Creolearth coevolves from an attitude of respect for all languages and their associated cultures.  This respect extends to marginalized minority languages, threatened languages, invented languages, and even “dead” languages.  Some early, foundational Creolearth words could come from extinct tongues, via contributions from linguistic scholars.   These could include words from well-known and much-studied ancient languages as well as the obscure, recently deceased languages of small groups scattered around the world.

Creolearth coevolution also respects neologisms.  Global coevolution of a shared language provides exciting and unprecedented opportunities for creation of entirely new words — not only new combinations of existing words, but absolutely novel utterances, perhaps with novel orthographies.    Neologisms provide potential to share a language with unique elements not derived from any existing language.  Creators can imagine themselves in a world without words, starting anew, seeking sounds for the most common things they see: soil, rocks, water, sun and sky.  How could such words go global?  By sharing them using the powerful information and communication technologies (ICT) we now have at our disposal.

Creolearth ideally serves to preserve linguistic diversity by coevolving a language that truly serves the communicative needs of people from all walks of life.   The more accessible, the better.  The easier and faster to learn, the better. The more level the playing field, the better.  This may seem like a contradiction, in that  ICT are very high-tech and seemingly in the hands only of the favored few.  In reality, of course, persons who are not served by electric power lines, conventional wired phones, running water, and enclosed sewage systems nevertheless have cell phones, and the the capabilities of such devices — even basic models — are rapidly improving.  And as projects such as One Laptop Per Child have shown, the potential to empower childrens’ education with low-cost, high-power technology is profound.   Creolearth can be a part of these exciting trends.


Beyond English

Some years ago I attended the annual convention of an international academic  group devoted to promoting intercultural communication.   The keynote speaker’s title was, incredibly, “English as the Global Language.”   This claim is appallingly wrong, wrongheaded,  and offensive.  The speaker, a gentleman with a long and distinguished career, was simply oblivious to the ignorance and arrogance of his lecture.  As an inner-circle English speaker, appreciative of the advantages conferred by English ability,  I was nevertheless dismayed by his theme, and disappointed that the academic group approved it.

Rather than write about  the reasons that English(es) is (are) not “the Global Language(s),” I’d rather focus on the idea that English can be a major scaffolding component of a process leading humanity beyond English.  In other words, English as a lingua franca (ELF) enables, facilitates, and accelerates  the coevolution of a globally shared language (GSL)  The GSL is  a creole language constructed of as many world languages as are able to contribute themselves.  I call this process and the result  Creolearth.

Creolearth takes us beyond English and also beyond other major regional linguae fracae.   Creolarth also provides a repository for words and phrases from marginal and threatened minor languages, and an outlet for linguistic creativity and innovation.

ELF is indisputably a tremendously influential and useful communicative tool throughout the world.  Indeed, my own employment for many years has been to facilitate English competency in those who want and need lingua franca English.   That said, long-term residence in a non-English country has made me keenly aware of the frustrations, failings, and weaknesses of my native tongue,  as well as the enormous challenges of learning a second language.  My experiences long ago convinced me, intellectually and viscerally, that English is by no means the global language.  A far more appealing idea is that English can help lead beyond English, toward coevolution of  a globally shared language (GSL)  used on equal terms by everyone.  In my view, only  such a coevolved creole GSL would deserve to be called  “the Global Language.”

What does Creolearth look like?

I don’t know.

What does it sound like?

I don’t know.

For the time being, no one knows, because Creolearth is not an invented language.  It is not a program.  It is a process leading toward a language that does not yet exist.  It is a language beyond English and beyond any existing language.

Creolearth coevolves from the chaordic contributions of hundreds, then thousands, then millions,  and eventually  billions of people.   Perhaps it will start, as I suggest in an earlier post, with a question expressed in International Sign.  I hope to see that soon.  It would be exciting to have at least one sentence  we could say is a component of Creolearth.

