The purpose of this book is to give a general idea of the stages by which Basic English, as outlined in the
ABC, may be made part of the teaching system of any country.
It is not itself a school book, and is not designed for regular school use in its present form, though it will be of
value to learners, or to teachers who have a good working knowledge of the system.
Basic is an international language complete in itself, and is at the same time the best First Step for those who
are going forward to normal English. Learners in other countries will necessarily have books in their natural
languages, as they do for normal English or any other strange tongue; and such books have to be based on the
experience of those who are teaching in those countries.
For this reason we did not, at the start, make any attempt to give step-by-step material for use in teaching;
though from 1918-1928, while the details were being worked out, and the system was being tested, the needs of
the school were kept in view from every angle. The ABC was designed as a general guide which would make it
possible for any expert teacher to put the material in the best order for his purposes.
Much very good work was done in this way, with the help of Basic by Examples, but not all teachers
had the time to make the necessary adjustments for themselves, and there was a great desire for more detailed help.
Questions about the best way of teaching the words in relation to the structure of the system came in at the rate of
more than fifty a week, and it was not possible to give everyone a separate answer. But here is part of the answer
which has been given to our representatives, and it is printed in the hope that in book form it may be a guide to
The printing of the word-list in January, 1929, put us in touch with an increasing number of teachers, whose
experience has been of the greatest value. They have sent us their suggestions, and on these, and those of experts in
all countries, the present material has been based.
The two things necessary for teaching-material are a grouping of the words in a framework, for the
purpose of getting them fixed in the memory, and a development of the system by simple stages.
The word-groups here printed are those which have been used in the past ten years at the Orthological
Institute for the training of teachers, all of whom have been requested to make the same sort of lists for themselves.
The order of the groups was an open question--dependent on special needs; and in the same way different
conditions may make different frameworks necessary. But the structure of Basic itself is the best key to the order of
Some learners will be able to get more profit than others out of the short account of the
different sorts of words in Basic, which is the natural first step to any language.
Those who make the right start will be rewarded at every later stage, and this is specially
true of a system as simple as Basic.
Here, for the first time, is a chance of getting free from the strange power which words
have had over us from the earliest times; a chance of getting clear about the processes by
which our ideas become fixed forms of behavior before we ourselves are conscious of what
history and society are making us say.
Those who take this chance will not only be in a position to get through the work on the
different word-groups much more quickly than others, but will make the discovery that they
have a new sort of control over their thoughts and their talk. The words will become a help
to their thought, and Basic will become an instrument for talking freely. Even the very
young may be trained to a sense of these new values; in fact, those with no education are
frequently quicker in their reaction than persons who have been through the school machine.
On the other hand, there is nothing about Basic as a language to make any new or special form
of education necessary. The words in this book are all common words, and they are put before
the learner in groups such as would be made in any organization of word-material. If it is
desired to get the right words by heart in the right order, as a bit of memory work, for business
purposes or as a step to normal English -- then these are the best words, and this grouping is as
good as any other. There is no need to be troubled about reasons and causes if we are only
interested in doing a trick as well as others; and these 30 steps have been chiefly designed
as a guide to the art of talking and writing as well as others, by getting control of the
most necessary word-groups in English. They do, however, take us to the top of a building,
complete in itself for all the needs of everyday existence; and when we are at the top,
we will see that the view is wide enough for those who have reasons for looking further.
An interest in the structure of the building, or in the fact that it has a solid base,
may be more important for those who go on living in it (possibly after experience with other
buildings), than for those who are only on the steps because they have been ordered to go up.
C. K. OGDEN.
LIST OF PAGES
Part I . Introduction -- pages 11 - 18.
Part II . The STEPS
Part III. NOTES.
(e) extensions (s) specializations
PART I . Introduction
For people reading this book
The "Basic" from the title is from "Basic English." Basic English is an independent
subset of English created by the Psychologist C. K. Ogden (1889-1957) of England's
Cambridge University released in 1930.
Sometimes there's a misunderstanding that Basic English is a mere limiting of
vocabulary. In this system, while obeying the grammar of English, one uses only a
few of the conventional rules. Thus one naturally becomes to talk about everyday
things effectively in flourishing, clear English.
The correct way to think about Basic English's 850 words is according to their
essentialness. From the mass of English vocabulary, the all words that could be
removed were removed, and the remaining are these 850 words.
