Project 106 . The Basic Words. This book is out of print and it needs to be improved while making the ideas available online and, possibly, published in book form.
We have found that The Basic Words, a foundation work of Basic English, is out-of-print such that we may stretch our summary without much fear of copyright problems. Although we will add this as a project for the future, it will not get high priority because we are not pleased with the original book for many reasons.
(1) Ogden uses French and German words for the definitions - this is of no value to non-European learners who have not already mastered one of these languages. (Basic is valuable to the new businessman in Afghanistan or Africa. Most of our email is from the Orient.)
(2) Basic Words includes examples of usages of every word. These are only
of use to teachers or native speakers who already know all of the senses of the word, but not to learners.
(3) A special system of pronunciation is given -- this is of little value to learners that have not made a previous study of phonetics and of that special technique of phonetics.
(We need a volunteer who is expert in phonetics to improve the Institute proposal to make phonetics simple.)
(4) The book is difficult to convert to HTML : a strange font is used for phonetics, also French and German alphabet slow down the transcription and they are key to the definitions.
(5) The Basic Dictionary is equally useful for giving Basic words and in addition it offers translation of other English words into Basic.
(6) Words does not spell out the word it is talking about, but only prints the first letter of the word in the example phrases. We have put the full spelling, in bold, to each instance of each word on our website to make Words more clear and useful.
(7) A system of coding symbols is used that discourage the casual learner.
A scanned page has been added to show the real book.
The link is after "bad" and before "x-ray".
So you will get the idea that Words can be greatly improved. Even some examples are poor. Look at "ball" : "A silver b.; make butter into bb." Thus, reproducing the original book, Words, is not high on our list of things to do.
We have 12 of 130 pages of Basic Words on the web site today.
What comes to mind is to create an online file. This would include only the Basic words and their synonyms from The Basic Dictionary. Then add to
this the examples from Words and parts of speech. This would combine the best of both books into something better than Words and more complete than Dictionary.
Volunteers can add their language as parallel words -- because we will not allocate Institute time typing French and German fonts when most learners do not know these languages. This will speed the project and open the door to allowing these and other language parallels such as Romance and Oriental. Each language might be in its own color so that the reader may easily associate his native language definitions.
The data format for this project should consider publishing in book form.
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.Last updated August 10, 2006.