The moral of the above statement applies equally to that over-all peace organization for which the world is praying.
One of the chief problems of that organization is the subject of the following extract from an article in The Reader's Digest.
Original . Nothing makes more worldwide woe than the poisonous pride of race.39 It is the true taproot of the beastliness of Nazism40 and Nipponism.40 and it defies even democratic political institutions. In our own United States, where every political windbag41 talks himself into office by screaming about democracy,42 we have to give first place as a troublemaker to what whites call "the Negro problem." Negroes could with equal accuracy call it "the white problem."
All CIO unions43 are committed to a fight to the finish44 against race discrimination in CIO jobs. Two Negroes sit on CIO's executive board.45
The CIO thoroughly understands that Negroes, as they gain in education and skill, will either be members of unions or they will be called in by employers as strike-breakers46 to destroy unions. And in that fact lies the most solid reason for believing that equality of economic opportunity for Negroes will some day be a vital point in the social program47 of the whole American labor movement. When that day comes the Negro's economic problem will be half solved.
The other half of the solution lies in the hands of employers. Many employers have been extremely adventurous in production methods and sales methods but extremely timid in the field of social human relations. They were not employing Negroes. Why seek trouble by taking them on? It required the war and the acute shortage of manpower to persuade such employers to put Negroes on their payrolls.
Southerners have always recognized the strange, deep psychological insight of the Negro. They often speak of "that wise old Negro." And it is upon that patient "wisdom"48 of the mass of Negroes that I rely principally for a happy ending to the present occupational tension between the races. Almost all Negroes, for instance, have been 100 percent proof against the crafty German and Japanese radio propaganda regarding race oppression in the United States. And, indeed, why not?
There has been no large immigration of Negroes into the United States for mote than 100 years. The average Negro family has been here longer then the average white family. What the Negroes want from this country is not foreign deliverance but just more Americanism.
-- William Hard, "Whites and Blacks Can Work Together," The Reader's Digest, March, 1944.
Basic . There is no greater power for undermining peace on earth than the poisoning belief that one nation, color or religion39 is better than another. In it are the roots of the worst outgrowths of Nazism40 and Nipponism40 and even in political systems based on the theory that all men are equal it is hard to keep it down. In these United States where every political windbag41 gets into office by loud cries about equal rights,42 we have to give first place as a troublemaker to what the whites say is "the Negro question." From the Negro point of view it might equally well be named "the white question."
All CIO unions" have undertaken to see44 that the Negro is given the same rights as the white man where the work is under their control. There are two Negroes on the CIO's "executive board,45 that is, the group which makes decisions for the union and puts laws into operation.
To the CIO it is quite clear that Negroes, as their education and training are increased, will be in the unions or they will be used against them to take the place of workers when there has been a walk-out.46 And that fact is the most solid reason for the belief that equal rights for Negro workers will - some day be a very important point in the program47" of all the workers' organizations in America. When that day comes the question of the Negro's right to make a living will be half answered.
Business managers have the other half of the answer in their hands. Numbers of these have not been slow to take up new ideas in producing and pushing their goods but they have not been so forward-looking on the question of man's relation to man in society. They were not giving work to Negroes. What would be the use of looking for trouble by taking them on? There had to be a war, and the sharp need for manpower, to make this group give work to Negroes.
The Negro's deep strange knowledge based on his feelings has never been overlooked by the whites in the South. They frequently say "that wise old Negro." And it is chiefly to the Negro's wise and quiet sense of values48 that I am looking for a happy ending to the present trouble in. industry between white and black workers. Almost all Negroes, for example, have been completely untouched by the tricks of German and Japanese radio propaganda on the color question in the United States. And why wouldn't it be so?
The number of Negroes who have come into the United States in the past 100 years is very small. The representative Negro family has been here longer than most white families. The Negroes are not turning to other countries for help but to this country for more Americanism. -- Basic English version.