This post concludes with  link to a valuable  insight from my friend Antony Alexander, who runs the web site  Antony’s insights have been invaluable to me for many years.  His article is about a hypothetical process of global creolization, the jargon/pidgin/creole hypothesis.  It will be interesting to see whether Creolearth will proceed along those lines, or whether the World Wide Web and powerful new information and communication technologies (ICT) will make the process proceed in a much more rapid manner, in ways none of us can anticipate.


There is no need for Creolearth.  Creolearth develops from desire, not need.

 Creolearth coevolves if people desire a beautiful, globally shared language (GSL). 

There is no need for Creolearth as a lingua franca or auxiliary language. English serves as a global lingua franca (ELF), and this role is extensive and expanding. Several other major languages serve as  linguae francae for very large regions of the globe. Invented languages are  available for those attracted to such projects, and various simplified English projects such as Basic English,  Globish,  and Basic Global English also claim to answer a linguistic need.   Creolearth makes no such claim.  Creolearth develops from desire, not need.

There is no need for Creolearth as a bridge between various languages. Computer translation is advancing steadily, and eventually powerful translation engines may handle almost all translation tasks, and even interpretation.  When this happens,  a  globally shared language (GSL) may seem  superfluous. Creolearth develops from desire, not need. 

There is no need for Creolearth to claim to promote peace on earth, religious tolerance, and friendship and harmony. Other languages may make such hopeful but unrealistic claims.  Creolearth makes none.  Creolearth develops from desire, not need. 

There is no need for Creolearth  but if there is desire for a beautiful  GSL,  need isn’t needed.  If children, women, and men around the world are attracted to Creolearth, it will coevolve. Creolearth develops from desire, not need.  
Creolearth coevolves if people desire a beautiful, globally shared language (GSL). 

International Sign Language: “Do you know about Creolearth?”

To demonstrate the potential for collaboration and coevolution of a globally shared language through the World Wide Web, and to suggest the potential inclusiveness of Creolearth, we can begin by expressing the question “Do you know about Creolearth?” in International Sign (IS).

 I hope someone will volunteer to upload a video showing this sentence in IS.  It would require the volunteer (or volunteers) to create the International Sign for Creolearth.   The volunteer(s) could uploaded the video to this site and/or to YouTube to  be linked to this blog.

The IS question could be asked by anyone, to anyone able to see, as the first manifestation of Creolearth.

The IS could  be accompanied by  vocalization in the speaker’s’ native or preferred language if desired.

I hope that initiating Creolearth communication with  IS will encourage  participation by speakers of other  minority and/or endangered languages.

Coevolution of a Globally Shared Language (GSL): Is the Process Underway?


This paper discusses the possible evidence for inchoate coevolution of a Globally Shared Language (GSL) through information and communication technologies (ICT), which arguably make possible a linguistic process that formerly was virtually impossible.  This paper discusses the possible roles of Internet social networks; virtual, augmented, and mediated reality; corpus linguistics and machine translation; creole studies; chaordic communities; and Fourth Paradigm science.   The paper introduces the term “Process” to describe both GSL coevolution and the emergent language.

Coevolution of a Globally Shared Language (GSL):  Is the Process Underway?

21st century information and communication technologies (ICT) create environments that encourage and facilitate coevolution of a globally shared language (GSL), a process formerly impossible.  (Britten, 2009).    For multilingual users of ICT, GSL coevolution may already be underway, though largely unrecognized.   This essay provides examples of communication that arguably characterizes this process.

If the GSL coevolution concept is valid, linguists exploiting “Fourth Paradigm” approaches (Hey, 2009) may have access to a virtual laboratory in which to test competing hypotheses about language learning.   A global “chaordic community” of children, women, and men could facilitate this coevolutionary process.  (Chaordic Commons 2010; Hock 2000).

