The better way to attack global communication.

The first duty in Globish, is to make the learner realize and accept that, if he or she is an excellent international accountant, this has nothing to do with his command of English. And an excellent command of English does not make him a better accountant. If he or she is part of a group, it is because he can bring something on the subject under discussion, or in the decision which is expected. Then, all the members must listen to him, and listen carefully, until they are sure they gained from him what he could bring to the table.

This is clearly the participant’s duty to reach a level I indicate as “enough English.” It is not Oxford English, but it is enough for the business needs. Then, it is the duty of the other participants to adapt their own communication to this exact level, in order to be understood also by him and the others. The usual native speaker’s position is where he just points his finger in the direction of the other side of the river, and tells us, “You must join me there. Swim!” This is their side, the real full English side, where they feel comfortable, as they believe they are the best in communication with the mother tongue they have enjoyed from the day they were born.

All of this is wrong. It is their duty, and, more importantly, it is their interest, to join us in the island in the middle of the river, and not let us swim hopelessly and die in the river when we cannot reach their side.

This is why there is a sentence you will never hear in Globish, it just does not exist: “You do not understand,” which translates for us as: “If YOU do not understand ME, it means YOU have a problem, please fix YOUR problem.” The forbidden sentence has to be replaced by “I am not making myself clear.” In this new idea, the responsibility for being understood is not on the one who is listening, but on the person who is speaking. Perfect English is no good if you are not understood. Being understood is what is needed, even if you are not perfect.

Since those days at IBM when I first presented the idea of Globish, I have worked to make Globish a more distinct tool for international communication.  Using the 1500 basic Globish words I used in this article, whole books on the subject have been written, and have now been translated into 10 languages including Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese.  (The new book we are working on now enlarges much more on this article, and on the place Globish will have in world business.)