Original . Elizabeth and I beard the sound of hammering before we saw the house. Carpenters were busy on the roof, which shone with the raw gold color of new lumber above the foaming pink-and-white of a neglected orchard in prodigal bloom. A man and a woman were sitting on a pile of boards beneath an apple tree. When our car turned in, the woman came to meet us, tall and gaunt in tweed skirt and sweater.
Elizabeth's mother had begged us to call on the Andrews. "They'll be so lonely, moving to a new place way out in the country, though Mrs. Andrews told me they had bought the farm to get away." Elizabeth's mother was always rather vague. "It will be good for them to see a friendly face, although of course he's blind.49 Yes, it's very sad; he's been that way since he was a child. She met him in England when she took that trip abroad 15 years ago. So fortunate for her, because nobody ever thought she would marry. She's a fine person, but so plain."
Plain was exactly the word for Nancy Andrews. Ugly women often have a certain smartness and fascination, but she was just uninterestingly plain, with a broad, square face, pale eyes, and thin, straight hair of no especial color. She was also lacking in poise. Her fingers twisted the buttons of her sweater as she talked with us, and her smile was obviously nervous.
"Why, of course," she said when Elizabeth had introduced herself. "You're Betsy Flint's daughter. Come and meet Andy."
I can tell you of the changes that took place in her the moment she stood beside the blind man; for instance, that her voice was no longer flat when she spoke our names to him, but low and rich and full. I can tell you that she described us to him carefully -- not only what we wore and the color of our eyes and hair, but the manner of people we seemed to be -- with no trace of embarrassment. I can tell you that her hands were firm and steady on his arm, and that her smile was gentle and sweet. But I can't make you feel, as we felt, that she became a different woman altogether -- a calm, strong woman who made us all immediately at home. -- Louise Dickinson Rich, "Drama in Everyday Life,?' The Reader's Digest, March, 1944.
Basic . The sound of hammering came to Elizabeth and me before we saw the house. Then the roof came in view, with men at work on its new yellow wood which was bright against the mass of light red and white flowers on the bent old fruit trees in front of it. A man and woman were seated on some boards under one of the apple trees. When our automobile made the turn, the woman got to her feet and came forward, tall and thin in a wool skirt and pullover.
Elizabeth's mother had made a special request that we go to see the Andrews. "They'll be so ready for company, moving to a new place right out in the country, though Mrs. Andrews did say that they had taken the farm to get away." Elizabeth's mother never made what she said quite clear. "It will be good for them to see a friend's face, though he of course is blind49 [unable to see]. Yes, it's very sad. He had the use of his eyes as a little boy, but never after. Their first meeting was in England when she made that journey to Europe 15 years back. Such a happy chance for her, because nobody ever had any idea that she would get married. She has very good qualities but she has no looks."
No looks was the right way of putting it for Nancy Andrews. Women who arc far from beautiful frequently make a point of dressing well and have a certain attraction, but she was simply unpleasing to the eye, uninterestingly so, with a wide square face, light eyes, and thin, straight hair of no special color. Her behavior was uncontrolled as well. Her fingers were twisting at the buttons of her dress while she was talking with us, and her smile was uncertain.
"Why, yea" he said when Elizabeth had given her name. "You're Betsy Flint's daughter. Here is Andy."
Let me give you an idea of the changes which took place in her the minute she was by the blind man's side. Her voice, for example, was no longer flat when she said-our names to him, but low and warm and full. Then, she gave him a detailed picture of us -- not only how we were dressed, and the color of our eyes and hair, but what we were like in other ways and what our tastes and interests seemed to be -- without being at all self-conscious. Let me give you this new picture of her -- hands strong and quiet on his arm, smile kind and sweet. These details I am able to give you, but it is impossible to give you the feeling which came over us, the feeling that she became a different woman, completely -- a strong self-controlled woman who put all our minds at rest, and gave us a comforting sense of well-being. -- Basic version, The Seeing Heart.
