OGDEN's BASIC ENGLISH
News -- November 2002
Basic English has a working spell-check on a commonly available word processor.
Simply substitute our wordlist for the OpenOffice default, and it works.
1 . Office Suites.
OpenOffice.org -- OOo .
OpenOffice.org is a full office suite released May 2002.
It is an open source version of StarOffice with Sun Microsystems support in its continued development.
The OOo Project performs the work. Version, 1.0.1 is available as a free download from
order a CD from one of their project partners.
Ours cost $5.50, but took 2-weeks to arrive.
The OOo Project is actively seeking languages to add.
We will submit Basic English as soon as we have a polished package to offer.
Abisoft is another open software suite project.
It seems to be creating a clone of Word. OOo is further along than AbiSoft.
Their internal communications are techy enough to intimidate your webmaster;
whereas OOo has progressed beyond the initial development stage and moved into
a more user-friendly orientation.
Both open-software systems are developed in a Unix, C++ environment, although the completed software works on any system.
However, I am unable to use their development tools and utilities.
Do you feel qualified to participate and be the interface?
2 . Spell check word lists.
The OOo spelling list of 62,000 root words includes many proper nouns.
Starting with their word list, the non-Basic words have been removed.
We have retained the proper nouns, but removed many people names.
Ogden's special word lists are also available for selection.
This list gives a professional spell check that is efficient by using
a hash routine and an affix file of prefix/suffix codes.
Developer's Spellist -- the 850 words expand into almost 5,000 derivatives.
The list is in Excel form to allow developers to manipulate, add delimiters, or whatever.
Toddlist. Todd took the developer's XLS wordlist and put into to a
Downloads . The OpenOffice version, the developer's spellist.xls,
and the toddlist.txt file are available as Zip files.
These are being updated periodically as the lists are polished.
Basic English should be easy to introduce, the graphic user interface does not
have to be recreated as a foreign language, it is already English -- and English
speakers will be the first users, using the package to create Basic documents
readable by all.
The step after this will be the thesaurus, or synonym list, which will allow
selecting the appropriate Basic English word or expression. The OOo Project
wants to get into grammar checking, which may be good timing after the completion
of the online Basic English dictionary.
Review . An expansive approach to the OOo spell-check lists has been taken.
Many Basic nouns can be considered as verb forms and a spell check cannot detect
the difference in usage; it only looks for the existence of a Basic word.
"The cook will cook the dinner."
To get the job done quickly, the derivative forms have mechanically applied,
whereas Ogden precluded use of derivatives that can become verbs.
There are other issues.
- Past tense has been included even when the spelling is -en
when an -ed form is not available "harden" rather than
"harded". this, then, allows hardened, hardener, hardeners, hardening, hardenings.
The idea being to make life simpler for our writers -- who we need to put Basic before the public --
while being understandable to the reader. Is this too much of stretch?
New Words. The words "computer" and "email" have been included on the assumption that Ogden would have included them if he were working today. Web page writers will be among the first popularizers of Basic
for their international audiences. Some are at the end of the
international discussion page.
Compound Words. All compound words in the OOo list
that are made from Basic Words have been retained. Ogden provided a small list of
compounds. Other compounds appear to belong. Some obviously do not belong.
We have not made that judgment, but have mechanically left them
until a council (you participating) makes a judgment.
Fireman, is this obvious? Or will a learner assume it is a man who
makes fires, rather than one who puts them out? Remember, a legitimate usage
warrants inclusion, even if common usage has an extended meaning.
Fishtail commonly is a verb meaning motion from the back of an
accelerating car, but the Basic words "fish" and "tail" may be
a legitimate noun for the back of a fish.
Compounds that act as prefix/suffix are the Basic words : in- , -able , -less
International Words. There is a smaller list of words that have an
international flavor. We need confirmation from
native speakers of French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Japanese
to see if any of these words are legitimate for inclusion in Basic.
There may have to be a Basic English instructor's version that is more strict
for creating teaching media. The slightly more lenient version now available
may be more suitable for use on the Basic English page of the newspaper.
then, there is the issue of advanced Basic tht makes use of the 500
"next step" words that Ogden recommended for learner progression.
3 . Translation dictionary / Thesaurus. This was started before OOo
came into our purview. Essentially, this is putting Ogden's two
dictionaries into computer form. It is a table of the standard
English words with up to four basic word(s) alternatives. It, too, is
in XLS format. This is a big task, we practiced on X,Y,Z and then
did the 7,500 word dictionary for A and B. We then went back and
added the other words from the 20,000 word dictionary to these letters and partway
into C before shifting our efforts to accomplishing a spell check to work with OOo.
Completing the first pass of the dictionary will take a couple of hundred hours
and then it will still be only a developer's list. Whereas the spell check is
working and is being polished. The reason for providing the lists is to allow
developers the freedom to create and implement, while we over-the-technological
-hill people provide the raw data. To make timely progress, we will need
4 . Dictionaries. We can provide the two Ogden
Dictionaries. There is a seven-week "ship"ping delay in getting
Basic English books from our only supplier, BookEast. As an aid to developers,
we have purchased some of the dictionaries and can immediately mail then
domestically. If this works out, we may purchase a few of the other books,
for teachers. We provide them at the same price as BookEast (and cheaper postage
-- no handling markup). International readers can directly email the
publisher in Japan.
5 . Spanish. The estate of a professor who was creating a Basic
English for Spanish encouraged us to display our idea for words that can be
considered "international" to the large Spanish population.
Immigration via NAFTA has created an urgen need for Basic English.
With that established as in the public domain, we encourage the publication
of his work.
6 . Online Forum. There is a
for Ogden's Basic English (select: Guest). It was put up by a student
writing a paper on the subject (He got an 'A'.) It had a flurry of interest
when first put up. We stayed out of it for fear of further exhausting my
email-inquiry time. Note it has active visitors. However, an online forum
will be necessary to discuss issues and share ideas and coordinate help.
Is anyone interested in activating this, Bryan has probably graduated.
Or, similar discussion groups are offered by other service providers.
That is what has been going on with the Basic English website.
You have expressed an interest in Basic at some time, many of you have started
projects, and we have been out of touch.
What are you doing that you want to share with other interested
Basic English people? You will be included in the next news memo.
Please send your ideas, problems, and progress to share.
If anyone knows how mailing lists work, please offer to help.
We don't want to spam people, but we need to be able to efficiently share news
with interested people. This memo is being sent one-at-a-time to get past spam
filters. Please respond with your desire to receive infrequent updates.
Or, to not be included. Give us your preferred email address.
State the projects you might want to work with. Declare yourself project
leader of specific tasks; the nature of open-software is to do it and
then share it. Those who have an interest in creating modern teaching aids
might want to get started. We also need documentation of Basic English for
OpenOffice.org for distribution with CDs preset loaded with Basic. While you
are learning it is a good time to record what future users will need to know.
Spam. Email addresses are parsed on the basiceng.com website so they
will not be detected by spam searches. Please do not post email addresses on
your website. The algorithm we use was adapted from
ass-maker. It works, even though I have simplified it a bit.
Back to the Basic-English page
Last updated October 29, 2002.
Contact us by