Pending requests

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at
Thu Nov 26 19:32:20 CET 2015

> Hmm, not sure I (as a non-native user of English) would regard the
> (supposedly) "Basic" version to be simpler in any way than the "ordinary"
> version. I would regard the "Basic" version as strange, and in several places *harder* to understand than the "ordinary" version.

Basic English was (at least partially) intended to be an international language that would be easy for people around the world to learn.  Its simplified vocabulary (originally 850 words, I don't know if that's changed) was intended to be simple.  Apparently there are modern enthusiasts interested in the language since Michael's embarked on this project, however it's  mostly a history lesson at this point.  

It was also hoped that this would be a plain language that would prevent all of the manipulations of language that people use to deceive each other.  Ogden felt that the plethora of words allowed us to be manipulated by the "press, politics, and pulpit".  My stripping it of the terms that gives Hemingway's quote the poetic feel he hoped to remove the ambiguity.  So the machine-like feel of the language is intentional.  It's goal is purposely kind of the opposite of Hemingway's, who undoubtedly wanted the reader to feel something and be swayed by his words.


Basic English was first published in 1930, and there are undoubtedly copies of various Basic English books in libraries and yet this is the first time someone has requested a subtag for it.  Perhaps we should see how librarians have been cataloguing it (and other constructed languages) before reinventing a classification system for these?


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