Nov 7, 2011


Have you ever heard of a word Globish? I thought it was a thing of the past, but to my big surprise, lots of books explaining Globish have been published, several I think, in just one year 2011, so I'm going to tell you a bit about Globish.

First of all, what is Globish? I don't think I'm quite familiar with it as I can explain it properly, so please refer to wiki, it might not be helpful though... (There are other sites explaining Globish in Japanese, but I don't think any of the site's owners are reliable considering their English competency, so I'll go without introducing them here.)

When I first came to know the term Globish, a joined word of global and English I think, several years ago, I thought it was not a reasonable approach at all to communicate with people from all over the world and it's meaningless to learn such a language. Globish is largely based on English, but it requires us to use some limited number of words and phrases. You can use Globish of limited and simplified versions of English when you speak or write. It sounds less painstaking, right?  But when it comes to understanding what native speakers of English say, you've got to be familiar with various kinds of languages native speakers use. You can't expect them to use Globish. There is no way to understand them other than broadening your English vocabulary. Having concluded like this, I'd totally forgotten about Globish till the day before yesterday.

Then I read an article about learning English for business people in a magazine "Associe" 2011.8.02 edition and got curious enough to read the English version of
世界のグロービッシュ ─1500語で通じる驚異の英語術
世界のグロービッシュ ─1500語で通じる驚異の英語術 with a kindle edition. BTW, if you're keen to know more about Globish, read the English version rather than Japanese. It provides you the best lead and a learning opportunity since the book itself is written in Globish, as the introduction of the book wrote:
"This book is about Globish and to demonstrate its value, we'll write this book for you in Globish."

I have to say the book is overly priced, $11.95 for kindle version, but I came across some encouraging messages especially for those Japanese who are made to use English out of the blue and struggling to find an efficient and less burdensome way to learn English.

For example, I'm highly doubtful of the benefit of shadowing training for a learner of English, unless you're aiming high to be a professional user of English. So I totally agree with these quotes:

"a perfect pronunciation is not needed, but only an understandable one, and that is plenty."

"pronunciations are "acceptable" as soon as they are understood. A foreign accent is never a mistake; it is part of a person's special quality. It makes you different, and can even make you sound sexy. If they are understood, people who have reasonable Globish pronunciation should stop trying to make it "better" by trying to have some native speaker's accent exactly."  
Don't you think those messages are truly sympathetic, encouraging and beneficial than any kinds of trainings to learn English pronunciation?

Or what do you think of this:
"Globish is much more forgiving because it is asking for understanding, not perfect English. But there is an extra benefit in Globish to all native English speakers and all non-native speakers: simplicity."

So, Globish is not meant to become a language, but rather a tool to enable people with diffenent mother tongues to have more easy communications. I like the idea because even native speakers of English are expected to learn Globish. It really sounds promising and also you might think it's easier than to learn English, right? But as far as I know, I don't see any reason to learn Globish for now, unfortunately, because it's .... it's .... still difficult!!! for many English learners in Japan. I have to conclude that if you want to let rid of the fear or worry to use English in business, you'd better stick to reading lots of easy books and books you're keen to read with a tadoku approach.



Whiskers said...

At first I thought Globish should be something close to 'Japlish' which some famous Japanese linguist named; English Japanese people use, like Singlish used by Singapolian people. I found, however, it is rather similar to Esperanto.

There are languages with its long established grammar and vocabulary, and why do you dare learn such an experimental language? Even if it is really easier to master, will your customer or business partner know that language? I'm sure a lot more people speak English with their own accents, so it'll be even more practical to learn English or other 'real' languages.

orihime said...

Emmie-san, I have tried to send you a comment a few hours ago and failed to finish it. Sorry for causing a trouble! This is the comple version. So please forget what I sent you before.

Hi! This is my first time to send you a comment and feel a little bit nervous. For I have just started reading your blog and still feel shy to say something here. However, I find that I can share my view on Globish with you and can't help giving a comment on the issue.

I agree with you and Globish people's argument on "learning Globish not as a language but as a tool to commuicate." On the other hand, I am not sure if it is the right direction. For example, when I tried to read the book on Globish you introduced on your blog, I found it hard to read through. It was like reading some poorly written GR. I had hard time to make a "picture" in my brain. Or I could not find the "rythm" of the language. Didn't you feel like that?

I really enjoy reading your blog and look forward to more


NEO said...

Hi, emmie-san
Thank you for your this post. I have small lunch party at my house today. I have to cook~~~~for my friends. They want to eat my healthy food, so I write my comment later^^^^^ See you soon!

Mrs. Malone said...

Hi Whiskers-san,
Today, sciatica in my leg bothers me a lot than usual, so my comment might be rather pessimistic or harsh, please excuse me (in advance^^;).

So first of all, I'll make my position clear. I like the idea of Globish, but I don't think it'll be beneficial for Japanese.

Globish is kind of a simplified form of English and sound similar to other English like languages as you mentioned, but there is one particular characteristics which makes Globish different from others, that is, lingua franca.
Globish is made to be used only business situations. It's contracted with those vocabularies that you have to use when you have business with people with various mother tongues. It's a tool, not a languages, to begin with, so everyone, even English native speakers, are encouraged to have this tool. Anyone can stand on equal footing. That's great.

However, I see no particular benefit to try to have this tool for Japanese, because you can't use it effectively unless you get familiar with the way of thinking rooted in English. The vocabulary with Globish is smaller that that of English, but still you're required to think like English speaking people, and that's the difficult part especially for Japanese.


Mrs. Malone said...

Nice to meet you, orihime-san!
I wonder how you come to know my messy blog... My blog is named as shall we TADOKU, so you might assume I'm writing mainly about Tadoku, but I'm not... It's more like a place for me to let free everyday rants and raves. So just skim through it if you like...

As I wrote in the comment to Whiskers-san, Globish is not a language, rather a tool, exclusively used with business person, so it's quite understandable that you felt something off when you read the sentences written in Globish. It's got a small number of adjectives or adverbs with Globish because they're not necessary for business, so you might not be able to imagine any pictures in your mind when you read Globish.

You know, what I really don't like about Globish related things in Japan is that all the Japanese books about Globish say it's easier to master Globish than other languages. Is it quite so???

あ、なんだかいきなりズケズケ書いてしまいましたが。。。なんでも英語書いてみる練習に~という感じでやっておりますので、どうぞこれからもよろしく(^O^) サイト少し見せていただいたのですが、九州時代を思い出して、うれしくなりました!家庭菜園けっこうやっていたので^^;;;おかげで?ヘルニアに苦しむ今日この頃。いやいや。

Mrs. Malone said...


You've got to start a class of healthy cooking in English, too!!!

Whiskers said...

Sorry, emmie-san, that I wrote a comment totally off the point. I didn't realize Globish is a tool for business used under a contract. LOL

Have you ever tried accupuncture?
My daughter has a chronic backache because her spine is slightly crooked and accupuncture worked well to lighten the pain.

Take care!

NEO said...

Hi, emmie-san
My Yoga instructor friends came over my house to have lunch party. We enjoyed lunch and talking for a long time. I did my niece’s lesson after the party.

I searched about Globish on some web-sites after chatting with you. The Globish books published by Japanese company was attractive for me because they said we can get enough skill for business English by using only 1500 words. Only 1500 words was like a magic word for me, so I thought I have to buy some books and also they would work for my husband. However, after reading your entry my Golbish fever has gone away. I keep myself into my own way tadoku. Thanks, emmie-san.