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ENG. Spelling: Globish (Parallel English with neat spelling)

From:J Y S Czhang <czhang23@...>
Date:Sunday, April 25, 2004, 3:59
Updated on : $ April 01, 2004 $

Globish (Parallel English with neat spelling)


1.  British rule in India ended in 1947. Several freedom movement leaders
respected English language, with its great treasure of knowledge. Generally
people are sentimentally attached to their mother tongues, which connect them to
societies. It is easier to understand or express any thoughts thru the mother
tongue. Due to popular demand and agitations, India was reorganized on
linguistic basis. For example, the State of Maharashtra was formed in 1960, with Mumbai
(Bombay) as its capital and Marathi as its official language.

2.  All Indic (= Indian) languages have progressed after freedom. But English
too stayed. People move from one state to another, for business, jobs, etc
and need link languages at general and intellectual levels. English language
made big strides in science and technology and became a world language. English
is equally easy and difficult for all Indians. India has accepted English and
Hindi (in Devanagari script) as official link languages.  All central
government productions (coins, postage stamps, taxation forms etc) are bilingual
(English and Hindi). Industries use English for interest warrants, engineering
drawings, contract documents, product labels, stock market quotations etc. which
require machines based on the Roman script. India has about 15 major languages
in 12 different scripts. Phone books and vehicle plates are in English. Roman
script is convenient for word-sorting and typing.

3.  Information technology has given further impetus to the study of English.
It is now a compulsory second language even in primary schools in
Maharashtra. Similar is the policy of some other states. There are certain differences.
English nursery rhymes are based on Indian names (not Little Jack Horner etc).
India uses British English and some American English software. Indian counting
units are crore and lakh (1 crore = 10 million = 100 lakh).

4.  It is estimated that among India's 1000 million people, 20 million know
English well enough and 40 million know English, to some extent (Numbers are
approximate and related to year 2000) Around year 2050, India may become the
country with largest number of English-knowers (as second language). However, the
quality of English is going down in India, due to want of proper teachers. It
may be noted that the Indian scripts are alphabetic (showing vowels and
consonants) and somewhat phonetic. That helps students in learning English. For
example, English-Marathi dictionary gives English pronunciation in Devanagari.

5.  I worked for promotion of an optional Roman script for Indian languages
during 1984 to 1995 under auspices of Roman Lipi Parishad (later closed for
want of public support). I got in touch with Simplified Spelling Society in UK. I
published privately my proposal on Globish in July 1998. I gave talks, wrote
articles and exchanged views on email. I enclose my proposal (with some
revision). Later, there are two epilogues A and B.

6.  In case of Indian languages, the short and long vowels are based on time
duration of breath. It takes more time to utter (keen) compared to (kin), and
hence Indians treat (ee) as a long vowel, (i) as a short vowel. But the
English grammar defines short-long vowels differently --- a-e-i-o-u are short in
(at, egg, it, of, up) and they are long, when they sound like names of symbols,
as in (age, english, idea, open, unit). Terms short-duration, shortish,
long-duration, longish may be used to indicate breath duration of vowels.

7.  Multi-language, multi-script human race obviously needs a link language.
Due to reasons of history, business, technology and Internet, English is
marching ahead as a link language. It has many good features. English adjectives
and verbs do not have complexity of gender. English is written in Roman script,
which is very easy for keyboard working and dictionary listing. Pronouns
you-he-she apply to all persons, whatever be their status. However, English is
quite difficult to learn, due to its irregular spellings.

8.  Note some examples of irregular spellings. Symbol (a) denotes various
sounds in (alone, art, apple, all, age). For a common sound, there are two
spellings (sell, cell). Symbol (h) is silent in word (honest). Word (believe)
contains group (ie) while word (receive) contains reverse group (ei). A very odd
word group (ough) denotes different sounds in (rough, though, thought, through).

9.  Several factors contributed to these irregularities. Roman script
contains only 26 symbols, which are inadequate to denote uniquely all basic sounds.
While accepting in English oddly spelled foreign words (like colonel), thinkers
of that time did not adjust spellings. Pronunciation of some words has
changed with time. Long usage has now standardized all spellings.