To reach these 850 words, Dr. Ogden had to think deeply and try for many years while
looking for solutions between various contradictions.
At this time one should pay particular attention to each word's ...
This part of the textbook is in Japanese and is being translated by Kevin Harris.
12, 13 ,
14, 15 ,
16, 17 ,
A Note About the Pictures . Mr. Siragedien and student Daria Luczak have made the pictures more clear. These are larger and take longer ot download, but may be seen by clicking on the pictures shown.
PART II . The Steps
1 . THE BODY
Other Words (in connection with the body) :
|right -- left
straight -- bent
blood , bone , brain , foot , hair , heart , lip , muscle , neck , nerve , skin , stomach ,
throat, toe , tooth ;
back (special use) , nail (expansion) , side(s) ;
1 . The BODY
This is my body.
This is my head. This is my face. I have a nose and
a chin. My mouth is between my nose and my chin.
I have a tongue in my mouth.
This part is the front. That part is the back. My chest is at the front.
This is the right side. The opposite side is the left side. The right arm is at the right side. The left arm is at the left side.
This is my right leg. This is my left leg. This is my knee.
This is a finger. That is a thumb. I have a thumb and fingers on my hand. This finger is bent. That finger is straight.
I put my right hand on my head. I take my right hand off my head.
I put my right thumb in my left hand. I put my right hand on my right eye.
I put my left hand on my left ear.
- Where is your head ?
- Where is your nose ?
- What is between your nose and your chin ?
- Where is your tongue ?
- Where is your right ear ?
- Where are your knees ?
- What have I on my hand ?
- What is the opposite of straight ?
- What are the parts of the body named here of which you have more than one ?
- Of which parts have you only one ?
Notes Hint : Change screens to come back to here -- do not link back from notes.
- (Answer to be given by pointing)
- (Answer to be given by pointing)
- My mouth.
- In my mouth.
- (Answer to be given by pointing). My right ear is at the right side.
- (Answer to be given by pointing)
- A thumb and fingers.
- Arm, leg, knee, finger, thumb, hand, eye, ear.
- Head, face, mouth, nose, chin, tongue, chest.
2 . FOOD
|sweet -- bitter
Other Words :
apple , berry , drink , egg , fish , fowl , fruit , jelly , milk , nut , paste , potato ,
rice , water , wine ;
roll (e) ;
bite , bottle , cook , cork , cup , poison , pot , tray , vessel .
Sample of book pages.
2 . FOOD
Some food is on the table. A meal is ready. I go from this seat to a seat at the table.
I have some soup in a basin. I take some bread with it. The bread is on a plate. I take my spoon in my hand and put the soup in my mouth.
I have some meat. I put salt on my meat. I have a knife and a fork. I put the meat in my mouth with the fork. I take butter on my knife and put it on my bread.
This is cake, and that is cheese. The cake is here and the cheese is there.
I may have some cake or some cheese. I may not have cake and cheese. I will have some cheese.
I will have an orange. I will take the skin off the orange. The skin of an orange is bitter. This orange is acid. I will put some sugar on it. The taste of sugar is sweet. The taste of salt is not bitter, or acid or sweet.
Cake is sweet. This cake is sweet and sticky.
- What do you have at a meal ?
- Where do you have it?
- What do you have in a basin ?
- How do you take your soup ?
- What do you do with a knife ?
- What do you put on your meat ?
- What do you do to an orange before you give it a bite ?
- What is the reason for doing this ?
- What foods named here have a sweet taste ?
- What other taste is named here ?
- At the table.
- I take my spoon in my hand and put the soup in my mouth.
- I take butter on my knife and put it on my bread.
- I take the skin off.
- The skin of an orange is bitter.
- Sugar and cake.
3 . WORK
Other Words ::
|- - - Things - - -
good --- bad
apparatus , business , industry , machine , manager , office , operation , process ,
secretary , servant , teaching , writing ;
building (e) , business (s)
3 . WORK
The learning of Basic English is a sort of work. I do it with my brain. I may do other sorts of work with my hands. I may take some cloth and make a coat.
Some cloth and my scissors are on the table. My scissors are sharp. The cloth is cut. I put a pin here and a pin there. I take a needle and a thread. I put the thread through the hole in the needle, and make a knot at the end of it. I put the sharp point of the needle against the cloth. I take it through with a push at one end and a pull at the other end, and I make a stitch.
