Let me continue on the subject of Globish, the proposition that the solution for international communication across language barriers is a new language called Globish. According to author J-P Nerriere, if people would just concentrate on learning 1,500 words of English everyone will be able to communicate more easily.
The underlying assumption in Globish is that a language is a static technique that you learn. Once you have learned it, you can communicate. Another assumption is that having a basic knowledge of one language, English, is enough. But the reality is that even for English, people will always want to know more, to understand the movie they are watching, or a song, or a political discussion with friends. The knowledge of 1,500 words will simply not be enough. That is without even considering all the specialized technical terms that are needed in different areas of activity today. And then there are other languages that matter besides English.
At The Linguist we believe that most people can learn more than one language. Most people can continue to progress in any language and need not set limits on their knowledge of the language. I feel that the knowledge of 1,500 words in just one second language is not enough for practical and satisfactory communication with different people and cultures. Nor is it enough for business. Most people who start to learn a second language will continue to need lots of exposure to that language. This will inevitably mean exposure to new words outside the 1,5000 word range. They will want to learn these words. With a good system they can do so and enjoy the process.
In fact it requires an emotional commitment to learn a language. You have to enjoy the language to be effective in communicating in that language. You need to enjoy the language in order to learn it. Using the language and learning the language are part of one continuous process. You do not first learn the language and then start using it. You learn the language as you use it, and continue to get better and better at it. The whole process can and should be enjoyable and interesting, from the beginning.
At the Linguist that is our basic principle. Language learning is all about communicating and enjoying it. If learners can choose short interesting subjects in the new language, and if it is made possible for them to understand these items of content, they will improve while following their interests. We encourage learners not to worry about perfection and just try to listen, understand and communicate. With more and more exposure to the language, the learners continue to improve and get a better feel for the language. We have built a system for vocabulary retention that links new words to the contexts that learners are listening to and reading. These links are used in many different ways which I will not describe here, but this system ensures steady vocabulary growth and an increasing ability to put natural phrases together.
Our system is based on two key concepts that guided me, enjoyment and efficiency. If the learners can choose items of interest at an appropriate level to learn from, they will become motivated. If the learning process is efficient, the learners will remain motivated and learn surprisingly quickly.
What we need is not a simplified version of one language, but a simplified way to learn languages so that more people can learn each other’s languages. We need to get away from the unnecessarily complicated and structured way languages have been taught.
That is what we have tried to do at The Linguist. We are continuing our work. We emphasize exposure to the language, enjoyment and efficiency. Our tutors are available for advice, explanation and feedback, but only if asked. We emphasize writing correction as the best place to work on accuracy of expression. Otherwise we just let the learners communicate, listen and read, while our vocabulary link system provides a systematic way to learn the natural use of words and phrases in the language. It seems to work.
We need more true multi-linguists in the world. I am not in favour of a stripped-down version of English becoming the main tool of communication between cultures.