"A conviction that English is better-suited than any artificial language to be the international link, and recognition of the difficulties of standard English and of the inadequacy of 'pidgin English' have called into being a group of scholars who have been applying the principles formulated during the scientific and philosophic investigation of speech and language to the elaboration of a kind of English, that without involving any departure from the purity of 'Standard English' will be considerably more simple. It is claimed by the Cambridge scholar, Mr. C. K. Ogden, and his collaborators that a modified form of English can be produced with a simplified vocabulary and grammar, capable of being learned by an intelligent adult or adolescent in a couple of months and well-suited to become the universal "auxiliary language" of the whole world. For such a simplified form no cultural or literary value is claimed. But it is put forward as a common basis for international traffic in commerce and science as well as for the ordinary intercourse of everyday life. They claim that the effect of this adapted language is that of idiomatic English, with no literary pretensions, but clear and precise on the level for which it is designed. In order to test these claims they have translated various passages of modern 'standard' English into what they have decided to call 'Basic English'. The effect of these passages is certainly impressive.
With the theoretic background of these proposals we are not concerned. But the principles on which the simplified vocabulary has been produced are interesting and deserve a brief summary: --
All modern teaching of foreign languages is based on graduation of exercises in composition and reading. This graduation, so far as it is concerned with choice of words, depends on the analysis of the vocabulary actually required for practical purposes at various stages in the acquisition of a language. An attempt is made at each stage to concentrate on essential words and to eliminate the non-essential. The fundamental difference between the exponents of 'Basic English' and the compilers of reading books in accordance with 'word frequency lists' is that the latter gradually extend the vocabulary of the used in their selected extracts and exercises until something approaching the vocabulary of the normal user of Standard English is reached. The champions of 'Basic English' deny the need for any such extension of vocabularies and claim that those who are learning English purely for practical purposes, and not for literary or cultural reasons, need never proceed beyond their 'basic' vocabulary of 850 words and may aim at acquiring this vocabulary from the start."