Basic English Institute
Simple English and other variations
Simple English is generally defined as Basic English plus the 1,000 most frequent English words. The thought is that Basic assures that everything can be expressed, then the addition of frequent words will make more like Full English.
Basic English proponents say that the addition of 1000 words doubles the learning time and is only more natural to native English speakers. However, Basic learners
will be exposed to frequent English words and some of the discipline of Simple English will make more English available to them. There is no question that Basic
is to be learned first -- this allows the learner to participate in English communications
about most things, plus communicate with others all over the earth in a clear international auxiliary language. Simple English is not well defined and must be considered a version of English that is beyond Basic, but short of full English.
Why Simple English?
Two major proponents of Simple English are Industrial Instruction Manuals and
Simple (English) Wikipedia.
Instruction Manual preparation is big money and several
consulting companies are charging big bucks (great amounts of money) to create instruction manual in "simple English". Simple English in this case means Basic plus whatever words are necessary where the Instruction Manual will be used -- similar to Basic subject area supplemental word lists. Because each manual is prepared for a specific, paying company,
there is no standardization. One cannot even see the confidential wordlist without paying for it. One can expect the wordlist to be different for each company.
Here is what Simple Wikipedia has :
Simple English is similar to English, but it uses only easy words.
We suggest that articles should use only the 1000 most common and basic words in English. They should also use less complicated grammar, for example shorter sentences.
There are no rules about vocabulary, tense or suffixes. Some articles use only Basic English (850 words), but this wiki has no strong rules about which words can be used.
We can see that Instruction Manual Consultants and Simple Wikipedia have honorable goals but have no clear definition for their work. Each is useful for its goals, but does not have a clear list of vocabulary and rules for learners and readers from around the world. We encourage simple writing and speech and wish each was more sharply defined in the path that teachers and learners can use to progress beyond Basic English.
An Institute project may address this path. See project 452
And a language for SimpleWiki discussion.
Basic English -- Many persons new to Basic English take the 850 words as a fact. The fact is that these are root words with simple rules. The System of Basic English with suffixes, general supplements, international and infrastructure words, complex (compound) words -- the spelling vocabulary is over 5000 words at the cost of learning 850 root words.
For example : adding the "class", from Social Science wordlist, joins with other basic words to form as many as 27 complex words/spellings. Lists in proj 452..
Everyman's English -- this is expansion of Basic that is to be naturally reached by the learner who participates in daily English communication. I.A. Richards introduced the name Everyman's to follow what Ogden refers to in learning steps to follow Basic. The key element that is brought to attention is the dozens of, perhaps a hundred, verb forms that naturally come from Basic nouns with Basic suffixes such that no new spelling must be recognized. Everyman's uses only Basic words but allows great changes in spelling/word-recognition that he can easily see, but that learners will not be able to see. If Everyman's English is taken to mean advanced Basic, then we can accept this, but disagree with including spellings that are greatly different from basic Basic.
VOA Special English -- The vocabulary is larger than Basic and selected for use in News. It does not include the words needed for everyday living. Therefore it
takes longer to learn and is not a complete language. The great value of VOA Special English is (1) it is a limited word list , (2) the speech is slow, designed for learners, (3) is readily available , and (4) it has a wide range of matter to keep the learner's interest.
It is particularly useful for individual progress after learning Basic. It gives good pronunciation that can not be learned from a book.
Media Basic. This is the result of using Basic with electronic office aids
of spell checking and for translations from full English words to Basic. A computer cannot
recognize the sense of a word when used in media. Therefore the computer will not mark a Basic noun when used as a verb as an error. It will not recognize that Basic uses only a limited number of senses of the words. Media Basic, for lack of a better term, is
Intermediate Basic. This is because verbs from nouns and because all senses of a word are considered as good. Basic requires a learner to do one list of a general supplement ( 100 words ) and a detailed supplement ( 50 words ). Media Basic adopts each of the general supplements and none of the detail supplements. Basic limits which words are able to take which suffixes, however, Media Basic makes use of all Basic Suffixes for all Basic Words that exist in normal English.
Advanced Basic. The author of Basic English provided a path beyond Basic toward full English using the same technique for word selection as for Basic. Combining these with all of the other Basic word lists takes a person to a point at which he can progress to full English on his own. Ways to go beyond Basic include VOA Special English for practice with pronunciation. Also Simple English, which makes addition of high frequency words.
World English was an attempt to define more clearly some of these concepts, but appears to have died as the author's interests have moved in other directions.
E Prime is subset of Basic that is given mention in Simple Wikipedia. It is an exercise to further reduce the 16 Basic verbs by eliminating the most useful, to be . "Be" and its conjugations is the second most frequent word in full English. The idea may be fun for that author, but is not useful for learning or using English to communicate. Wikipedia makes a mistake to mention this self-flagellation hobby.
Plain English is an effort to get people to write government publications more simply by following common sense guidelines that should apply to all of your writing.
UK and US.
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