10. Litigants in courts often speak a common language. Economic or sectarian
interests may over-ride friendly bonds of a common language.
Non-English-speakers usually prefer their own languages. True enough. All the same, an easy
link language is necessary for global friendship, mutual understanding and a
world-government of future. Non-English-speakers at higher levels are already
motivated to learn English. This learning process will be boosted, at all levels,
if the difficult spellings are made easy and friendly.

11. English language has many other odd features. Thus, plural of (mouse) is
(mice), and not (mouses). There are some ambiguous words. For example Indian
means (original inhabitants in America) or (persons in India). America means
(American continent) or (USA). Proper meaning is taken with reference to
context. It is possible to remove such ambiguities and oddities. We shall not deal
with that problem. The task is to find and popularize neat spellings, reasonably
(not 100%) simple and phonetic, to suit the spoken English.

12. The spelling disorder is widespread and vast, hence it is irreparable.
Thousands of words would need respelling. Millions of people, spread on all
continents, would need retraining. The written form of English is used in billions
of books, contracts, coins, documents, softwares, tickets, taxation forms,
newspapers, prayers, signboards, technical papers, correspondence, maps,
accounts, labels, etc. All schools, grammar books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, phone
books etc are geared to the current spellings. With meanings, some references
and emotions come to our mind when we read any text. Like standard weights,
we need standard and familiar spellings for business, jobs, knowledge, emotions
and communication.

13. Note some important points.
    a.  Words such as sign, signature would lose relationship on respelling
since -g- is silent in -sign-, spoken in -signature-
    b.  our eyes read words and pictures. Sense of "seven dollars" is
obtained on reading picture "$ 7". Eyes treat clumsy spellings as pictures.
    c.  Irregular spellings can be grouped for ease of learning. Thus,
fight-light-might-night-right-sight-tight form a group of similarly spelled odd
    d.  Dictators can force people to take a new script or respell words. But
USA and UK, the main English-users, are democracies.
    e.  Some English-speaking critics may object to interference with their
language, by outsiders. But note that ESL (English Second Language) users
already outnumber EFL (English First Language) users, and the difference is
widening with passage of time. Both EFL and ESL users should be consulted in
developing Globish.
    f.  Non-English-speaking countries, interested in their local languages,
may oppose heavy expenditure to revise English-teaching books, airport
signboards etc.
    g.  Pronunciation choice, for respelling, may prove controversial.

Globish Proposal

14. It is not practical to reform spellings in current English language.
Establishment would oppose reforms. The remedy is to design a parallel global link
language, Globish, which would be English with neat (easy, phonetic)
spellings. It will belong to whole mankind. Current English would continue as before
for business, jobs, literature etc. Globish would be self-learnt as a hobby by
English-knowers. It may be initially restricted to friendly jokes, letters
etc. It may start with say 1000 everyday words, but further words can be added as
and when necessary. Eventually a World Academy would regulate its growth.

15. A question may be asked - who will teach Globish to people ? All schools
teaching English, all books and newspapers in English will be indirect
teachers of Globish. Only thing to be done is to recast spellings, and assemble words
and sentences in a parallel but independent language.   Some classes and
guide books in printed / electronic format can be arranged, for some initial
training. Establishment does not oppose learning of English in Hindi script or
learning of Hindi in English (Roman) script, at informal levels. Establishment
does not oppose writing English in a shorthand script. Government and people do
not oppose study of foreign languages. Treat Globish as an independent
language, foreign to all at present time, but as a common link language after some

16. Globish is designed for sounds in English language, and is based on Roman
symbols abcde etc. Capitals ABCDE etc are usually omitted. Three dots (and
not a single dot) would be used to end a sentence. Names, brands, acronyms, and
any other words that may have to be continued with current spellings, would
start with capitals for indication. No diacritics (like dots below symbols) are
used, so the current English-printing machines can be used for Globish.
Symbols are so chosen that the apostrophe mark (shortform apo) is normally not
required. Without a hyphen in word (co-operation), one may read it with (coo) as in
(cool). Such rare need of hyphen would occur in Globish too. Globish (bi-ing)
= English (being).

