Growing an Old Language New Together

A language is not a string of beads on a wire that you hook around your neck, fiddle with, mumble along with, and presto, you have a smart phone. An indigenous language is rich, complex, dynamic and strange. It contains the nuances of this image:


English is such a language. It is a form of poetry, wit, delight and play. However, if you are a human needing to communicate across languages, then the thing for you is Globish. Don’t take it from me. Take it from the BBC:

Globish — a distilled form of English, stripped down to 1,500 words and simple but standard grammar. “It’s not a language, it’s a tool,” he says. Since launching Globish in 2004 he’s sold more than 200,000 Globish text books in 18 languages.


“If you can communicate efficiently with limited, simple language you save time, avoid misinterpretation and you don’t have errors in communication,” Nerriere says.



You also don’t have this.


These are cultural choices. For an English speaker, Globish requires mental surgery. You have to hack away at your mind and your earth with a rock, against a long tradition of cultural, linguistic and environmental development that stretches back at least 2000 years. In the Okanagan, in the North American west, for example, language means a choice between being colonial or one of the people and the land. Globish is vital, but it doesn’t address that issue. It is not this:


The end of human effort today s enriched communication between humans and the earth, all together, in the deepest, most dynamic method possible. That is the task before us who still live on and with this earth: to put the earth back into the language, before we are only left with colonial experience. We owe new speakers of English the respect of giving them the ability to find this and include it in their global discussions:


To “meaning”, “understanding,” “intention” and “communication”  another real need can be added: poetry. English and Globish are separate languages, with separate purposes. There is much we, as native English speakers, can do to make bridges with the native Earth speakers in other languages, to bring their intimate knowledge to the conversation. At the moment, Globish can’t do that. It can only grow from such effort.



We can only grow from such effort. Let us begin.

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