From English to Globish: the global language of the future.


The debate has been running for a few years now in Europe on the ELFE project (English as a Lingua Franca for Europe): a kind of Euro-English or Simple English shared by all EU Member States with an abridged vocabulary, simple grammar and unified pronunciation. Having already reached Brussels in 2010 as part of the platform for multilingualism, the issue arose in order to find an effective way of saving on the bureaucracy and enormous translation and interpretation costs that are needed in EU offices and buildings.

One of the possible solutions being considered is certainly Globish. Invented by Jean-Paul Nerrière and advocated by many linguists, Global English is based on a straightforward vocabulary pared down to 1,500 words.

Nerrière’s idea came from the need to find a common language for all Europeans that can be learnt quickly and easily. This led to the idea of laying new grammatical foundations for the Old Continent, not starting from the erudite, sophisticated English of Shakespeare, but rather from the basic, improper, distorted version used by foreigners to communicate amongst themselves or to make themselves understood in English-speaking countries.

Globish is the natural consequence of the new age of low-cost flights and shortened tweets that say “u r gr8” to mean “you are great”; a language that can express feelings or information in just 140 characters.

While this is the most foreseeable scenario for communication in Europe and beyond, for now the official language of the whole world is still the English of David Cameron and Silicon Valley. But one thing is certain: the world of communication continues and will always continue to evolve.



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