Scenes from Arms and the Man lend themselves well to classroom work for foreign learners of English. It is interesting therefore to note how often Shaw's text is in or almost in Basic.
RAINA (getting angrier ) : Do you realize what he has done, Captain Bluntschli? He has set this girl as a spy on us; and her reward is that he makes love to her.
SERGIUS : False! Monstrous!
RAINA : Monstrous! (confronting him ) Do you deny that she told you about Captain Bluntschli being in my room?
SERGIUS : No; but--
RAINA (interrupting ) : Do you deny that you were making love to her when she told you?
SERGIUS : No; but I tell you--
RAINA (cutting him short contemptuously ) : It is unnecessary to tell us anything more. That is quite enough for us. (She turns her back on him and sweeps majestically back to the window.)
BLUNTSCHLI (quietly, as Sergius, in an agony of mortification, sinks on the ottoman, clutching his averted head between his fists ) : I told you you were getting the worst of it, Saranoff.
SERGIUS : Tiger cat!
RAINA (running excitedly to Bluntschli ) : You hear this man calling me names, Captain Bluntschli?
BLUNTSCHLI : What else can be do, dear lady? He must defend himself somehow. Come (very persuasively ), don't quarrel. What good does it do?
-- Bernard Shaw, Arms and the Man.
RAINA (getting angrier ) : Do you see what he has done, Captain Bluntschli? She has put this girl to keep a secret watch on us; and her reward is that he makes love to her.
SERGIUS : False! A shocking suggestion!
RAINA : Shocking! (going up to him ) Will you give your word that it was not she who said that Captain Bluntschli was in my room?
SERGIUS : No; but--
RAINA (stopping him ) : Will you give your word that you were not making love to her when she made the statement?
SERGIUS : No; but I say--
RAINA (cutting him short, with an angry shake of the head ) : It is unnecessary to say anything more to us. This is quite enough for us. (Turning away from him, she goes sailing50 back to the window.)
BLUNTSCHLI (quietly, as Sergius, in deepest shame, slowly takes up his position on the long seat, turned away from them, gripping his head between his shut hands ) : I said you were getting the worst of it, Saranoff.
SERGIUS : Cat!
RAINA (running to Bluntschli, very worked up ) : You see, Captain Bluntschli? This man is using bad names to me.
BLUNTSCHLI : What is more natural, dear madam? He has to do something to keep his self-respect. Come (very kindly ), don't be angry with one another. What good does it do?
-- Bernard Shaw, Arms and the Man put into Basic English by L. W. Lockhart. London, Evans Brothers, Ltd.
MONSIEUR J0URDAIN : Non, non, point de vera.
MAITRE DE PHILOSOPHIE : Vous ne voulez que de la prose? 51
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN : Non, je ne veux ni prose ni vera.
MAITRE DE PHILOSOPHIE: Il faut bien que ce soit l'un, ou l'autre.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN : Pourquoi?
MAITRE DE PHILOSOPHIE: Par la raison, Monsieur, qu'il n'y a pour s'exprimer que la prose, on les vera.
MONSIEUR J0URDAIN : Il n'y a que la prose on les vers?
MAITRE DE PHILOSOPHIE: Non, Monsieur: tout ce qui n'est point prose est vers; et tout ce qui n'est point vers eat prose.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Et comme l'on parle qu'est-ce que c'est donc que cela?
MAITRE DE PHILOSOPHIE: De la prose.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Quoi? Quand je dis: "Nicole, apportez-moi mes pantoufles, et me donnez mon bonnet de nuit," c'est de la prose?
MAITRE DE PHILOSOPHIE: Oui, Monsieur.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Par ma foi! il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la prose sans que j'en susse rien!
-- Théâtre de Moliere, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Bibliotheca Romanica, 249/250, p. 22.
MR. JORDAN : No, no, not in verse!
PHILOSOPHER : You aren't going to send her prose? 51
MR. JORDAN : No. I won't send her either prose or verse!