17. Following symbols are proposed. a (a-american) aa (a-art) ae (a-apple) au
(aw-law) b (boy) ch (chair) d (dog) dh (th-they) e (egg) ee (eel) ei (eight)
f (fee) g (girl) h (he) i (it) j (jam) k (king) l (lamp) m (man) n (no) o
(open) oa (oa-goat) oo (oo- cool) p (pin) r (run) s (see) sh (she) t (toy) th
(thin) u (pull) v (victory) w (woman) y (yes) z (s-his) zh (s-measure). Here a,
aa, ae, au, e, ee, ei, i, o, oa, oo, u are 12 vowels and rest 23 are consonants.
A diphthong has 2 vowels in succession. For example, English (height) =
Globish (h + aa + i + t = haait). Dictionary listing will be based on sequence
abcde...yz. Note that most symbols (such as a, b, ch ) are already used for sounds
indicated above. Vowels (e, i, o, u) are short in duration, while (ei, ee,
oa, oo) are long in duration of breath. English (get, kin, no, pull, gate, keen,
note, pool) = Globish (get, kin, no, pul, geit, keen, noat, pool). Actually,
I would love to remove distinction between short duration and long duration
vowels. For instance, Globish (kin) would stand for both English (kin, keen).
Proper meaning is to be taken from context. That was proposed earlier, but is
revised looking to some responses.

18. Symbol names 0123456789 and abcdefg (in Globish) -- ziro, wan, too,
three, foar, faaiv, siks, sevan, eit, naain, ei, bee, see, dee, ee, ef, jee. Some
other words Icecream (aa)(i)(skree)(m) = aaiskreem. Station (ste)(shan) =
steshan. People (pee)(pa)(l)= peepal. Globish will be written by composing
syllables (as shown above in brackets). Globish will be sound-consistent. We may use
pronunciations in Webster or Oxford dictionary.

19. Example ( He is fine. Two cats too went to city. Eat it quickly ) = ( hee
iz faain… too kaets too went tu siti... eet it kwikli... ) Globish (too) has
many meanings, as is the case with some English words (fair, saw, present etc)
Choose meaning from context. Globish ( ran, raen) = English ( run, ran)
respectively. To remove confusion, one may use apo (apostrophe mark) during initial
stages. For example, Globish (ran) may be written in Globish as (ra’n). In
course of time, people would not require apo.

20. An artificial language Esperanto, with easier grammar and
sound-consistent symbols, was launched about 100 years ago. It has made some progress.
However, the world is motivated to learn English and not Esperanto. English odd
spellings prove a stumbling block. Globish will be easier to learn and it will run
parallel to English. Hence Globish has prospects of becoming a link language
of world in years to come. Many dual signboards can be made in English and
Globish, such as < DANGER denjar > reserving capitals for English and smalls for
Globish. United Nations have been formed, keeping all nations intact.
Similarly, Globish too can be developed, keeping intact all languages including

21. Scientists use (C, Ca) for carbon, calcium respectively, and close
further debate on chemical symbols. (Nobody argues - Take C for calcium, Ca for
carbon). Same should hold for globish symbols. By all means, debate them for some
time, but ultimately accept a scheme and then use it without further
arguments. Choice of symbols is just 1 % of the task. Main 99% task is that of
popularizing Globish. Few compromises may have to be made, for example, plurals of
English (cat, dog) are (cats, dogs). In Globish, the phonetic plural (daugz) may
have to be replaced by (daugs) to comply with simple rule of adding (s) to
singular noun (as is the case with kaets). High degree of phonetic accuracy is
not worth the trouble. Despite illogical spellings, English language has
advanced worldwide. Wide usage is the main factor for progress of any language. Some
disparity between visible and vocal language cannot be avoided. Pronunciations
change with time, though spellings remain frozen once they are standardized.
Please note that a script is not a tape-recorder. It is good enough if it
denotes sounds with say 95% accuracy. Common people will have no interest in a
scholarly bulky script. Globish has taken (a) for sound of (both a --american) (a
-alone) (a -chemical) (first a -again). Take some starting symbols and then
choose other symbols. Take starting symbols a (apple) u (up) if you so prefer.
My selection is not the last word.

