Globish Review

Topics: English language, Lingua franca, United States Pages: 1 (653 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language

What did the German say to the Frenchman at the business convention? Probably something in English. As today’s language of international culture, business, science, and commerce, English is spoken every day by people all over the world whose native tongue is something else. Can The United States and the England keep a controlling grip on the language they popularized as it spreads across a world filled with people of other native tongues? Not for long, answers Robert McCrum in Globish, an engaging history of how this language has evolved into the world's universal “lingua franca.” McCrum derives his title from a concept coined by a “French­speaking former IBM executive and amateur linguistic scholar” named Jean­Paul Nerrière. “Globish” by Nerrière’s definition is a "decaffeinated” version of English. Nerrière noticed that non­native English speakers in China communicated more successfully in English with their Korean and Japanese clients than competing British or American executives. Nerrière uses an example of a Western­Arabic speaker from Casablanca meeting with a speaker from Quezon at a marketing conference. Their shared language was a form of improvised English. This new language, completely derived from English, is what Nerrière and McCrum refer to as “globish.” McCrum is an author and columnist from Britain. He claims that English has achieved a self­sustaining "supra­national momentum" that is carrying it beyond the cultures from which it began. As the property of all who speak it, the language will soon "make its own declaration of independence." McCrum states that English bears traces of

Anglo­American ideas about individual freedom. Invaded in 1066 by a Norman French­speaking country, English became the "mother tongue of an oppressed people" and improbably survived. Later success in trade and commerce enriched Britain's...
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