PHILOSOPHER : But it has to be one or the other!
MR. JORDAN : Why?
PHILOSOPHER : Because, sir, there is only prose or verse as a way of saying anything.
MR JORDAN : There is only prose or verse?
PHILOSOPHER : That's right. All is prose that is not verse. And all is verse that is not prose.
MR. JORDAN : But everyday talk, what's that?
PHILOSOPHER : Prose.
MR. JORDAN : What! And when I say, "Nicky, get my house-shoes and 'night-cap'!" is that prose?
PHILOSOPHER : Yes, sir.
MR. JORDAN : My word! For over forty years I've been talking prose, without giving it a thought!
-- Moliere, The Would-Be Gentleman 52 put into Basic English by Charles W. Cooper and Wesley L Lewis, Whittier College, 1941, p. 25.
Original . A grave white haired seneschal came to their table, and inquired courteously whether Gerard Eliassoen was of their company. Upon Gerard's answer, he said :
"The Princess Marie would confer with you, young sir; I am to conduct you to her presence.
Instantly all faces within hearing turned sharp round, and were bent with curiosity and envy on the man that was to go to a princess.
Gerard rose to obey.
"I wager we shall not see you again," said Margaret calmly, but colouring a little.
"That will you," was the reply: then he whispered in her ear: "This is my good princess but you are my queen." He added aloud : "Wait for me, I pray you, I will presently return.
. . . . .
"I fear I shall go mad if they do not come soon."
"Shall I feign sleep? Shall I snore?"
"Do then, and God have mercy on us!"
Denys snored at intervals.
There was a scuffling of feet heard in the kitchen, and then all was still.
Denys snored again. Then took up his position behind the door.
But he, or they, who bad drawn the lot, seemed determined to run no foolish risks. Nothing was attempted in a hurry.
When they were almost starved with cold, and waiting for the attack, the door on' the stairs opened softly and closed again. Nothing more.
There was another harrowing silence.
Then a single light footstep on the stair; and nothing more.
Then a light crept under the door; and nothing more.
Presently there was a gentle scratching, not half so loud as a mouse's, and the false doorpost opened by degrees and left a perpendicular space through which the light streamed in. The door, had it been bolted, would now have hung by the bare tip of the bolt, which went into the real door-post, but, as it was, it swung gently open of itself. It opened inwards, so Denys did not raise his crossbow53 from the ground, but merely grasped his dagger.
The candle was held up, and shaded from behind, by a man's hand.
He was inspecting the beds from the threshold, satisfied that his victims were both in bed.
The man glided into the apartment. But at the first step something in the position of the cupboard54 and chair made him uneasy. He ventured no further, but put the candle on the floor and stooped to peer under the chair; but, as he stooped, an iron hand grasped his shoulder, and a dagger was driven so fiercely through his neck that the point came out at his gullet. There was a terrible hiccough,55 but no cry; and half a dozen silent strokes followed in swift succession, each a death-blow, and the assassin was laid noiselessly on the floor. -- Charles Reade, The Cloister and the Hearth, Modern Library, 1937.
Basic . Suddenly a voice came to them, and
they saw a man, serious-faced, white-haired.
He had come to see if a young man named
Gerard Eliassoen was of their company. At
Gerard's answer, he said :
"The Princess Marie has a desire to see you, young sir. I am to take you to her."
At that, all faces within hearing distance were turned sharply round and were bent with green and questioning eyes on the man who was to go to a princess.
Gerard got up to go with his guide.
"Ten to one we won't see you again," said Margaret quietly, but coloring a little.
"Oh yes you will," was the answer -- then he said into her ear: "This is my good princess; but you are my queen." Then, loud again, he said: "Please don't go away. Be here when I come back, as I will before long."
. . . . .
"I will go out of my mind if they do not come quickly."
"How if I seem to be sleeping and make a noise through my nose?"
"Then do, and the Father above give us help."
From time to time Denys made noises as of a man in deep sleep.