Epilogue - A

22. When explaining Roman script to a Marathi audience, I use Marathi symbols
in their sequence (not abcd sequence) with Roman equivalents, and Marathi
words. Thus, k as in kamal (= lotus) not k as in king. While explaining Globish
to Indian audience, I use abcd sequence, use English medium for talk, but I
sprinkle some Hindi, Marathi etc. This works very well. It is good to distribute
to audience some leaflets, giving bold type symbol-sound relations and few
examples, and author's contact address. Audience glances at leaflets while
hearing speech. One can also use techniques like overhead projector, powerpoint.

23. Since Indian scripts are somewhat phonetic and syllabic, audience
appreciates Globish, but none implements it. People do not feel any urgency. India
has many problems already, and recasting English is not on Indian agenda. People
realize that English has spelling problem, just as Indian languages have
gender problem. People do not mind a Roman option for Marathi, since it does not
disturb edifice of Marathi, based on its current script. I can introduce some
reforms in Roman option, which cannot be done in the current form of writing.
Direct talks are necessary to explain pronunciation and other points. Some
other websites have partly mis-interpreted Globish due to a communication gap.

24. In the past, I tested Marathi school children having some knowledge of
English, whether they could read Romanized Marathi simple sentences, after an
initial explanation for 15 minutes. A large majority found it easy. When told to
write few Marathi words in Roman script, only 5% clever children tried, and
they too made mistakes. Thus, it is difficult to implant symbol-sound relations
in minds of anyone. Learning is a slow process. In schools, the teachers
teach, then they test, they check answer books, allot marks, and give prizes
(incentives). The students learn after making few mistakes in the beginning. It is
easier to learn a passive skill (reading, listening) than an active skill
(writing, speaking) regarding any unfamiliar language.

25. The learning process in school is aided by books, newspapers, signboards,
TV etc. Suppose word " right " is reformed to " raait " or " rite ". What
happens? Students will continue to see signboards such as " right turn " and
articles on " citizens rights " etc in newspapers. A bewildered student may ask
parents for guidance. Since the parents are trained with current spelling, they
may reject new spelling and complain to Press and Government. All publishers,
newspapers, employers, Government officers too would not take a kind view. A
brick-maker is interested in selling bricks, improving bricks, making money and
not in reforming spelling brick to brik.    All business correspondence,
stories, poems, reports, advertisements, crossword puzzles, dictionaries are
geared to current spellings. New spelling that is learnt will be lost in absence of
constant exposure.

26. After freedom in 1947, Marathi thinkers thought of adopting Sanskrit
(mother of many Indian languages) names for chemical elements etc. Except for
ordinary terms (like water) Marathi language simply had to accept English words.
Business determines language reforms. Why lose money, energy and time in
translating potassium permangnate? These words are used by industries, so better
write them in Marathi script. India could not give up English, because there is
public inertia in accepting major linguistic changes.

27. A language is a social custom and an asset. Comparatively, it is easier
to popularize science, as people see benefits of cars and TVs. and these
products can be bought by people, one-by-one. For Roman Marathi, it is necessary to
recast spellings of English words, which do not fit with Marathi symbol sound
relations. This led to the idea of using capitals only to start unrespelled
words. (Write Pneumonia or nyumoniaa in Marathi). Since Indian coins, stamps etc
bear words in two scripts, a separate-script (end three dots, no capitals)
Globish looks a good solution to Indian minds.     Globish is just a proposal,
with provisional name and symbols. Its name has sound of (glow) and it refers
to (Globe) not just (England).

