Developed by Charles K. Ogden, Basic English is a simplified version of the English language. It strips down the vocabulary to approximately 850 words, and maintains the rules of usage from full English. The simplified language was introduced in Ogden's 1930 book Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar. Supposedly a student from western Europe could learn Basic English - including vocabulary, pronunciation, and idioms - in just 60 hours. Since 1959, the Voice of America has broadcasted in a modified version, Special English, that uses about 1,500 words and a very slow delivery.

The 850 words are shorthand for other words. For example, puppy and bitch were eliminated - in Basic English, they are both dog - of young age and of female gender, respectively. The original wordlist contained 600 nouns, 150 adjectives, and 100 other words to be combined with the others to establish complete meaning. There are only six operators in Basic English: be, become, cause, make, do, and have. Any other verbs are used only as nouns: instead of the full English I attempted to come, Basic English would say I made an attempt to come.


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