Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Dans quelques jours, je publierai sa traduction en français sur ce même blog.
Robert McCrum, formerly the literary editor of the British newspaper, the Observer, wrote (jointly with two other authors) The Story of English. It was first published in 1986 and later two revised versions were published. After writing several other books, varying from a biography of P.G. Wodehouse to the author’s recovery from stroke, McCrum has now written Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language, recently published. (The word Globish is derived from the words “global” and English”.)
The book has been described as an account of the Anglophonic past, present and possible future that anyone who loves the English language may enjoy and learn from. This is a different connotation from the concept of “Globish”, which refers to a dialect of English that uses only 1500 words, a simplified pronunciation guide and spelling that merges many of the vowels of English speech. This Globish dialect was “invented” and has been promoted as “decaffeinated English” by the Frenchman, Jean-Paul Nerrière . A video explanation of Globish by Mr. Nerrière can be viewed at http://www.globish.com/ Globish is said to provide a suitable tool of communication in the internet age.
The word Globish has no French translation. The French version of Mr. Nerrière’s speech, Parlez Globish, may be found at http://www.jpn-globish.com/
Mr. McCrum, writing about Globish in the wider sense of the state of global English (as opposed to the 1500-word dialect) asserts that English “has become a global phenomenon with a fierce, inner multinational dynamic, an emerging lingua franca described by the anthropologist Benedict Anderson as 'a kind of global-hegemonic post-clerical Latin.' "
The book has evoked many reviews, and given the controversial nature of the topic, the reviews, not surprisingly, contain much criticism. For readers considering obtaining the book, here are links to some of those reviews:
New York Times Sunday Book Review, June 9, 2010
The Washington Post, May 23, 2010
The New Republic
The Telegraph, June 7, 2010
An 18-minute audio segment from the BBC’s Business Daily contains an interview with Mr McCrum:
An article in French explaining Mr. Nerrière’s Globish may be found on Wikipedia: