Pending requests

Philip Newton philip.newton at
Fri Nov 27 10:14:47 CET 2015

On 27 November 2015 at 05:18, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> 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".

Indeed. They are often so idiomatic that it makes a mockery of 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",

Case in point - a German learning "give" (hand over to someone) and
"way" (1: method; 2: path) will not be able to make head nor tail, I
think, of "give way" (give someone a method? give someone a path?).

So "give way" is effectively a single lexical entry, a lemma to learn
separately. It's disingenuous to claim that you can get by with 850
words if you need to draw on English idioms like this to pull it off.
(I mean, to achieve it -- again, "pull it off" is not obvious.)

Philip Newton <philip.newton at>

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