Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Post by Michael Griffin: A Mini Rant on Globish and International English

This is Exciting my first ever guest blogger. 
I challenged Michael Griffin @michaelegriffin  to condense his rant on Globish into 140 words. 
He took me up and here it is. Feel free to leave a comment. 

"Is Globish and 'International English" or Standard English the answer? What variety should we teach?" reads a proposed topic for #ELTchat. I have two main issues with this question (with all due respect to those involved). Firstly, Globish and International English are not the same thing! Globish (according to Wikipedia at least) is some form of a made-up language or a systematic simplification of English. International English is different. It’s a real thing that's happening all around us when people communicate in English regardless if they are “native speakers” or not. My second issue is with the word “teach.” Does this question imply teachers will be at the front introducing and drilling simplified English? Isn’t just realizing not everyone wants/needs to sound like so-called native speakers enough? Can’t teachers focus on communication while respecting different varieties?  


  1. All right. I'll bite. How can teachers, native English speakers or not, focus on communication without awareness of the needs of their students. Some knowledge of how the students will be using English in their everyday lives is necessary before a teacher begins a program. I agree that teachers should respect different varieties but I take issues with "focusing on communication" without discretion. Also, it can easily be argued that standard English should be taught, but adaptation should be accepted. I'm referring to the old argument of you have to know the rules before you can break them. In any case, just communication is too vague.

  2. Thanks for the comment Mr / Ms Anonymous. I am sure Michael will reply soon.

  3. It seems like we agree on a lot. I apologize if my post's brevity detracted from my points! I think focusing on student needs and likely uses of English is paramount which is exactly why I don't think that chasing (dare I say) mythical native speaker norms is the best way to meet said needs/future uses. It seems like many teachers get uncomfortable when they hear about ELF because they have images of "bad/improper/impoverished" English being introduced and drilled. I don't think too many people are advocating this. When I wrote, "Can’t teachers focus on communication while respecting different varieties?" this was in opposition to the idea of teaching the "bad" English. As for knowing the rules, well, I think there a lots of rules that have changed and are changing and will continue to to change.

    Thanks for the exchange,
    Mike (aka @michaelegriffin)

  4. Ah, I see where my misunderstanding arose. Thank you for responding and clarifying. I enjoyed your interesting post.

  5. Thanks for coming back and commenting again. I'll alert Michael :-)

  6. Thanks again for the exchange and also thank you for the kind words. As you can see this is a topic that I am very interested in. I sometimes think that it often becomes too easy to argue against.