In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Polish linguist Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof constructed Esperanto, a language born out of the dream that all humans could communicate with each other across borders. Surprisingly, over a hundred years later, although Esperanto has not reached its goal, it is spoken by 100,000 to 2,000,000 people worldwide, the Esperanto Wikipedia is the 32nd-largest Wikipedia as measured by the number of articles, and Google Translate added Esperanto in 2012.


Since that time, English has started to impose itself as a global language. 

In order to simplify it for non-native speakers, English linguist Charles Kay Ogden created (and trademarked) Basic English, and built a list of 850 everyday life words which, after the addition of 150 domain-specific words, should enable anybody to communicate about any domain. After some initial success followed by widespread criticism, this attempt never really took hold. However, the list of 850 words is still used in several countries to teach ESL students.

Finally, in 2004, French author Jean-Paul Nerriere coined (and also trademarked!) Globish, a subset of the English grammar together with a list of 1500 English words, that he believes are sufficient for non-native speakers to express themselves and communicate with each others about almost any topic.

Indeed, when travelling in parts of the world where English is not the native language, it is clear that “some kind of global English” is spoken and understood, but can somehow really codify this language? In short, will Globish become the ultimate lingua franca, a language taught in every school of every country, or is it just a commercial stunt that is as doomed as its predecessors?