There was sound of feet moving in the lower room and then all was quiet.
Denys made the noise again. Then took up his position at the back of the door. But he, or they, who had to come up, seemed to have little taste for unnecessary danger. Nothing was attempted till it was time.
When Denys and Gerard were almost unconscious with the cold, waiting for the attack, the door on the steps came quietly open and then was shut again. Nothing more.
No other sound.
Then one soft sound of a foot on the steps; and nothing more.
Then a light came under the door; and nothing more.
After a time there was a very little sound, and the false door support came open bit by bit, letting light through a long narrow space. The door, had it been pinned, would now have been kept shut only by the end of the pin resting in the true support, but as it was it came slowly open by itself. It came open into the room, so Denys took up his sharp pointed knife from the floor.
The wax light was lifted up and shaded by a man's hand. A man was looking over at the bed, certain that the two of them were in it.
The man came into the room without a sound. But he got no more than a step or two before something in the position of the cupboard54 and seat made him troubled. He went no farther, but put the wax light on the floor and took a look under the seat; but as his head went down an iron hand took a grip of the top of his arm and a blade was sent so violently through his neck that the point came out at his throat. There was a shocking hiccup55 but no cry; and six more quick blows made certain of him. Down he went on the floor without a sound.
-- Basic English radio version.
Original . "One, two, tree, four, fibe -- I done pass fibe big limb, massa,56 'pon dis side."
"Then go one limb higher."
In a few minutes the voice was heard again, announcing that the seventh limb was attained.
"Now, Jup," cried Legrand, evidently much excited, "I want you to work your way out upon .that limb as far as you can. If you see anything strange let me know."
By this time what little doubt I might have entertained of my poor friend's insanity57 was put finally at rest. I had no alternative but to conclude him stricken with lunacy, and I became seriously anxious about getting him home. While I was pondering upon what was best to be done, Jupiter's voice was again heard.
"Mos58 feered for to ventur pon dis limb berry far -- 'tis dead limb putty much oall de way.
"Did you say it was a dead limb, Jupiter?" cried Legrand in a quavering voice.
"Yes, massa, him dead as de door-nail-done up for sartin-done departed dis here life."
"What in the name of heaven shall I do?" asked Legrand, seemingly in the greatest distress.
"Do?" said I, glad of an opportunity to interpose a word, "why come home and go to bed. Come now!-that's a fine fellow. It's getting late, and, besides, you remember your promise." --Edgar Allan Poe. The Gold Bug and Other Stories, World Syndicate Publishing Company, pp. 120-121.
Basic . "One, two, three, four, five -- I've gone past five thick branches, Master56 Will, this side."
"Then go one branch higher. -
In a short time the voice came again, saying that he had got to the seventh branch.
"Now, Jupiter," said Legrand, worked up by this time, "you're to get out on that branch slowly, as far as possible. If you see anything strange, say so."
By this time, I no longer had the smallest doubt that my poor friend was off his head.57 It was quite clear that he was completely unbalanced, and I became seriously troubled about getting him back to his house. While I was turning over in my mind what to do, Jupiter's voice came to our ears again.
"'Tisn't58 safe to go very far out on this branch -- it's dead almost all the way."
"Did you say it was a dead branch, Jupiter?" said Legrand in a shaking voice.
"Yes, Master Will, he's dead as a door-naiL That's certain -- it's dead and gone."
"What ever am I going to do now?" said Legrand, greatly troubled.
"Do?" I said, happy to be able to get a word in, "why, come back and go to bed. Come on, my dear boy. It's getting late, and you gave me your word."
-- Edgar Allan Poe, The Gold Insect in Basic English, Psyche Miniatures, pp. 38 - 39.
Original . But, however scantily the Baron von Landshort might be provided wish children, his household was by no means a small one; for Providence had enriched him with
an abundance of poor relations. They, one and all, possessed the affectionate disposition common to humble relatives; were wonderfully attached to the baron, and took every possible occasion to come in swarms and enliven the castle. All family festivals were commemorated by these good people at the baron's expense; and when they were filled with good cheer, they would declare that there was nothing on earth so delightful as these family meetings, these jubilees of the heart.
