OGDEN's BASIC ENGLISH
News -- October 2002
We have a working spell-check on a commonly available word processor.
Simply substitute our list for the OpenOffice default, and it works.
1 . Office Suites.
OpenOffice.org is a full office suite released May 2002.
It is an open source version of StarOffice with Sun Microsystems support in its continued development.
The OOo Project performs the work. Version, 1.0.1 is available as a free download from www.openoffice.org or order a CD from one of their project partners. I got one for $5.50.
The OOo Project is actively seeking languages to add.
We will submit Basic English as soon as we have a package to offer.
Abisoft is another open software suite project. It seems
to be creating a clone of Word. OOo is further along than AbiSoft. Their internal communications are techy enough to intimidate your webmaster; whereas OOo has progressed beyond the initial development stage and moved into a more user-friendly orientation.
Both open-software systems are developed in a Unix, C++ environment, although the completed software works on any system.
However, I am unable to use their development tools and utilities.
Do you feel qualified to participate and be the interface?
2 . Spell check word lists.
Spellist -- the 850 words expand into almost 5,000 derivatives.
The list is in Excel form to allow developers to manipulate, add delimiters, or whatever.
Todd took the developer's XLS wordlist and put into to a text list suitable for OOo.
We now have a working spell-check on an available word processor!
The OOo spelling list of 62,000 root words includes many proper nouns.
Starting with their word list, we are removing the non-Basic words.
This will give us a more complete and professional spell check.
It should be more efficient as it uses a hash routine and an affix file (prefix/suffix codes).
Downloads . Both the developer's spellist and the toddlist file
are available as Zip files.
These are being updated regularly as the lists are polished. The OOo version
will be available when it gets finished (and smaller).
At the same time we are updating both the XLS developer's spellist and toddlist so that every couple of days the files get more complete. We have done A-L, X-Z so far, ten letters to go.
We have found and added a couple of hundred more derivatives and have been doing a letter every couple of days. Now available.
Then we have to cross compare the three versions, verify the affix file (without Unix aids), and we will have a full Alpha version awaiting your feedback. Toddlist is an unauthorized OOo version, but it works. Once we have our Beta version of the OOo wordlist, we will approach the OOo Project with the offering of a new language. We are a lurking-member of the OOo Project at this time.
Basic English should be easy to introduce, the graphic user interface does not have to be created as a foreign language, it is already English -- and English speakers will be the first users, using the package to create Basic documents. The step after this will be the thesaurus, or synonym list, which will allow selecting the appropriate Basic English word or expression. The OOo Project wants to get into grammar checking, which may be good timing after the completion of our dictionary.
Review . An expansive approach to the OOo spell-check lists has been taken. Many Basic nouns can be considered as verb forms and a spell check cannot detect the difference in usage; it only looks for the existence of a Basic word. To get the job done quickly, I have mechanically used the derivative forms, whereas Ogden precluded use of derivatives that become verbs.
There are other issues.
- Past tense has been included even when the spelling is -en when an -ed form is not available "harden" rather than "harded". this, then, allows hardened, hardener, hardeners, hardening, hardenings.
The idea being to make life simpler for our writers -- who we need to put Basic before the public will being understandable to the reader. Is this too much of stretch?
New Words. The words "computer" and "email" have been included on the assumption that Ogden would have included them if he were working today. Web page writers will be among the first popularizers of Basic
for their international audiences.
Compound Words. All compound words in the OOo list that are made from Basic Words have been retained. Ogden provided a small list of compounds. Other compounds appear to belong. Some obviously do not belong. I have not made that judgment, but have mechanically left them
until a council (you participating) makes a judgment.
Fireman, is this obvious? Or will a learner assume it is a man who
makes fires, rather than one who puts them out? Remember, a legitimate usage warrants inclusion, even if common usage has an extended meaning.
Fishtail commonly is a adverb meaning motion from the back of an accelerating car, but the Basic words fish and tail may be a legitimate noun for the back of a fish.
International Words. There is a smaller list of words that have an international flavor. We need confirmation from native speakers of French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Japanese to see if these words are legitimate for inclusion in Basic.
There may have to be a Basic English instructor's version that is more strict for creating teaching media. And, this slightly more lenient version for use on the Basic English page of the newspaper.
Also, perhaps a stage 2 version that makes use of the 500 "next step"
words that Ogden recommended for advanced learner progress.
3 . Translation dictionary / Thesaurus. This was started before OOo
came into our purview. Essentially, this is putting Ogden's two
dictionaries into computer form. It is a table of the standard
English words with up to four basic word(s) alternatives. It, too, is
in XLS format. This is a big task, we practiced on X,Y,Z and then
put the 7,500 word dictionary up for A, B, and C, then went back and
added the other words from the 20,000 word dictionary to A, B and partway
into C before shifting our efforts to accomplishing
a spell check to work with OOo. At half-an-hour-a-day, I figure the dictionary will take 13 months,
and then it will still be only a developer's list. Whereas the spell check is working
and the basic polishing will be finished within the next few weeks.
The reason for providing the lists is to allow hotshot developers the freedom to create and implement,
while we old-the-technological-hill people provide the raw data. But to make timely progress, we will need volunteers.
I have no intention of going beyond finishing C sometime (for symmetry) which, with the Basic words, should be sufficient for software development.
4 . Dictionaries. We can provide the two Ogden Dictionaries. There is a seven-week "ship"ping delay in getting Basic English books from our only supplier, BookEast. As an aid to developers, we have purchased some of the dictionaries and can immediately mail then domestically. If this works out, we may purchase a few of the other books, for teachers. We provide them at the same price as BookEast (and cheaper postage -- no handling markup).
5 . Spanish. The estate of a professor who was creating a Basic
English for Spanish encouraged us to display our idea for words that can be considered "international" to the large Spanish population.
Immigration via NAFTA has created an immediate need for Basic English. With that established as in the public domain, we encourage the publication of his work.
6 . Online Forum. There is a
for Ogden's Basic English (select Guest). It was put up by a student writing a paper on the subject (He got an 'A'.) It had a flurry of interest when first put up. I stayed out of it for fear of further exhausting my email-answering time. Note it has active visitors. However, an online forum will be necessary to discuss issues and share ideas and coordinate help. Is anyone interested in activating this, Bryan has probably graduated. Or, similar discussion groups are offered by other service providers.
That is what has been going on with the Basic English website.
You have expressed an interest in Basic at some time, many of you have started projects, and we have been out of touch.
What are you doing that you want to share with other interested
Basic English people? You will be included in the next news memo.
Please send your ideas, problems, and progress to share.
If anyone knows how mailing lists work, please offer to help. We don't want to spam people, but we need to be able to efficiently share news with interested people. This memo is being sent one at a time to get past spam filters. Please respond with your desire to receive infrequent updates. Or, to not be included. Give us your preferred email address.
State the projects you might want to work with. Declare yourself project leader of specific tasks; the nature of open-software is to do it and then share it. Those who have an interest in creating modern teaching aids might want to get started. We also need documentation of Basic English for OpenOffice.org for distribution with CDs preset loaded with Basic. While you are learning it is a good time to record what future users will need to know.
Spam. Email addresses are parsed on the basiceng.com website so they will not be detected by spam searches. Please do not post email addresses on your website. The algorithm we use was adapted from ass-maker. It works, even though I have simplified it a bit.
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Last updated September 27, 2002.
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