OGDEN's BASIC ENGLISH
Needs of Basic English in the 21st Century
I. Word Processor - spell check, translator, thesaurus, grammar check, suggestions.
Newspapers, local governments, and service agencies need to be able to write English
and easily have it translated into Basic suitable for the entire community in news, forms, and instruction sheets.
- We know of two open software office suites available free to download and that
encourage different languages. We should be able to get Basic English into the software.
- OpenOffice.org , a spinoff of StarOffice,
appears to be a little further along and with a full office suite. It has been released in 1.0 version.
It works on all systems, is free, and seems to be developed in C++, Linux and XML.
The Basic English wordlist can be substituted for the en_US.dic file and it works
nicely to highlight non-Basic words. The spelling software,
is an adaptation of Ispell.
Does the AbiSoft Open Software Project,
an all-systems, free Word Processor offer a good starting point? How about
Aspell for spell check and dictionary?
These word-lists need a UNIX compiler. This Basic English website provides the word list.
Can you take an active part?
- Basic English, spell-checking wordlists are now available in
several forms and available for download. - alpha
1 . An OpenOffice en_US.dic file. The approach taken is to use the OpenOffice file
and delete the non-Basic words, but leave the captialized, proper nouns and use the "affix" file.
Available now as a zip file.
This can be used with any other Myspell word checking software. Testers needed.
2. A simple Basic English (only) wordlist in text, single colum format is a
zip file download
3 . Excel format for developers Version 0.0
It has over 5,000 spellings.
- Internet Dictionary Project is coming with a Basic English dictionary in 2004. IDP Companion is a standalone English to Basic translator.
- Entente is a translator that can accept specialized
additions with which we experimented. Do you know of others?
Do you want to contribute to the translation wordlists?
15% of the way into creation, it looks like we will have a 16,000 word translation
dictionary of standard English words converted to Basic. Volunteers are needed to speed the
II. Complete the Special Word Lists.
Science . The physical sciences have the most complete of the Special word lists of Basic English with both a general word list (100 words) and 4 specialties (of 50 words each).
Ogden was able to enlist the aid of the scientific community to develop the general science and several specific word lists, possibly because of the interest of existing agencies accustomed to the need for and experienced in the development of international standards.
Business - is addressed as two specific areas, each of 50 words as called for in a
specialty: business as Trade and as Economics. The need for an overall Business category is shown by the fact that 16 words are common to both lists. These words comprise the start of a general Business word list. Removal of these words to the general Business word list will free up space for 32 additional words in the Trade and Economics lists. Other words from these lists might also become members of the general business 100 word list, so that the two specific, 50 words lists, might be further expanded with new words and concepts. In determining which words will be selected for general business, the needs for additional areas of business will be determined and also the possible needs for additional specialty areas -- accounting, banking, insurance, law, and many more come to mind.
Computing. - is another area that is allied with science that needs attention is the whole field of computers. This topic is so pervasive and is of specific interest to some of those that read these pages, that it can easily become a general computer category with sub-categories of hardware, software development, world wide web, and more. The trick here will be to identify concepts rather than use of trade names and current jargon which will dissolve in a few years. See International Internet words.
Literature - is addressed with a general word list for Verse. Is this adequate to address literature and language? Should Verse be split with the most general 50 words being recognized as belonging to a general literature list? The remaining 50 words could be a verse sub-category. Words for Reading the Bible, with 50 words, is addressed as a specialty.
Religion . Basic English can make a valuable contribution to World harmony through recognition of expressions of commonality between the world's religions.
Should religion topics be expanded as a general topic or will the proposed new Literature category suffice to incorporate the fundamental religious concepts? Is a general category of religion required with subcategories for Reading the Bible, the Koran, et al.?
Social Sciences - are not addressed in the original Basic English.
Media - has a dated, radio committee recommendation and VOA has an updated special English vocabulary in daily use. These need to be merged and updated.
We cannot be sure how Ogden would have addressed these topics, nor do we known how he would have gone about creating the categories -- except through his experience and genius. We do know his methodology for picking the right words, he used "concepts". * He would take the most recognized dictionary of the topic and whittle it down into concepts and then pick the most general, simple, widely understood, and regular word to represent each concept. He, no doubt, had to use discipline to avoid inclusion of shaded similarities and less important concepts in the final list . A compact Basic English that was understandable was his criteria. It is far better to combine short specialty lists rather than pad or aggrandize any one list.
1 - Ogden used a 23-variable wheel, but we only know 11 of them. He died before
completing the book on his "opticon method."
Your contribution. If you submit a well-reasoned list of concepts, citing your source dictionary and agreeing to coordinate with others on the subject, I will be glad to publish drafts of both general and specific word lists. Ideally each list will be sponsored by a organization, but we recognize that one interested person can often perform more and better than a committee, certainly more efficiently. The areas that your author considers of greatest need are outlined above. Remember to determine the International words of universal recognition -- these do not take from the word count of the general list.
The President of the United States has asked each person to donate 4,000 hours to our fellows. Lets make this a worldwide commitment. To aid international understanding, perhaps to avoid a war or tragedy, is worthy of your effort.
Danish 42 pages.
III. An Institute to Update the Basic Words
- Word selection may have shifted in significance with time. Thoughts
- Spelling needs review. Thoughts
- International Internet words. Thoughts
- Compounds progress from frequently used expressions, to hyphenated words,
to compound words. What is the current state of the Basic English
- The Basic English Institute was started
in 2003. Its goal is to bring Basic English to the 21st Century with a place for volunteers to provide training, learners to practice, and projects to be done.
IV. Resurrection of the Orthological Institute to Champion Basic English.
- Afghanistan points up a need; that nation needs to quickly obtain
access to the World for education and trade.
This is an opportunity that can most expeditiously be addressed with Basic English.
- Specific foreign languages have a larger list of shared words that can be of advantage to
the learner. Latin America, for example, shares many words of common origin with English
that may be treated as international words within a large linguistic area even thought
not globally international. A special "international" Spanish
wordlist will speed the learner and rapidly expand their vocabulary.
The disadvantage is that communication as a pure international language
would be sacrificed at the basic level by moving more directly to standard
English -- which is not all bad.
- Texts for instructors and modern media for students must be made available.
Back to: Basic English Institute.
On to: Projects.
About this Page: Needs.html -- Ogden was the sole inventor of Basic English.
On his death, the effort of his Institute was on teaching his work.
There remains a need to bring electronic support for Basic
to allow easy distribution of day-to-day content that is understandable by all.
And then to complete the special wordlists to aid the electronic users, to
to update, to extend to new areas, to find or develop teaching aids, and
present Basic as an accomplished fact available to be used for its
intended purpose as an international second language.
Last updated January 24, 2003 . Add Danish. Dec 31 - add IDP dictionary.
Created on January 30, 2002
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