I’m planning to take another German class this summer, and a good thing too. I’ve been studying on my own, and while I’ve made progress with reading and vocabulary, I still barely understand German when spoken to me. Of course this isn’t surprising, since I can read slowly, look up words, and re-read things to my heart’s content; while in conversation I have to interpret sounds that exist only for a split-second. Frustrating!
So I was happy to be reminded that while my German skills are still pretty lame, it’s lucky that I speak English. English has become the language of global connection thanks to British colonization, Hollywood blockbusters, American tech corporations, and the internet. I’ve just been reading a wonderful excerpt of the book Globish by Robert McCrum in the Guardian, which mentions that
The Sunday Times commented that “to be born an English-speaker is to win one of the top prizes in life’s lottery. And this can be said without a hint of triumphalism, sexism, or racism, without annoying anybody much except the French.”
However, Globish not just an amusing title for a book about global English, but the word for a simplified version of English used as a common language around the world. There are varieties of English like Konglish (English in South Korea) and Manglish (Malay and English), and universal internet words like “pwned”. But people with no common mother tongue are increasingly using Globish to understand each other, and the term is becoming more recognized. The viral nature of the worldwide adoption of English is interesting and McCrum makes it fascinating in Globish.