Re: From Liddy on Globish

apologies for the meeting last night - I woke up but fell asleep  
again :-(

It is not always easy to control oneself at 2.00 am!


On 20/05/2014, at 1:22 AM, lisa.seeman wrote:

> Liddy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Globish: less is more -
> constraining English to promote
> inclusion
> When the Web was new, we all wondered what would happen to languages
> that were regionally based, far from ‘global’, the centre of our
> precious cultures. Years later we have seen that the Web does not
> threaten local languages but it extends the possibilities for global
> conversations. That is, for people with a command of English sometimes
> in addition to their native tongue and other languages they use, it is
> becoming a global village in terms of conversations. For people who do
> not have an opportunity to spend years learning to speak and read
> English like a native, who have disabilities that make written or
> spoken text inaccessible, or others with cognitive disabilities that
> make interpretation of text or speech incomprehensible in its normal,
> abundant format, the world is not becoming global and inclusive. They
> are being alienated by the very enabling technologies from which their
> colleagues are benefitting.
> English has been described as a wonderful language; dynamic,
> evolutionary. Meanings of words and expressions change, words go in
> and out of fashion. English for some is infinite, a user can add new
> words and forms of expression; they usually grow their language
> naturally and unconsciously.
> The problem for non-English speakers wanting access to English-origin
> resources is that when they want to learn ‘English’ they anticipate,
> often correctly, an unending challenge with a language that has an
> enormous and changing vocabulary, incredibly complicated tenses,
> voices, constructs and masses of exceptions, let alone that does not
> have spelling that accurately supports pronunciation. These are well-
> known problems and have been solved independently for many years in
> similar ways: build the vocabulary slowly; use simple constructions at
> the beginning, … But these are independently established paths to
> English – they are proprietary, they are arbitrary, one might say. And
> there is another problem: the learning process is going to be endless.
> There is no endpoint at which the student can be assured they will
> have enough to cope. Instead, they are initiated into a life-long
> challenge. And for many, not only is this a daunting prospect, it is
> not able to produce a satisfactory result. Students from one learning
> course cannot even be sure they have learned the same ‘English’ as
> those from other courses.
> Globish has been proposed by Jean-Paul Nerrière to tackle this problem
> in particular. For Jean-Paul, a non-native English speaker, there has
> never been a serious problem with his lack of English or his somewhat
> amusing accent. He has the confidence to reduce his conversation to
> the words he knows, or encourage others to do this for him. He has
> learned from experience that non-native speakers can converse in
> English when they do not have another language in common; that many in
> Asia use what English they have as their common language.
> Significantly, Jean-Paul has witnessed non-native speakers of English
> interacting comfortably until a native English speaker takes the floor
> and rattles on with no regard for others’ English limitations. Such
> speakers often silence others who depend on limited vocabularies,
> clear placement of emphasis within spoken words, simpler tenses and
> importantly, of course, avoidance of references to unrecognizable
> metaphors.
> Jean-Paul has been concerned to include non-native speakers in global
> discourse by following the ideas proven by such as Voice of America.
> That broadcasting enterprise found 1500 words sufficient on most
> occasions to convey the news to non-native English speakers. In fields
> where there is expertise and contextual jargon, for example medicine
> or computer technology, specialized vocabularies are usually not a
> problem and anyway can be translated into words already available in
> the 1500.
> For those learning English for limited purposes, such as engagement in
> trade, having an appropriate set of 1500 general words, which become
> 5000 when plurals, verbs and nouns, and other similar forms are
> included, means they can plan how to learn ‘sufficient’ English and
> confidently assess their progress. The use of this limited English
> depends, however, on being able to trust that those communicating with
> them will respect the limitations. Documents need to be evaluated and
> words outside the 1500 replaced with suitable words from within the
> set; the grammatical constructs need to be constrained suitably.
> In an era when machine translation has been developed to the level it
> has, at least identifying sections of text that exceed the limitations
> is easy. Practice with such a system has shown that it is then fairly
> easy to focus on what will be difficult sections for non-native
> speakers. Given a standard set of vocabulary, it is clearly an
> expectation that automated translators could replace difficult
> sections of text with equivalents that use only the restricted
> vocabulary and grammar. Just as Braille indicates changes in symbolic
> use before it commences, where there is a change in tense or some
> other difficult construct, the tense could be indicated and then
> present tense used, for example.
> So there is a critical need for standardization of the 1500 words. It
> has been shown that there about 1200 words that are typically used in
> all simplified English language use, but the last 300 need work. This
> is not impossible work and already is under way. Language teachers are
> already developing what they call business English for Europe and
> business English for Asia – such an approach might be appropriate.
> Jean-Paul, meanwhile, has added a very significant rule to the use of
> limited English. He points out that too often native speakers speak
> without regard for how effectively they are communicating their
> message. He says the responsibility seems to be on the speaker to be
> sure they are satisfied with their expression. Instead, Jean-Paul says
> the speaker should defer to the intended recipient of the
> communication. The listener should be clearly empowered to slow the
> speech, to ask for repeats and explanations, to not be exposed to
> examples that will exemplify a concept for the speaker but mean
> nothing to the listener. He does not put all the responsibility on the
> native speaker but calls for this shift of initiative where real
> communication is to take place.
> Jean-Paul calls his version of limited English Globish. He does not
> think it is English but it recognizes the language base being used
> around the world. He does not advocate incorrect use of English but
> nor does he think of Globish as a way of learning English. For Jean-
> Paul, Globish is an end in itself. His work has resulted in the use of
> Globish, for example, within all instructions within a major Japanese
> company with the aim of being assured that all employees and product
> users who learn Globish will be fully informed by all text
> instructions. This means that teaching of Globish, instead of English,
> can form part of an employee’s training. It can also mean that
> international participants can work together, using Globish for shared
> and individual communication within the enterprise.
