What language should you speak?
English speakers think that because they speak English, they can communicate globally. Wrong. Native English speakers are very hard for non-native speakers to understand. English speakers need to learn a new language: Globish. “Globish” is an ugly short hand for “Global English”. It is the language of business, which many English speakers struggle to speak well.
Global English is simple English. It uses short words and short sentences. Out goes all the jargon and complicated words. It does not use idioms or metaphors. This makes it good English. Language should always be used to be understood. It should not be used to impress.
Out go all the sporting analogies. Cricket or baseball may be big in one country, but may be meaningless in another. Other cultural references, to films, music, television are also out. Buenos Aires, Berlin and Birmingham all have different tastes. This strips English of some of its colour and richness, but it simplifies the message.
Most of the great speeches in the English language use very simple words and phrases: power and clarity comes from simplicity. English speakers will do well to look again at:
• Hamlet: ‘to be or not to be, that is the question’
• Gettysburg Address: ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’
• Martin Luther King ‘I have a dream’
• Churchill: ‘We will fight them on the beaches’.
The best speakers use the simplest language to make the strongest messages. Globish is simple and it can be powerful.
The challenge for non-native English speakers is to learn English. The challenge for native English speakers is to unlearn the way they speak English. Globish can unite us all.