Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Globish"? - It all sounds rather familiar

Thanks to a recent Twitter post from the always entertaining and informative Stephen Fry, I recently came across the word "GLOBISH." - Mr. Fry went on to explain that "Globish" was shorthand for "Global English."

Now that piqued my interest, and after a quick application of my Google-Fu skills I found myself at the Globish website where I found out that it is described as

.... a simple, pragmatic form of English. 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.

And then there was this informative video.

Now this all sounds very familiar. This approach of using a controlled sub-set of English to reach non-native English speaking customers is something we have been working on in the technical communications community for decades. In fact as an idea it dates back to the 1930s.

Yet it seems that this newest incarnation of the concept seems to be getting a lot of mainstream publicity that our efforts have never achieved. Globish has been the subject of stories by, among many others, the BBC and the New York Times. I can never recall any mainstream press being interested in the ideas, concepts and benefits of Simplified Technical English, or even the government sponsored Plain Language initiatives. - I wonder why that is?

1 comment:

Bill Chapman said...

Yes, Globish is just a rehash of Basic English. I'll stick with Esperanto.