Lessons in GlobishMay 8, 2009
The secret to mastering Globish is in the vocabulary. Globish has a very limited vocabulary. Not much in the way of synonyms. So, you have to figure out which word works. After a lifetime of driving up to the gas pump and saying “fill ‘er up with regular,” we now have to say “95 full” in order to get a tank of 95 octane. Nothing more, nothing less. [Yes, it's been a long time since Americans have been able to afford saying "fill 'er up," but if you said it, the attendant would understand.]
Another example, when you order water at a restaurant and the waiter asks “big or small” do not say “large.” He will only have to ask again “big or small” because large is not in the vocabulary. No synonyms, remember.
If a coworker asks if another coworker has gone for the day by saying “is Saleena left?” Don’t reply with “Saleena is gone.” It does not compute. This also illustrates the fun of native Arabic speakers trying to learn English. I am told that Arabic doesn’t have a lot of verb tenses, like English does. They pretty much speak in the present tense. They don’t have future perfect, pluperfect, dangling pariciples, whatever. So, the complexities of English are quite a challenge. I’m not a grammarian myself, but I can manage the basic verb tenses.
This business of having to stick to a limited vocabulary and use the same words contained in the question when you answer is especially difficult for me, because I have always had an aversion to using the same words. For example, if someone said “hello” to me, I would say “hi,” or vice versa. I don’t like to reply the same way.
Also, I apparently don’t pronounce the word “orange” in an intelligible way. I say it “orunge.” I haven’t quite figured out how to say it the “right” way, yet, so I’ve given up on ordering orange juice. Back home I got teased for saying “nekked” instead of “naked.” Of course, we don’t say that word at all here!