Most of us learned English at home, but 375 million people speak English as a second language. Imagine how much harder it is to get your message across to them.
Soon, speakers of English as a second language (ESL) will outnumber the 375 million native English speakers. It’s essential to address your potential global market by communicating in simplified global English, especially online.
In industries like telecom, more buying power is concentrated among non-native English speakers than native speakers. So it’s crucial to consider their particular needs, including global English.
Whether you choose to address a global English-speaking audience or not, the Internet delivers your message to ESL speakers. Most web pages are in English (although Chinese is rapidly catching up).
Many non-native speakers studied English because they had to, in school. A few grew up to use English often, usually in a business or professional context. Fortunately, many customers in tech and telecom fit into this group.
Do you want to include non-native English speakers?
Most non-native speakers have learned some English, but use it rarely. Many recent U.S. immigrants are just learning English. So when you write, you have a choice: to include these 375 million non-native English speakers in your potential audience, or to exclude them? The right choice is global English, simple English that extends your reach online.
When we first learn a language as a child or a student, we learn the simplest, shortest words first.
Our first 100 words enable us to say a lot. They become our most familiar words. That poses a question: how big a vocabulary do you really need to get your point across?
The Voice of America broadcasts abroad, where most people speak English only as a second language. So it had to develop a special vocabulary for non-native English speakers, to address this problem head-on.
About 1,500 English words can tell any story
Voice of America limits its vocabulary to about 1,500 words. Pure global English. That’s enough words to report news, talk politics, explain science and tell stories well. Its 1,500 word list can help you find words simple enough for global English.
Simplified English started in America. As waves of immigrants arrived from different countries, each had to learn a bit of English out of necessity.
Simple English was the only way immigrants had to communicate with each other. They made American English a lively, colorful language, even for those who know only a few words.
Using simplified global English online enables you to reach a bigger audience. More important, it helps your customers who are non-native speakers get the message with global English online.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.