In this essay, the word “Process” refers to GSL coevolution and to the emergent language.    As an example of Process, consider the communication between a young international couple:  Keiko, a Japanese college junior studying Mandarin for one semester at a Chinese university, and Pao, a young Laotian man who has been living in China for two years.  Pao studies computer science (primarily in English) and Mandarin as a foreign language.  Because he wants to work in Japan someday he is studying Japanese, too.

After Keiko returns to Japan the couple communicate several times daily by email and Skype, the latter permitting real-time face-to-face communication and simultaneous texting and Internet content sharing.   The service is free and they use it often.    Neither is completely comfortable communicating in English, but it serves as their primary lingua franca and dominant “scaffolding language” between two major regional languages and a (relatively small) national language.

Over the course of several years, the multilingual pair routinely code switch between four languages, often exploiting handheld electronic dictionaries, various Internet language-learning websites, and Google Translate.  (Both also contribute to ongoing, volunteer improvement of the corpus-based machine translation.)    Occasionally, the couple find themselves communicating in a language of their own devising, complete with idiosyncratic neologisms.  They make fun of their mixed-up creation, but sometimes feel they’re communicating in a private creole.

Their perception arguably manifests the early stages of Process.  Millions of multilingual students worldwide share similar experiences, as shown in the popular movie L’auberge Espanole (The Spanish Garden)  (IMDB 2010).  Process might be facilitated by a chaordic community of such persons, including computer hardware and software experts, educators and researchers, language policy planners, politicians and bureaucrats, writers, directors, and other creative persons, and more. Process aims to encourage and to grow from multilingualism and language preservation, so the global chaordic community could free several birds from one cage.

Multi-lingual ICT users today are arguably pioneers of Process – potentially, a fantastically rich global creole.  Indeed, the linguistic study of pidgins and creoles involves experts who could greatly contribute to Process.  The American Comparative Literature Association’s recent conference on “Creoles, Diasporas, Cosmopolitanisms,” for example, provides a fascinating overview of creole studies, highly relevant to the potential for Process. (ACLA 2010).  This description provides a conceptual framework for facilitated global creolization.

Process may proceed playfully, facilitated by games and by friendly personal exchanges, both real-world and virtual, including venues such as the Wireless Ready “Edunation Dome” and other Second Life locales.   Shops, theaters, promenades, classrooms, sports facilities and so on — all virtual — could provide opportunities for Process development, many in relatively “natural” virtual settings and situations.   These environments will, of course derive from the desires of the virtual world creators.  Process users would choose avatars and communicate entirely according to their creative wishes.  This and similarly remarkable — and previously impossible — situations can facilitate Process coevolution.   Virtual reality communities may be among the earliest manifestations of Process.

Process could include friendly competition between virtual communities, the most successful being those whose language finds favor with newcomers, an extremely complex, playful process that could provide fascinating insights to linguists with the proper tools to observes and analyze this coevolution.   Process may include creative contributions in vocabulary, grammar, syntax,  orthography, proxemics, body language, and other features of language.   Process would naturally invite such innovations, particularly among children and teenagers, poets, lyricists, writers and others creative persons.   Neologisms would abound, even as Process coevolves from a scaffolding of existing world languages.

Multilingual “sampling” — to borrow a term from the modern digital music world — could become highly sophisticated, fast, and easy, thereby enhancing Process via a scaffolding of all global languages, as well as through neologism creation and other creative contributions.   Such sampling might be facilitated through an innovative, extremely powerful “Process Corpus” incorporating all extant corpora of global languages.  This goal, though very ambitious, is far more plausible than efforts to develop a universal translation device, and might have a far greater influence on global society.

The Process corpus would include all living languages, including minority and endangered tongues such as those being documented via the WeSay program.  (WeSay 2010)    Even documented, extinct languages could be part of the corpora.   The Process Corpus would provide users with many possible alternative ways to express their thoughts and feelings for situations either familiar or foreign to the users’ native languages.

