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John Cowan cowan at
Fri Nov 27 05:18:24 CET 2015

Shawn Steele scripsit:

> Basic English was (at least partially) intended to be an international
> language that would be easy for people around the world to learn.

Indeed, which was Churchill's original interest in it.  Unfortunately,
its use of short native verbs with particles like "put up with" turns
out to be harder to learn than more inter-European words like "endure".

> Its simplified vocabulary (originally 850 words, I don't know if that's
> changed) was intended to be simple.  

850 words plus whatever technical terms are needed for the particular text.
Ogden never thought that it would be possible to do without those.
Hs opponents caricatured Basic for its supposed clumsiness by translating
"The officer led his troops against the enemy, but the enemy stood firm"
as "The person in military authority was the guide of his men in the army
against the nation at war, but the non-friends stood solidly upright", 
using only the 850-word vocabulary.  But Ogden himself retorted with
"The lieutenant went in front of his men to the attack, but the other
side did not give way", using just one technical term.

John Cowan        cowan at
Dream projects long deferred usually bite the wax tadpole.
        --James Lileks

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