Enough of Globish? Try Globese

If you’d had enough of the tiresome Globish debate, then consider the possibilities of a global Chinese or Globese. Could Chinese be the new lingua franca for business? For some, we’re well on the way, driven by the fact that Chinese is set to become the dominant language on the internet in a few years.

Having actually subjected myself to read Robert McCrum’s book, I am not so sure that will happen any time soon. The Globish hegemony was largely driven by international business over time, reinforced by popular culture. A decision to adopt a lingua franca is a pragmatic one and Globese would be subjected to the same forces. Besides, Chinese is so damn hard to learn.

So, I don’t see Globese arriving any time soon. However, it’s not so easy to dismiss the eventual possibility based on a premise that China might be doing more buying than sellingas some claim—especially given the evidence from places like Africa.

The message about Chinese influence, internet trends, digital content explosion, and market size  is clear if you want to sell into that market or leverage a major part of the world’s collective intelligence. Chinese cannot be ignored.

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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