global language

Have you ever conceived a world deprived of languages? Or perceived human beings as inarticulate as animals? Human beings are endowed supremacy over other beings, as they have distinctive aptitudes. Humans can enunciate and manifest their feelings and emotions, along with transferring data and knowledge. But what is the secret behind this peculiar attribute?

It would be hard to imagine a world lacking communication, a world entirely crammed with solidarity. It is the creator’s clemency and benevolence that he has granted us intellect and the ability to communicate.

Primitive Communication

Primitively, humans for communication used sounds and gestures (Anglin, n.d.). Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions. Others like Kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought (Chomsky, 2002). Since many languages date back more than thousands of years, many languages could be included in the list of the oldest languages in the world.

What is Language?

“Language is a system of conventional spoken, manual, or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of a social group and participants in its culture, express themselves” (Robins, 2018). “The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is,” Boroditsky says. “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow,” says Oliver Wendell Holmes. It shapes the way we think, facilitates literacy, and assists us in comprehending the creator and his creation. Directing us towards emancipation and salvation. The sole principal of language includes transmitting thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. That’s why languages must contain simplicity, fluency, and eloquence. Today the count of languages outnumber the number of regions, reckoning more than 7000 in numbers.

The French language’s domination

Various languages have wrestled their way in concern of becoming a lingua franca or a global language that is systematically used for the ease of communication, prevailing amongst international businessmen, multinational companies, economists, sociologists, scientists, and people who do not share a first language. The implication of lingua francas has subsisted since antiquity. Latin and Koine Greek were the lingua francas of the Roman Empire. Aramaic remained the common language of a majority of Western Asia from several primitive empires.

For a long period, French was considered to be a dominating lingua franca. But, it is precisely in the 18th and 19th centuries that the English language steamed up in influence. The British Empire started to expand its boundaries. It also conquered the way of communication, enforcing people to get embarked with a new set of words and syntax. English inhabited lands of knowledge, shadowed thoughts and vanquished native languages. It became a medium for social media. Roads of international businesses, finances, and conferences contained English as its concrete. Today there are beyond 375 million native English speakers and up to 1.5 billion nonnative speakers (“World Factbook – Ethiopia”, n.d.).

Language mixing and the effect of globalization

As English pilfered its contemporaries, it started dissolving into the native languages, altering into the so-called Hinglish, for the Indians, Chinglish, for the Chinese and Singlish for the Singaporeans. Since then the concept of the English language as a global means of communication regarding the international standards also referred to as Global English, World English, Common English, Continental English, General English, Engas (English as associate language), or Globish was initiated by Joachim Grzega, a German linguist. He wanted a global language that was simple, easy to learn, and excluded complex syntaxes.

Afterwards, an IBM executive, Jean-Paul Nerrière as a result of his extensive travels, observed the inevitable need for a global language. After discerning patterns of English used by nonnative English speakers and their struggle in expressing their ideas and thoughts internationally, he proposed Globish as an international language in 1989 (Parlez vous Globish? Probably, even if you don’t know it”, 2009). He constructed a framework for the English lite, limiting the immeasurable set of English words to 1500, along with eliminating idioms, jokes, and complex syntaxes.

Critics of Globish

Critics of Globish believe there are inadequacies in the framework. According to them, a recently diluted English can never surpass the classical absolute English. They also argue, why people cannot learn the original English language instead of an artificial language. In a cross-talk between Jean-Paul Nerrière, author of the book “Parlez Globish! : Don’t speak English”, Robert Henry Lawrence Phillipson, Research Professor at Copenhagen Business School’s Department of English and David Graddol, a British linguist.

“Globish is a simplified, correct and the most suitable English”, says Jean-Paul Nerrière, introducing to his recently formulated language. Whereas, Robert Henry Lawrence Phillipson opposingly states that “when you’re in the real world you mostly have to communicate as best as you can, and I am worried by the idea that a simplified form of English is a bit of like McDonaldization, whereas, people should be exposed to the real English as it is used in a whole range of context”.

Final Thoughts

I think that it’s what the world is going through; McDonaldization because people need simplified language to communicate effortlessly. Especially in the arena of business and formal conferences where ornate words and complex sentence formulations seem like a hurdle towards negotiation. In other words, the laws of gravity, seemingly, shifting gears for the native English speakers. It is unchallenging than it is for the nonnative speakers who speak English as a second language. In the midst of a debate, Robert Phillipson states that “The idea that you can do complex negotiations with a simplified register is completely misleading”.

The need for simplicity

Simplicity like any language. It can be extremely vital as it aids clarity, lucidity, effectiveness, and the ability to focus. “Human language is based on a dual code, in which a finite number of elements which are meaningless in themselves (e.g. sounds, letters or gestures) can be combined to form an infinite number of larger units of meaning (words and sentences)”, says Charles Hockett, an American linguist.

For instance, in the field of businesses and economics which cope up with the international standards in resemblance to the International System of Units. Most importantly, Globish can be extensively essential to native speakers, providing them comfort in conferring, and delivering the anticipated meaning. In conclusion, nonnative speakers will be able to focus on their jobs and businesses. They will be able to deviate their time from learning language towards concentrating on their businesses. Conclusively I would agree with Jean-Paul Nerrière and the statement in his book Parlez Globish! : Don’t speak English: “if we can make the limitations exactly the same, it will be as if there are no limitations at all” (Nerriere, 2004).


Author:

global language Tahir Munawer


References

“World Factbook – Ethiopia”. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2098.html#et.

Anglin, J. M. (n.d.). http://open.lib.umn.edu/intropsyc/chapter/9-3-communicating-with-others-the-development-and-use-of-language/.

Chomsky, N. (2002). The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve. Science, 298.

Parlez vous Globish? Probably, even if you don’t know it”. (2009, March 7). Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news.html.

Robins, D. C. (2018). https://www.britannica.com/topic/language.

Taylor, J. (2014). “Wedge Order in Cuneiform: a Preliminary Survey”. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/21404629/Wedge_Order_in_Cuneiform_a_Preliminary_Survey.

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