I have not a good needle. This is a bad needle. It is bent. Good needles are straight.
I put a button on the coat. The coat is ready.
After work my body is tired, and I have some rest. Tired bodies will not do good work.
After my rest I will have some play.
- What work are you doing now ?
- What part of your body is used for this work ?
- What parts are used for making things ?
- What is one thing which you may do with a needle and thread ?
- How do you get the cloth cut ?
- What do you make at the end of the thread ?
- What three things named here have sharp points ?
- How do you take the needle through the cloth ?
- What do you do when your body is tired ?
- What will you do when you have had a rest ?
- (The work of) learning Basic English.
- My brain.
- My hands.
- I may make a coat.
- With scissors.
- A knot.
- Pins, needles, and scissors.
- With a push at one end and a pull at the other.
- I have some rest.
- I will have some play.
4 . THE WEATHER
Other Words :
|- - - Things - - -||Qualities
|warm -- cold
wet -- dry
heat , light , mist , moon , thunder ;
blow (e), breath (e), fall (e), spring (e) ;
dust , ray.
4 . THE WEATHER
The weather is warm in the summer, but in the winter it is cold.
Rain may come down from the sky in warm weather or in cold weather, but snow will come down only in the winter. Rain is wet. It is water from the sky.
Rain and snow do not come from a clear sky. A sky with a cloud in it is not a clear sky. Rain and snow come from clouds.
I go out in every sort of weather. In cold weather I put my coat on. In wet weather I get an umbrella and put it over my head. The rain may come down, but only my umbrella will be wet. My coat under it will be dry.
In the summer I do not put my umbrella up only in the rain. I may put it between my head and the sun and make a shade. Clouds may make a shade, and I may put my umbrella down.
In the winter I see the breath from my mouth in the air. The water in the hole at the side of the road my have a cover of ice on it. In very cold weather I go on the ice. I may have a fall, but I will not go through the ice. I take a mass of snow in my hands and make a ball.
In England a north wind or an east wind is a cold wind, but a south wind or a west wind may be warm. The very cold winds of winter are north and east winds. The warm winds of summer are south and west winds.
- When is the weather cold, and when is it warm?
- What may come from the sky in cold weather or in warm weather?
- What is it which comes only in cold weather?
- From what sort of sky do we not get rain and snow?
- What will keep you dry in the rain?
- What may you see in the air in very cold weather?
- What may be over the water in the hole at the side of the road in cold weather?
- What my you do with snow?
- In England what winds are very cold winds?
- What winds are warm winds?
- It is cold in the winter and warm in the summer.
- A clear sky.
- An umbrella.
- The breath from my mouth.
- A cover of ice.
- I may take a mass of snow i my hands and make a ball.
- North and east winds.
- South and west winds.
5 . THE FAMILY
Other Words (in connection with the body) :
|healthy -- ill
young -- old
authority, group, love, person, respect, sex, society.
5 . THE FAMILY
My father is a young man and my mother is a young woman.
Some fathers and mothers are not young. The father of my father is an old man.
Every father is a son and every mother is a daughter, but not every son is a father and not every daughter is a mother.
I have one sister and one brother. My brother is very young. He is still a baby, with only one tooth. Other teeth will come. Very young babies have not teeth. I am still a boy and my sister is still a girl. Before the birth of the baby boy, she was the baby of the family.
My brother is a healthy baby, but he was ill in the summer.
Some bodies got a pain in the stomach in warm weather.
The baby is ready for a meal. I will get some milk for my baby brother. My sister may not give food to the baby, but I may give it to the baby. I put my hand on the foot of the baby. It is warm. Healthy babies have warm feet. A kiss
and a smile make a baby ready for play.
The brothers and sisters of my mother and father are men and women. Some are married and have sons and daughters.
- What is a boy to his father and mother?
- What is he to his sisters and brothers?
- What is a girl to her father and mother?
- What is a girl to her brothers and sisters?
- Is the baby and boy or a girl?
- What do very young babies not have?
- What do some babies get in warm weather?
- What will the boy get for the baby?
- What will make a baby ready for play?
- What are the brothers and sisters of the father and mother?
- A son.
- A brother.
- A daughter.
- A sister.
- A boy.
- A pain in the stomach.
