to mess with the youngesters mind regarding spelling? LOL


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:50
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
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Globlish and controlled/simplified languages May 1, 2005

Rafaela Lombardino wrote:
But the problem with Globlish is not having your own perspective regarding English and your native language; Nèrriere proposes the creation of another English and says, sarcastically, that Globlish should be taught in the US so that Americans could finally speak another language!

About his website being in French, I was also wondering why he didn't apply his invention himself, to set an example, you know?! He would probably say that he already speaks English fluently or he would argue that Globlish only "works" as a spoken language, with the aid of the gestures and facial expressions -- which made me think about this friend who learned some slangs in English watching the character Joey from the sitcom "Friends"...

Anyway, I do hope this doesn't go anywhere. I was an English teacher for three years and I remember how confused some kids were as is... Introducing this Globlish at language schools, in my opinion, would be a disaster because they would not be able to learn spelling at all! (Nèrriere encourages the spelling according to the pronunciation, turning "people" into "piple", for example...) Wouldn't the informality of emails and internet chatting be enough to mess with the youngesters mind regarding spelling? LOL


Allow me to take the perspective of someone who has been involved in writing for international audiences and translation during the past 10 years. I was on the technical committee and program committee of the last two sessions of the Controlled Language Application Workshop (CLAW2000 and CLAW2003) which represents a key conference on the topic of simplified languages (ie, Simplified English, Rationalised French, Plain Language, Caterpillar Technical English, General Motors Controlled Automotive Service Language, etc).
General Motors created not only their CASL technical controlled language with 62 rules, but also a generic version called GM Global English with 12 rules which they taught at their GM University for the purposes of international communication.
The paper by Linda Means that was presented by Linda Means at CLAW2000 was in fact written in Global English.
http://www.up.univ-mrs.fr/~veronis/claw2000/

The idea of Basic English is not new. Odgen's Basic English goes back to the 1930s if I recall. Caterpillar was inspired by it to create an 800 word restrained vocabulary called Caterpillar Fundamental English in the 1970s. The AECMA Simplified English also took the perspective of a limited vocabulary. I wrote a very short article on this at:

Different Types of Controlled Languages
http://www.tc-forum.org/topiccl/cl15diff.htm

Such types of simplified languages are more successful in environments where the usage is enforced and the users see the benefits.
Proposing a generic simplified language to the public at large without any type of reinforced motivation will probably not be successful.

As for changing the spelling of words, I agree that this is disastrous. Native English speakers also have to learn the word forms of English words. Anyone who has worked in language teaching for a period of time knows that there are different types of learning styles (visual, aural/oral, tactile) and that learners base their own learning strategy on a primary learning style. Few people really know that there are different styles and that it is best to develop a learning strategy that uses two or more different styles.
Also, most "educated" cultures focus on visual learning of word forms, whereas traditional non-written language cultures use aural/oral learning with much repetition. Globlish seems to be trying to use restricted vocabulary through an aural approach and modified spelling to apply to both visually-focused and aurally-focused cultures.

I have long-range plans to write a practical handbook on writing texts in different controlled and simplified languages. But that is still in the planning stages.

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/controlledlanguage/


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:20
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Can't be global without the Americans! May 2, 2005

Rafaela Lombardino wrote:

But if an American or British businessman were observing the two foreigners talk, they would not be able to make sense of much of it...



How can it be "global english" without the Americans, the "first nation" of the world, and the British, "the copyright holders of English"?

I am only joking of course.

Globish can serve for the most elementary form of communication, but for all higher purposes regular languages will continue to be indispensible.



[Edited at 2005-05-02 11:33]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:20
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In India we have Hinglish May 2, 2005

ryfka wrote:

In Poland we have our own "variety" of Globish. In some articles I've read they called it "Polglish"


We have our own version of globlish in India, it is called Hinglish (Hindi + English).


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VBaby
Local time: 09:50
English to French
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An optimistic take on globish May 2, 2005

I recommend this column for an optimistic take on globish:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1068-1591497,00.html

Quote: "Globish is not quite a language: it is a means to an end, a way of bringing millions into a global economy without the privilege of formal education, a world dialect, an international über-slang that, for the most part, leaves local languages intact. It may be a limited form of communication, but at least Globish means that we are talking to each other."

Actually, globish shouldn't figure in an "Artificial languages" forum at all, since it's the ultimate natural language.

Jeff Allen writes: "Such types of simplified languages are more successful in environments where the usage is enforced and the users see the benefits. Proposing a generic simplified language to the public at large without any type of reinforced motivation will probably not be successful."

This may well be true for artifically-created languages, but this doesn't apply here. Users - the Spanish peacekeepers and Indian soldiers in Ben Macintyre column - ARE seeing the benefits and globish is taking root because it isn't "proposed to the public at large" by anyone. It's just there and fulfilling a need.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:50
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Danish to English
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Is any language ever understood perfectly ??? May 3, 2005

Rafaela Lombardino wrote:

According to Nerrière, 8 out of 10 people around the world already speak Globlish without knowing it. These Globlish speakers would have a basic knowledge of English which, associated with gestures and facial expressions, would be enough for another non-English speaker to understand it perfectly.



