young woman talking about 'english speaker' drama

@gen_laforce/TikTok @slurricaneh/Twitter

TikToker addresses controversial video about English language being ‘simple’

'I am also not a linguist.'


Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Posted on May 3, 2023

A creator who posted a TikTok about the English language being simple to learn, drawing waves of criticism, has addressed the video.

The creator, Geneviève (@gen_laforce), who has more than 440,000 followers on TikTok, posted on Tuesday, attempting to clarify some of the points in her original TikTok, which is now private.

Geneviève says in the TikTok, which has more than 38,000 views, that there are points in the original that she “could have worded significantly better.” She also tries to draw a line between “familiar” English and “academic” English, and in a part two, she provides links to sources, though people were still confused about some of her original claims.

“Girl these are all completely new points,” said one commenter.

“This is just a lesson on how easy it is to spread misinformation as long as you can sound confident while spreading it,” said another commenter, though others applauded her for the video.

Geneviève also addressed the harassment she got as a result of the TikTok going viral.


i urge you to not comment until you've watched part 1 & 2 as i may address your concern in either or. all i'm asking is that you guys be nice. the messages and comments i've been getting the past few days have been so hurtful and absolutely heartbreaking knowing this is what our society has come to. i am also not a linguist and am more than open to education, as long as its done with respect &lt3

♬ original sound – Geneviève✨

The original TikTok is older but it went viral after being posted to Twitter last week, where it got more than 26 million views. In the clip, Geneviève asks if anyone’s heard a “theory” regarding “how people who only speak English have a less developed brain.” She then says she and her girlfriend have a difficult time communicating “emotions” because her girlfriend’s first language is Hebrew and hers is French.

What seemed to set people off was the claim that “English is a very simple language.” She cites research about this without linking to it or providing any additional context for her argument.

Her video brought out linguistics TikTok, which poked holes in this “theory.”

“English has plenty of depth,” replied @woodyling. “I think the problem is maybe your depth in English isn’t that great. Which is fine, it’s not your first language. I can’t communicate emotions in Spanish the same way that I do in English because English is my first language. That does not mean that Spanish is a simple or less complex language.”

@woodyling Respuesta a @chabouel1 Pegar con @gen_laforce Please tell me where you got this theory #woodyling #english #spanish #linguistics #ingles #español #linguistica #monolingual #englishspeakers @divasunglasses @woodyling @woodyling ♬ sonido original – Woody

“Languages don’t have an inherent complexity,” said @arumnatzorkhang. “Rather they are tools that can be used to express simple or complex ideas.”

@arumnatzorkhang #stitch with @gen_laforce be careful of what you think, and the conclusions they can lead to. Languages are not simple or complicated. #linguistics #language ♬ original sound – Arum Natzorkhang
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*First Published: May 3, 2023, 1:49 pm CDT