Feeling ELFish?

Interesting article in El País today talking about GLOBISH which is a term patented by Jean-Paul Nerrière. As an IBM executive he travelled the world and realised that non-native speakers of English understood each other better than when speaking with natives and that perhaps it was the native speakers who had the biggest problems understanding non-natives. His solution? To develop GLOBISH, a simplified version with 1500 basic words and some simple grammar (you can check it out on www.globish.com). This merits a two page article in El País with some comments from teachers and Rod Pryde of the British Council in Madrid. Interestingly, however, in those two pages there isn’t a single reference to the concept of English as a Lingua Franca and the work and research which has been done in that area by people like Barbara Seidlhofer. Does EFL just need to market itself better? www.efl.com unfortunately has already been taken.

The original article (in Spanish) is here  http://www.elpais.com/buscar/hablemos-inglés-o-algo-parecido and for some recent debates on the Native / Non-Native topic go to Scott Thornbury’s blog.

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3 Responses to Feeling ELFish?

  1. Ceri says:

    the same story was also covered in the Guardian recently – interestingly the writer got his acronyms mixed up at one point – replacing ELF with EFL – the mistake was duly pointed out in a comment, but interestingly no ELTers joined in the discussion – seemed very much to be happening outside our particular sphere – and I must admit, that it was so far removed from all our (ie ELT world) recent and not so recent discussion of ELF that I couldn’t bring myself to comment either – maybe we should!
    here’s the link to the Guardian slant on it : http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/apr/26/globish-is-coming

  2. Ceri says:

    btw – have just tweeted this – hope you don’t mind!

  3. Enda says:

    Great. Interesting Guardian link. One thing I find both curious and frustrating is that when I spend time at Christmas or in the summer between Spain, Ireland and England the same interviews and feature articles seem to turn up in newspapers in all three countries so GLOBISH is doing a good job marketing in that sense. One of my first posts on this blog on January 20th New Year Reading and Thoughts has links to comments by David Crystal onan article he was quoted, not very completely in. I haven’t got it with my now but the Economist this week has an article on worries that “Classical” Arabic will disappear o rindeed has … languages do change, doon’t they? But I suspect they aren’t created or even marketed in the way GLOBISH may hope.
    Enda

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