The longer I work in translation, the more sceptical I get about anyone ever understanding a language 'perfectly';-)

And when it comes to what Tom McArthur simply calls 'the English languages' - they are definitely plural.

We don't have an Academie or anything like that to tell us what we mean. We've made it up as we went along, borrowing right, left and centre from the rest of the world since the time of Chaucer & co who get the credit for inventing the language.

The day languages get that easy, we can all retire and let the CATs and computers do the work.

But until then...
Happy translating and interpreting, folks!


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fatagina
English to Italian
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global english May 12, 2005

I think that the learning of an artificial language would be very difficult to encourage in any case. most research done into the motivation for people to learn a second language is often replied to with "I wanted to be better able to access the culture". Admittedly there are many leaners who see the financial benefit behind learning a language, in terms of trade,etc. This would be the only motivation behind learning a language like Globlish (or Esperanto, etc.) as from what I understand the proposed language would only allow for a very limited communication. And if we were to learn this globlish, what sort of an interaction could we have with other cultures, if our lexicon is so restricted? Many cultures do not believe in talking only about business, and depend heavily upon the formation of interpersonal relationships between the business dealers, before any sort of an agreement is made.
However, a paper by Robert Phillipson of Roskilde University on 'linguistic imperialism', basically crucifies English for its dominance of the world as a language of trade. an important question he poses is whether the 'expansion of English and other dominant languages, which is an intrisic part of contemporary globalization, serves to encourage and promote other languages and cultures or the reverse'? So what to do about the expansion of English? does anyone think that there is a viable alternative to linguistic imperialism? Is the use of English on such a wide scale really contributing to 'linguicide'? What do you think?


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 01:50
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Language cycles through History - does Globbish stand a chance? May 13, 2005

fatagina wrote:

(...) a paper by Robert Phillipson of Roskilde University on 'linguistic imperialism', basically crucifies English for its dominance of the world as a language of trade. (...) what to do about the expansion of English? does anyone think that there is a viable alternative to linguistic imperialism? Is the use of English on such a wide scale really contributing to 'linguicide'? What do you think?


I obviously cannot predict the future, but I believe History has its cycles. Dominance has always changed hands, the problem is that in the past it didn't happen with one single generation and was rather a slow process of adapting, adjusting, and accepting. The English dominance took many by surprise, since 50 years ago English may not have been *THE* foreign language to be studied in many countries all over the world.

I'll use Brazil as an example, since that's where I come from. When my mother was in high school (mid-60's), she had to learn French as her second language. That is due to the dominance of French in areas such as Philosophy and Sciences in terms of professional and scientific materials (essays, theories, magazines...) being published around the world. French was the language being used internationally for an effective communication and many languages have incorporated French words to their vocabulary.

In a more everlasting scale, Spanish and Portuguese were once strong dominant languages due to the Conquistadores that were "discovering" and "conquering" new lands, taking (forcing?) their culture into the new world. That is why Latin America speaks Spanish and Brazil and some countries in Africa, such as Angola, speak Portuguese. It may not be exactly the same language spoken in Spain and Portugal, due to the regional adaptations and the influence of other cultures after the settling period, but it still echos the dominance of such languages from the 1500 up to, let's say, 1700...

If you go back even further, it was Latin that dominated the world. Roman Empire, anyone? And even though it's not a "live language" anymore, it stills has a major influence on the way we speak here in the West.

I won't go into the East history, because I don't know all that much about Japanese and Chinese cultures, but you can have an idea.

Nowadays, the "thing" is English. Using my Mom as an example again, when she went to college in the early 70's she had to take English classes (In Brazil, subjetcs are imposed by the educational institution and you're not free to choose the classes you want to take, only the field you want to major in). When I was born, in 1980, English was already dominating due to the influence of technology, which soon would be strengthened by the use of computers.

However, in the late 90's, another factor changed the curriculum in Brazilian schools: the economical and trading relationship between Brazil and the rest of South America (which is Spanish-speaking with the exception of Suriname and the French Guiana). That was when Spanish classes were popping up all over the country and I could say that Brazilians felt somewhat relieved, since learning Spanish can be a little easier than learning English due to the proximity with Portuguese.

Who knows what's gonna happen in the future. Any country in the world may come up with something new that will be used all over the world and its language may be "exported" with such product. There are many factors to a language influence and we can't predict the future. All I know is that a "broken" language — as I personally consider Globish to be — will not help in the communication process between different nations because of its lack of cultural aspects.

As translators, all we can do is sit and wait to see what happens while perfecting our craft, keeping in mind that we do play a huge part in the influence of foreign languages because everytime a translator "makes up" a word in a manual, for example, the source language becomes an imposition to the target language.


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