> In fact, Globish is gaining popularity and there are now Globish
> ‘cells’ in a wide range of countries across the world. But this is not
> enough.
> Inclusion
> Globish has, to date, been seen as a language for inclusion of non-
> native English speakers in a world that is becoming increasingly
> global and dependent on English communications. But inclusion should
> and can go far beyond this goal.
> Modern technologies, especially information and communications
> technologies, have not worked in favour of everyone. Setting aside any
> socio-economic problems, there are many people who have been alienated
> by the technologies. For example, while earlier technologies allowed
> blind people to communicate using teletype machines, most of the
> information now available via the Web is not accessible to them. In
> general, people with physical limitations, whether they are caused by
> medical conditions or contextual conditions, are suffering from
> exclusion caused by the current technology practices.
> It is estimated that 20% of the community have disabilities that make
> it difficult for them to use the technologies, even if they have them.
> Microsoft research discovered, to its surprise, that more than 60% of
> people using the technologies benefitted from assistive techniques
> that were intended for people with what had hitherto been identified
> as medical disabilities.
> Many people with severe disabilities rely on assistive techniques for
> perception of information. In some cases, texts are transformed into
> Braille, or avatars represent sounds in relevant sign languages, or
> images are described for those who cannot see them, et cetera. The
> techniques and services need are, mostly, well defined as a result of
> a 15 years global effort led by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
> From a base where people with disabilities were thought of as needing
> special attention, the emphasis has shifted, led by the United
> Nations, to consider the accommodations being made as relevant to
> everyone, as being inclusive. The UN Declaration of the Rights of
> People with Disabilities now does not think in terms of assisting
> those with problems but rather of ensuring that what is done is done
> for everyone, so no group of people will need special attention. This
> is known as inclusive design.
> Inclusion for information and communication technologies thus means
> having them designed so that everyone can use them. It is not limited
> to inclusion of people with physical disabilities, however caused, and
> this means a person using their eyes to watch the road while driving
> has the same right to voiced instructions as a blind person. It is not
> limited to physical disabilities. People with cognitive disabilities
> have the same rights and so people with linguistic disabilities
> should. Disabilities have been defined as a mismatch between what is
> available and what can be perceived – so the goal is to make
> everything available to everyone who needs it.
> Globish aims to make information and services available to everyone
> who reaches the threshold of limited English, for instance. But
> Globish can do a lot more. When text is being translated, it is more
> likely to be translated accurately if it is expressed in clear, simple
> language. While a sentence might be quite correct within English
> prose, it can be very confusing and difficult to translate. Starting
> with a simplified version of the text will lead to a more accurate
> translation of it. This is well known within the linguistic field and
> by those who specialize in translation software. This is the field of
> pivot languages – the base to and from which translations can operate
> with maximal accuracy. Despite the brilliant techniques involving
> quantities of text to develop common translation of texts by the likes
> of Google, automated translation is still not completely satisfactory.
> Perhaps it is most accurate when it is working on single words, or
> phrases rather than large sections.
> For people with disabilities that require them to use sign language,
> for instance, a pivot language such as Globish can make all the
> difference. Once the text is simplified, it can be more accurately
> translated.
> For people with cognitive disabilities, Globish has much to offer.
> Disabilities such as dyslexia occur independently of other cognitive
> abilities. Many very clever people are dyslexic and so, for them,
> reading and writing can be incredibly difficult but their cognitive
> abilities outstanding. These people do not have disabilities that can
> be seen and they have been the last group of people with disabilities
> to be considered as needing inclusion in the world of advanced
> information and communications technology. These people have adapted
> solutions offered to others in many cases, and can take advantage, for
> example, of screen readers and dictation systems initially designed to
> help people with vision disabilities. But not all people with dyslexia
> have the same problems. For some, if the text is presented clearly,
> without distractions such as side columns containing advertisements,
> they will be able to read what is wanted. For others, there might be
> confusion caused by the use of what others would not recognize as
> ambiguities. Still others have a cognitive disability that results in
> confusion with directions – is the next word the one on the right or
> the one on the left?
> The important thing for people with physical or cognitive disabilities
> is then, what are their functional requirements for accessibility of
> resources and services, not what is their particular disability.
> Inclusion depends upon everyone’s functional requirements being
> respected. The fact that they overlap in terms of individual
> disabilities is irrelevant.
> A major functional requirement is thus identifiable as simplified
> language. Like a curb cut, simplified, clear language is helpful to
> everyone. Less language can well be more meaningful.
> A Role for Globish?
> Globish thus presents itself as a language for inclusion, as a way of
> more effective implementation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of
> People with Disabilities. Globish can help everyone:
> - Native English speakers can communicate better with those who
> are not native speakers
> - Non-native speakers can communicate better with those who are
> native speakers
> - Non-native speakers can communicate better with those who are
> not native speakers
> - Native and non-native speakers can communicate better with
> those with disabilities
> - Those with disabilities can communicate better with native and
> non-native speakers
> In order to realize this potential, what is needed is not very
> difficult: agreement about the base 1500 words, a set of rules for use
> of grammar, and a recognition that the listener rather than the
> speaker should control the conversation. This is all that should be
> standardized to enable a very rapid adoption of a common, shared
> subset of English for use as Globish, the inclusive language.
> Where should such standardization be developed? Perhaps the most
> urgent need is for global education to adopt the solution? Perhaps the
> International Standards Organization, collaborating with the
> International Electrotechnical Commission Council, known as the ISO/
> IEC JTC1 working in the field of Learning, Education and Technology
> should take the lead? Perhaps ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36?

Received on Monday, 19 May 2014 22:57:14 UTC