Users could share the results of their Process Corpora investigations with others in face-to-face communication and/or through Internet social networks and virtual, mediated, and augmented reality.  Such exchanges may eventually be in progress incessantly, involving millions of children, women, and men all around the world.  A GSL may emerge from such uncountable and unmoderated exchanges, situated in the zone where “chaords” – order emerging from chaos  — result.  Manifestations of such “sampling” could take place in virtual reality, everyday life, and also via mediated and augmented reality (MAR).

An interesting recent manifestation of MAR is Sekai Camera  (SekaiCamera 2010), which allows users to “tag” information about various locations and things using cell phones equipped with camera and GPS systems.   Process participants using cell phones, increasingly common worldwide, could engage in “Process naming,” playfully introducing names for things in the world.    This naming could involve words and phrases from existing languages or could involve neologisms and novel orthographies. Providing opportunities for deep creativity and enjoyment.  A standardized “Process Air Tag” could help interested children, women, and men to make and recognize Process contributions.

Another potential facilitator of Process would be a variation on the Chat Roulette site. (ChatRoulette 2010).   Adapted for Process facilitation, a similar program could connect speakers of myriad languages using a variety of filters, including user-provided information about native language, foreign, second, and lingua franca languages, language preferences, willingness to connect to speakers of particular languages, preferences to certain regional scaffolding languages, age and gender preferences, and so forth.   Some might be asked to agree, for research purposes, to audio recording and collation of text messages, or other methods of documenting their communications.   Other interactions would be entirely unmonitored.

Although ICT are absolutely essential to Process, they absolutely are not sufficient.   Process must be able to carry on in the unmediated world, not only in virtual life, not only through Internet communication and with augmented reality, and perhaps not primarily in either medium, but rather in ordinary face-to-face conversation.   No matter how powerful or ubiquitous the ICT may be, we are eventually and ultimately brought back to our ordinary human senses and our individual thoughts and voices.   For Process to fulfill its full potential, there must evolve a globally shared internal voice, initially rather limited, perhaps, but perhaps eventually stunningly sophisticated and complex and beautiful in ways we cannot begin to fathom now, just setting off from the shores of multilingualism.

The late Jim Gray of Microsoft is credited with the “Fourth Paradigm” concept.  Gray reportedly was keenly aware that the greatest challenges for science are non-technical, human problems:  psychological, emotional and social turmoil; religious conflict; conflicting values, hopes and dreams; matters of love and hate, trust and betrayal, power and powerlessness.  Recognizing this, Process requires a global community that fosters and facilitates change according to chaordic principles, and that fully acknowledges human complexity.   The Process community must seek ways in which to ensure accessibility, fairness, openness, cooperation, and creativity, while taking full advantage of the powerful ICT that are at the core of the Wireless Ready community’s interests.


ACLA (n.d.) Retrieved April 20, 2010 from

Britten, J.  (2009), Internet social networks and co-evolution of a globally shared language, Proceedings of the third annual Wireless Ready Symposium, 4-7.

Chaordic Commons (n.d.) Retrieved February 12, 2010 from

ChatRoulette  (n.d).   Retrieved April 2, 2010 from

Hey, T.  (2009) The Fourth Paradigm, San Francisco:  Microsoft Research.

Hock, D.  (2000) Birth of the Chaordic Age, San Francisco, Berrtett-Koehler Publishers.

IMDB  (n.d.) Retrieved February 11, 2010 from

SekaiCamera (n.d) Retrieved January 21, 2010 from

 WeSay (n.d) Retrieved January 11, 2010 from

What Is CreolEarth?

CreolEarth is a name for a globally shared language (GSL).  CreoleEarth is a global creole language created by co-evolution  made possible for the first time in human history by the world wide web.

CreolEarth is not an artificial or constructed language like Esperanto.  It is not a  program or project.  It is a process open to contributions by children, women, and men all around the world.  CreolEarth emerges from a scaffolding of natural languages.