What is Globish?

Global English ('Globish')  is the term used to describe when English is used as a lingua franca or common language between non-native speakers.  A French designer might communicate with his Japanese client in global English, for example.

So that's English with an accent, then? And lots of mistakes?
Not necessarily. Many speakers of other languages use a more grammatically correct form of English than the average native speaker.

But native English speakers know more words?
They generally have a wider range of vocabulary. Steven Pinker has estimated that the average high school student has learned 60,000 words - far more than a language learner can usually acquire. As a result communication between non-native speakers tends to be characterised by a narrower, more formal vocabulary.

Are there other differences?
The key one is a lack of shared cultural references: to television shows, consumer products, school experience etc.

Global English puts greater emphasis on clarity of expression, especially when conducting business or discussing technical or legal matters. 

So Global English is like a stripped-down version of the language?
In practical terms this is often the case. And a French businessman, Jean-Paul Nerriere, has even tried to formalise this in a  'language' he calls Globish

Globish? Not the prettiest word of the 1500!
Monsieur Nerriere concentrates on function and meaning is unconcerned if a word is 'ugly'. He is aiming for the linguistic equivalent of a budget airline: something that communicates a message in the simplest form. And the concept of Globish has gained academic respectability, with leading linguist Robert McCrum devoting a book to it.

But isn't most English still spoken between native speakers?
Not according to David Graddol. In his survey for the British Council English Next, the majority of conversations in English across the world no longer involve someone speaking their first language.
International tourism is growing {around 763 million international travellers in 2004} but the proportion of encounters involving a native English speaker is declining. Nearly 75% of international travel involved visitors from a non-English-speaking country travelling to a non-English-speaking destination. This demonstrates the ... growing role for global English.
Interview with Robert McCrum on Globish here
Video of Jean-Paul Nerriere explaining Globish here