"I am sorry," said the stranger, "to break in upon you thus unseasonably--"
Here the baron interrupted him with a world of compliments and greetings; for, to tell the truth, he prided himself upon his courtesy and eloquence. The stranger attempted, once or twice, to stem the torrent of words, but in vain, so he bowed his head and suffered it to flow on. By the time the baron had come to a pause, they had reached the inner court of the castle; and the stranger was again about to speak, when he was once more interrupted by the appearance of the female part of the family, leading forth the shrinking and blushing bride. He gazed on her for a moment as one entranced; it seemed as if his whole soul beamed forth in the gaze, and rested upon that lovely form. One of the maiden aunts whispered something in her ear; she made an effort to speak; her moist blue eye was timidly raised; gave a shy glance of inquiry on the stranger; and was cast down again to the ground. The words died away; but there was a sweet smile playing about her lips, and a soft dimpling of the cheek that showed her glance had not been unsatisfactory. It was impossible for a girl of the fond age of eighteen, highly predisposed for love and matrimony, not to be pleased with so gallant a cavalier. -- The Spectre Bridegroom, from Works of Washington Irving Stratford Edition, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1882, pp. 218, 226.
Basic . But though the baron had only one daughter, his family was not a small one, because chance had given him a great number of poor relations. Their natural impulses were
Loving, as is common with poor relations, and having a great love for the baron, they took, every possible chance to come in great numbers, and to make the house bright and happy. These good persons kept all the birthdays and other family events, with the help of the baron's money; and when they were full of good food, they would say that nothing on earth gave them so much pleasure as these family meetings, when all their happy hearts were united.
"I am pained," said the young man, "to have come among you at such a time --"
Here the baron put an end to his words by saying a number of kind things, and truly, he had at all times a very high opinion of himself for his kind behavior and his moving language. The newcomer made an attempt, once or twice, to say something, but it was no use; so with bent head, he let the baron go on. By the tune the baron had done his talking, they had come to the inside of the house; and again the newcomer was going to say something, when he was stopped by seeing the women of the family coming in with the young girl. There was a bright color in her face, and she was slow to come forward. He gave her a long look, as if he were seeing her in his sleep; it seemed as if all his heart went out to her while his eyes were resting upon that beautiful form. One of her father's sisters said something softly in her ears. She made an attempt to get some words out, and lifting her bright blue eyes, she took a quick, self-conscious look at him before turning them down again to the floor. The words came to an end, there was a sweet smile upon her lips, which made it clear that she was pleased with what she had seen. It was natural for a young girl of eighteen, ready for love and desiring to get married, to be pleased with a person so strong and so good-looking.
-- "The Shade of the Dead Love," in Hawthorne, Irving, and Poe, The Three Signs, London, Kegan Paul, 1935, pp. 28, 38.
Original . There had been few changes in the village; for it was not one of those thriving places where, a year's prosperity makes more than the havoc of a century's decay; but like a grey hair in a young man's head, an antiquated59 little town, full of old maids and aged elms and moss-grown dwellings. Few seemed to be the changes here..,. Yet, summing up all the mischief that ten years had wrought, it seemed scarcely more than if Ralph Cranfield had gone forth that very morning, and dreamed a day-dream till the twilight, and then turned back again. But his heart grew cold, because the village did not remember him as he remembered the village.
"Here is the change!" sighed he, striking his hand upon his heart. "Who is this man of thought and care, weary with world-wandering, and heavy with disappointed hopes? The youth returns not, who went forth so joyously!"
