Comparison of word lists
This is a cross comparison of a limited list of word selection to
communicate in English made by reasonable and interested people.
Draft of Notes and as a web page place holder
Universal Language Dictionary -- http://www.
This is an attempt to define Basic Concepts and apply all languages
that are submitted by volunteers. The concepts are broken into
topic areas with 1,600 concepts/words. Basic was already in computer readable form, so it was chosen as the base for this comparison of word selection.
Ogden's Basic English is already in ULD form, however, the ULD word
list for Basic (dated 1996) uses the minimal, 850 word list. Unfortunately, it is significantly incomplete (1) (it can happen). Basic English also considers a list of 175 "international" words as part of its vocabulary that are universally known words which are freely useable and are not counted in the wordlist of words to be learned. (2)
The student of Basic knows that one general and one detailed supplemental word list is expected, plus symbols (numbers,etc.) and compound words made from Basic words,
which increase the actual working vocabulary to over 1,200 words.
Words from the general word lists have been included in green;
words from the detailed wordlist are left out, although some students of English will have learned these words and will not have learned
some words from general word lists.
Essential World English by Lancelot Hogben. 1963, published by
Michael Joseph Ltd, London.
Considered as a next step evolution of Basic. Hogben starts with
Ogden's works, accepts most of it and adds features he considers
important - in part from the actual experience with Basic - and
has a 1,300 word base vocabulary, expands the
international words not counted, and adds two dozen affixes. He introduces more
verbs and some substitute words that might be considered an update
from 30 years after Basic. To the learner, EWE might considered as a
guide for a learner's progress from Basic towards full English
where much is already familiar, yet sufficiently expansive to be
of value. The situation is that there is a
wide literature in Basic, so that the student should learn Basic first,
then expand into Hodgen's words. For the Basic Institute, EWE might
be considered profitably in developing updated standards. His
discussions are complimentary to Ogden's and his arguments supplement
his concepts (a) by adding verbs and (b) seeking unique words for
each concept -- whereas Basic is simpler in structure and reuses known
words for multiple English definitions so the student does not immediately have to learn additional spellings and pronunciations.
Hodgen's 1300 words must be expanded by 159 additional, international
words. Comparing with Basic is not direct, for example, Hodgen includes the cardinal numbers, spelled out, in the word count, whereas
Ogden allots measurements to his list of 175 international words and
expects each student to learn 150 topic of interest/employment words. Therefore the total words for a student of EWE is about 1455 and BE about 1175.
The terminal level of EWE adds 100 supplementary words and BE has 500
next step towards full English words. Totals then are: EWE 1555 and BE 1575.
Hodgen teaches basic affixes : UN-, IN-, -ED, -ER, -ABLE, -LESS, -ING , -TEEN, -TY, -WEAR; (EWE uses, but does not list -S? and skips Basic's use of -LY). Plus Hodgen introduces 13 other prefixes: anti-, ex-, extra- infra-, inter-, pan-, post-, pre-, supra-, trans-, ultra-, vice-, and sometimes, quasi-.
Once the student progresses into EWE, he leaves behind the international auxiliary aspects of Basic and is using intermediate English.
"The Concise Dictionary of Twenty-six Languages in Simultaneous Translations"
compiled by Peter M. Bergman. Copyright 1968, Anenel 1981 Edition.
ISBN 0-517-34720-2 Hardback 406 pages.
This work takes 1,000 words and lists an
equivalent in 26 languages at four words per page. Then, in an index
for each language, lists the words of that language and the page number
where it is found. This is not a complete language but only the
major nouns -- it does not include a, an, the, and, in fact, no words
less than three letters (except "be").
The book is considered as an example of a 1,000 word selection with
emphasis on nouns and qualifiers much as Ogden. Of interest is that six of the languages are transliterated to Roman spelling.
Longman "Basic Dictionary of American English" 1999 ISBN 0582 33251 6
paperback 5"x8" - 370 pages. 10,000 words with cartoon illustrations.
This is an advanced beginner or intermediate dictionary using a reduced
vocabulary of 2,075 words with 48 affix (10 prefix and 38 suffix).
The book is considered as a modern example of a reasoned, reduced
vocabulary, albeit much larger than Ogden's selection and the others
considered here. The Longman vocabulary is used in that publishers
line of textbooks. It is a commendable concept, but does not approach the
maximum simplicity of Basic, so it is for the progress minded learner of English, not for the whole world as an international second language.
Collins COBUILD Learners Dictionary
Based on word count from a massive database that Ogden would have loved to have
as a radial with his panoptic method of word selection.
This is not a language, but a corpus-based dictionary that also displays the popularity of words.
The definitions are in complete sentences that use the word in that sentence.
Has a detailed pronunciation guide using 48 sound symbols.
Detailed rules for grammatical usage by creating 57? parts of speech.
Anticipate this book will be useful in determining 21st Century usage of Ogden's word lists.
Elaine Swenson --- English for New Americans Miss Swenson said she could make a better wordlist than Ogden in 900 words and promised a better dictionary. This never appeared. Granted that Ogden's initial dictionary was amateurish, albeit necessary for his translators for the key words. His second, "The General Basic English Dictionary", created under his direction at the Orthological Institute thirty years later, is outstanding. [To Do: find and add her
900 words to the comparison table.] [The list and dictionary were never completed. Some 1,200 words were presented along with unlimited derivatives and never settled into one system.] So true of many wantabes.
Michael. P. West--"On Learning to Speak a Foreign Language" targets near east immigrants. He sold a five year program of rote learning, when Basic was released, he
changed it to a five section program with a Basic-like first year. He criticized Basic for
not going far enough. [Five years is not suitable for a international second language.]
-- "English Words for all Occasions."
[Find his first year IRET wordlist for the comparison table.] [ It is reported to contain 100 irregular verbs and 20 affixes.]
We have recently found West's set of "2,000 words selected to be of the greatest general service" to learners of English. It appears to be similar to Longman, but we have not done a word-for-word yet.
(1) Basic Words inadvertently left out of ULD's Basic English list:
able, act, addition, again, agreement, almost, answer, approval, attraction,
balance, band, base, basin behavior belief bulb, business,
certain, chance, clear, cold, common, comparison, condition, crack,
country, dear, debt, decision, dependent, destruction, dirty, early,
end, enough, example, exchange, existence, expansion, false, fight,
flag, form, forward, frequent, general, get, great, grip, growth,
hanging, hat, he, heat, help, high, idea, ill, increase, jewel, journey, last, late, learning, limit, linen, living, long, loss, married, may, middle, more, need, part, payment, place, plane, poison,
political, pour, possible, price, prison, process, profit, put,
quality, question, quick, range, regular, representative, request,
respect, ring, room ,rough, rub, rule,
- (this is as far as I've gotten so far.)
(2) Basic International words included in this comparison are
in italics and include :
alcohol, bank, bomb, automobile, check, chocolate, cigarette,
club, coffee, dance, eight, five, four,gas, half, hotel, hundred, King, magnetic, microscope, million, nine, olive, one, park, police,
program, pyramid, Queen, radio, salad, seven, six, tea, telephone,
ten, theater, thousand, three, third, two, twice, university.
The bulk of the internationally known words allowed in Basic are not included in the Basic wordlist,
yet add color and variety with no loss -- champaign, chauffeur, menu, vodka, etc.
REF : Other vocabularies in an Excel format.
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