- Some milk.
- A kiss and a smile.
- Men and women.
Other Words :
high -- low
wide -- narrow
arch , board , brick , bridge , church , hospital , library , office , school ;
lift (e) , step (e) , wing (e) ;
design , frame , glass , key , lock , nail , paint , property , screw, steel ;
angle (e) .
6 . A BUILDING
My house is at the end of a street. Every building in the street is a house. Some houses in the street are high and some are low, some are of wood and some are of stone. All houses are buildings, but not all buildings are houses.
At the back of my house is a garden with a wall. the house is a low building of wood, with a door at the front and a door at the back. The front door is wide but the back door is narrow. Some houses have another door at one side. On the front door is a number. It is the number of the house. My house number is 1.
The window in my room is wide. Windows let light and air come into the rooms. Men and women go in and out through the doors.
The base of a house is the support for the walls, and the walls are the support for the roof. The roof is the cover of the house.
The houses on the opposite side of the street are not complete. Come across the street and we will see the work. the outside of this house is almost complete. The walls are quite complete, but the roof is not on the house. That structure at the front is not a part of the house. It is a stage for the support of workmen. They go up on it and do the work on the high parts of the building.
Do not go in. You may see the inside of the house through the windows. The walls and the floor of this room are complete, but the door is not there. These holes in the outside walls of the room are for windows, and those in the inside walls are for doors.
That pipe by the house is for a drain. Drains take water from a house, and other pipes take water to it. The drain pipes are wide, but the other pipes are narrow.
Some houses have no drains, but such house are not healthy.
- What is a street?
- How are the houses in the street different from one another?
- What is at the back of the house at the end of the street?
- Why do houses have windows?
- How do men and women go into the rooms?
- What are the walls of a house the support for, and what is the support for the walls?
- What is the structure at the front of the building?
- What is the lowest part of a room?
- What is the use of drains?
- How are pipes which take water to a house different from drain pipes?
- A road between houses or other buildings.
- Some are high and some are low ; some are wood and some are of stone.
- A garden with a wall.
- Windows let light and air come into the rooms.
- Through the doors.
- The walls are the support for the roof, and the base is the support for the walls.
- The stage for the support of the workmen.
- The floor.
- They take water from a house.
- They are narrow and drain pipes are wide.
Other Words :
|7 . FIRE|
bright -- dark
great -- small
coal , heat, light, steam ;
destruction , engine , insurance , oil , wood .
7 . FIRE
I have a place for a fire in my room. The fire-place in my room is small, but some of the rooms in the house have great fire-places. Pipes take the smoke from the fire-places up through a hole in the roof.
We make houses warm by the use of fires, and fire will do other work. If I have a wet coat and put it before a fire, the fire will get it dry. If I put water in a kettle and put the kettle on the fire, the water will get warm. And I may put food in a pot on the fire in an oven and make a warm meal. If I put paste in an oven, I may get a cake. But this is the work of a cook, and if I am not a good cook the cake will not have a very good taste. Warm cakes have a good smell.
In the winter my sister and I come in from play in the snow and get warm before the fire. We get near to the flame, but not very near. If we are far from it we do not get warm enough, but if we get very near we may get a burn Burns give much pain.
If the room is dark I put a stick on the fire. The flames come up, and make all part of the room bright with fire-light.
My mother and father do not let my sister, who is very young, put sticks on the fire or have a match. If very young boys and girls have matches, they may get a burn from the flame, or they may put it against a curtain or a cushion and the house will be in danger. IF you see fire on the curtain, go and get water in a bucket and put it on the flames,and the damage may not be great. Flames go from one thing to another. If you do not get a full bucket you may not have enough water.
- Were does the smoke from a fire in a house go ?
- How may you get your coat dry when it is wet ?
- How may you get water warm ?
- How do cooks make warm meals ?
- What sort of work is making a cake ?
- What may you get if you go very near a flame ?
- What makes the room bright ?
- How may young boys and girls put a house in danger if they have matches ?
- If a thing is in flames what do you put on it ?
- What do you get if the water in ?
- Up through a hole in the roof.
- I may put it before a fire.
- I may put it in a kettle on a fire.
- They put food in a pot on a fire or in the oven.
- The work of a cook.
- A burn
- The flames
- They may put the flame of a match against a curtain or a cushion
- A bucket