28. Ideally, a scheme should serve several languages, and in that case, full
energy of whole world would help growth of Globish. But it would be difficult
to forge unity among various language users. For example, would English
speakers accept (d) for th-they and (d’) for d-dog, if that suits other languages?.
Why have an un-uttered (h) in (sh)? Why not take (x) for sh-she ? A universal
academic scheme might become too bulky and unpopular.

Epilogue - B

29. My viewpoint is different from those whose mothertongue is English. I can
understand their concern to make spelling reforms in English. I sympathize
with them if the odd spellings hurt literacy programs. For me, English is a
second language. We, in India, for obvious reasons have no patriotic songs or
prayers in English. Sentimentally, we are nearer to our mothertongues, which
connect us to our societies. We have illiteracy problems, not because of odd
English spellings. Our scripts are somewhat phonetic, but the population explosion
beats every development.

30. Since English is not my mother tongue, I (and other Indians) use it
usually in written form. When spelling reformers tell me that “of” is pronounced
with “f” as “v” in “victory”, it beats me. Pronunciations change with
distance and time. India is multilingual, and accepts English as a tool for
development (technology, world contacts). I and many people in India, whom I
contacted, do want current spellings to continue. We have to acquire wealth and health.
We have to communicate. My engineering business will be hurt if I use the
terms “siment, brik, bilding, brij” instead of “cement, brick, building, bridge”

31. I advocated an optional Roman script for 15 Indian languages written in
12 different scripts. I did not suggest cancelling current scripts. Why destroy
existing lines of communication? Why hurt sentiments? While English has
spelling absurdities, Indian languages have gender absurdities. No language is
perfect. The Roman option was proposed to harness all English-printing machines
for Indian languages, and to ease reading unfamiliar languages. Computers have
now solved many problems. With the flick of a button, one can change scripts. I
failed to convince people. The Roman option (with proper symbol-sound
relations) did not click. A lesson is to be learnt. People don’t discard their
current writing systems.

32. Billions are spent on making books, signboards to conform with the
current systems. So, let British and American spelling differences continue. A
proper approach is to respect people and their spellings, and start a new language,
a new script at an informal level. I call that Globish. What is Globish? It
is English, with reformed spellings, easy enough for common people, using small
symbols (a, b, c, d, e, f ) etc, no capitals, three dots at the end of a
sentence, no diacritics, with grammar and vocabulary as in English. Capitals are
used to start names, brand names etc which cannot be respelled. One can easily
navigate from English to Globish. “ hi iz e jauli gud felo” = He is a jolly
good fellow. It is easy to teach Globish. Danger = “denjar”. No Entry = “no

33. Treat Globish as different from English, just as we consider Russian and
German different. Russian “P” equals “R” in English. German “J” equals
English “Y”. Similarly, decide on certain symbol-sound relations for Globish, and
follow them. English “u” has different sounds in “unit, push, up, busy ”.
Take one of the relationships in Globish. Others are bound to look funny, like
Russian “P” equal to English “R”.

34. Why do this exercise? Globish would be easier to popularize in the world.
Those who want to do serious work must learn English too. Laymen will be told
that “siment, brik” in Globish are written in English as “cement, brick”. A
poet may like to write a few poems in Globish. Some editor may encourage
crossword puzzles in Globish. Globish would grow as a route parallel to English.

35. We must take steps to promote an easy link language, to foster world
brotherhood. Globish is suggested. I would like to keep away from reforms within
English. That discussion becomes endless and fruitless. Millions of people will
not accept changes. No airport will change signboard “arrival” to “arival”
simply because the redundant “r” is not acceptable to reformers.

36. English is a world language, which is its strength and paradoxically its
weakness. The world is not interested in obliging England and America to
reform spellings. However, a parallel Globish route may interest whole mankind. It
would even show that the English-speakers are willing to shed some ego, and
accept a new world language.

[ Epilogue - B (without numbering ) appeared in “Simpl Speling” July 1999
Newsletter of Simplified Spelling Society, UK, titled as "A link language on a
parallel route".]
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