And now Ralph Cranfield was at his mother's gate (in front of the small house where the old lady, with slender but sufficient means, had kept herself comfortable during her son's long absence). Admitting himself within the enclosure, he leaned against a great old tree, trifling with his own impatience, as people often do in those intervals when years are summed into a moment. He took a minute survey of the dwelling, its windows, brightened with the sky-gleam, its doorway, with the half of a millstone for a step, and the faintly traced path waving thence to the gate. He made friends again with his childhood friends, the old tree against which he leaned; and glancing his eye adown its trunk, beheld something that excited a melancholy smile. It was a half-obliterated inscription -- the Latin word effode -- which he remembered to have carved in the bark of the tree, with a whole day's toil, when he had first begun to muse about his exalted destiny. It might be accounted a rather singular coincidence, that the bark, just above that inscription, tad put forth an excrescence, shaped not unlike a band, with the forefinger pointing obliquely at the word of fate. Such, at least, was its appearance in the dusky light. -- "The Threefold Destiny," from Twice Told Tales, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Chicago, Scott, Foresman and Company, 1904, pp. 534-535.
Basic . Little was changed in the town: it was not one of those places where a year's good business makes more mark than a hundred years of slow wasting away; but a quiet59 little town, full of old unmarried women, and old twisted trees, and old roofs touched with green. Putting together all the changes tea years had made, it seemed little more than if Ralph Cranfield had gone away that same morning, had been sleeping till night-fall, and was now turning back again. But his heart was cold; because the town seemed to have kept no memory of him as he had of the town.
"The change is here! he said sadly, his hand on his heart. "Who is this man of thought and care, tired with journeying over the earth, and weighted with broken hopes? The young man comes not back again who went away so happily!"
And now Ralph Cranfield was at his mother's door. Letting himself into the garden, he came to a stop under a great tree, playing with his desire to go into the house as one does at those times when the years seem minutes. He took a long look at the house, its windows bright with the light of the sky, its doorway and the stone step, and the uncertain line of the footway curving from the door to the street. The tree against which he was resting was an old friend, and looking, at it, his eye was taken by something which made a sad smile come to his lips. It was a half rubbed-out Latin word -- effode -- the cutting of which had been a full day's work when as a boy he was starting to give thought to his great future. It might be looked on as a somewhat strange fact that, over the word, the tree had put out a growth formed not unlike a hand with the first finger pointing down. Or so at least it seemed in the half light.
-- "The Three Signs," in Hawthorne, Irving, and Poe, The Three Signs, London, Kegan Paul, 1935, pp. 13-14.
Original . The Committee of Ministers on
Basic English, after hearing a considerable volume of evidence, have submitted a Report which has been approved in principle by His Majesty's Government. The Committee, in their reports distinguish between the use of a system such 'as Basic English as an auxiliary international language, and as a method for the teaching of ordinary English. In this latter field, several very promising methods, other than Basic, have been developed in recent years, which make use of progressively increasing vocabularies based on analysis of tile words most frequeut1y used in conversational and literary English. In foreign countries, the method used in the teaching of English will naturally be a matter for the decision of the Departments of Education of those countries, and, where teaching is conducted in British Institutes, it will be a matter for the free decision of those who direct the teaching of English whether they employ any of these methods or the Basic method. There is no reason why His Majesty's Government should support one method rather than another. So far, however, as concerns the use of Basic English as an auxiliary international language, His Majesty's Government are impressed with the great advantages which would ensue from its development not in substitution for established literary languages, but as a supplement thereto. The usefulness of such an auxiliary language will, of course, be greatly increased by its progressive diffusion.
His Majesty's Government have, therefore, decided on the following steps to develop Basic English as an auxiliary international and administrative language : --
(1) The British Council will include among its activities the teaching of Basic English, so far as may be practicable, in any area where there may be a demand for instruction in Basic for its specific purpose as an auxiliary medium of international communication. This will be in addition to, and not in substitution for, the Council's more general activities in promoting the teaching of English for its own sake.
(2) Diplomatic and commercial representatives in foreign countries will be asked to do all they can to encourage the spread of Bask English as an auxiliary language.
