As the English edition can only be used with an English-speaking teacher, it is assumed that he will instruct students in the correct pronunciation of the words, and for this reason no phonetic transcription is given. A few
reminders are given in the text about small pronunciation points to which attention should be directed. For the teacher's own reference, if necessary. the pronunciation of all the words may be found in either The Basic Words or The General Basic English Dictionary, both of which are key books for any serious student of the Basic system. The translations of the course will contain a complete guide to pronunciation.
It should be borne in mind that, from the learner's point of view, the way words are said when they are put together in sentences is no less important than their individual pronunciation. This is a subject with which phoneticians have dealt at great length, but their treatment of it is so complex that it is of little use, and is indeed only confusing, to those whose problem is to teach foreigners to speak clear and intelligible English without worrying about unnecessary subtleties.
Basic has evolved a very simple prescription which gives the required approximation to natural spoken English. It is contained in three golden rules:
1 . In any group of 10 words, or in any sentence of less than 50 words, at least one word should be stressed. The sense will determine on which word the stress should fail, since a word that is stressed is thereby thrown into contrast with some other word, either expressed or implied.
2 . There are 12 small words that are never fully pronounced (i.e., as dictionary items) except when they come at the end of a sentence or are given contrastive sense-stress. These are : a, the, and, of, for, from, to, than, is, some (as adjective), have (as auxiliary), and that (as conjunction). These words are normally slurred and glide into the word which follows them. They are therefore referred to as gliders.
3 . Learn to speak English at the right speed. English is normally. spoken fast, and speeding up produces a more natural effect.
If attention is paid to these three rules, and to these only, the learner will find that he is speaking English in a way that does not give offense to English ears and is understood by all. A fuller account of the technique here briefly outlined will be found in a pamphlet on Word Stress and Sentence Stress, published as a Supplement to the "Basic News."
Geographical Names The two maps inside the front and back covers give the English names of most of the European countries, of a few countries outside Europe, and of the main geographical areas. Names which are habitually used by English people have been chosen in preference to those which have been Introduced more recently and so may be assumed to be international, even though these English names no longer accurately represent the national units. No political attitude whatsoever is implied in, for example, the designation of Eire and Ulster as Ireland, of India and Pakistan as India, and of the U.S.S.R. as Russia, or by the omission of the new state of Israel.
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