(3) It is also intended to arrange for the translation into Basic English of a wider range than is at present available of literature -- scientific, technical and general -- both from ordinary English and from foreign languages and also to increase the supply of manuals of instruction in Basic English.
(4) Some Colonial Governments will be invited to experiment by the issue in Basic English of handbooks for colonial peoples on agriculture, hygiene, etc., and by the use of this simplified language as the medium for some administrative instructions issued by the Government.
(5) The British Broadcasting Corporation has been asked to consider a recommendation to include the use and teaching of Basic English in appropriate overseas programs. The Corporation has already expressed its willingness to make experiments on these lines within the limits imposed by special wartime responsibilities and conditions. It is recognized that such developments as may be practicable must proceed in parallel with the steps to be taken by other agencies.
It will be seen that several Departments are concerned in these measures. It has been decided, however, that primary responsibility for questions affecting Basic English, and for giving effect to the recommendations of the Committee-of Ministers, should rest with the Foreign Office, through the British Council. The British Council will, of course, keep in close contact with the Foreign Office and with the other Departments concerned, and an inter-Departmental committee has been established for this purpose, under a chairman who will be nominated by the British Council. -- Prime Minister's Statement on Basic English, March 9, 1944.
Basic . The Committee of Ministers on Basic English, after hearing the views of a great number of experts, have made a statement on the question which has been given general approval by His Majesty's Government. It is pointed out by the committee in their statement that the use of a system such as Basic English as an international second language is something quite separate from its use for the teaching of normal English. In this second field, two or three other systems which give signs of working very well have been produced in the last five or ten years. These make use of selections of words, increasing by stages, which are based on observation of the words most frequently used in talking and writing English. In other countries, the system used in the teaching of English will naturally be a question for the decision of the Education Offices in those countries, and where teaching is given in British Institutes, those in control of the teaching of English will be free to make use of any of these systems or of the Basic system. There is no reason for His Majesty's Government to give more support to one system than to another.
So far, however, as Basic English is offered as an international second language, His Majesty's Government take the view that much good would come from its development not in place of languages rooted in history and used by great writers, but as an addition to them. The value of such a second language will naturally be increased if it is more and more widely used.
For this reason His Majesty's Government have come to the decision to take these steps for the development of Basic English as a language for international use and for purposes of government : --
(1) The British Council, in addition to its other work, will undertake the teaching of Basic English, so far as may' be possible, in any place where there may be a desire for a knowledge of Basic for its special purpose as a second language for international use. This will be in addition to, and not in place of, the Council's more general work of helping forward the teaching of English as an end in itself.
(2) Foreign Office and trade representatives in other countries will be requested to do everything possible to get Basic English more widely used as a second language.
(3) In addition, our purpose is to have a. wider range of books on science, on special arts and processes, and on general questions put into Basic English from normal English and from other languages, at the same time increasing the number of handbooks for teaching Basic English.
(4) The suggestion will be made to the Governments of some of our Colonies that they take part in the testing of Basic by getting out handbooks in Basic English on farming, on how to keep healthy, and so on for their Colonies, and by using this simple language for some of their orders in connection with government business.
(5) The British Broadcasting Corporation has been requested to give its attention to a suggestion for the teaching and use of Basic English in overseas programs where this might be of value. The Corporation has said that it is ready to put the system to the test on these lines inside the limits made necessary by wartime undertakings and conditions. It is clear that such developments as may be possible will have to go forward parallel with the steps taken by other bodies.
It will be seen that more than one Government Office will have a part in the program outlined. The decision has been made, however, that the Foreign Office, through the British Council, will be chiefly responsible for questions to do with Basic English and for giving effect to the suggestions of the Committee of Ministers. The British Council will naturally keep in touch all the time with the Foreign Office and with the other Government Offices which are interested. For this purpose, a Committee made up of representatives of these Offices has been formed and its head will be a person named by the British Council
-- Prime Minister's Statement on Basic English, March 9, 1944.