THE BASIC WORD WHEEL
The Word Wheel is an apparatus for putting words in the right order automatically. It is named the "Panopticon" because all the necessary units are seen together.
In its simplest form it is made of cardboard and is the same size as a small phonograph record. There are seven wheels or circles on top of the other,
and on the edges of these circles words are printed, so that when these circles are turned in the right way, the words make sense on a line reading from left to right from the middle of the circle.
First get these words fixed in that position:
--> WILL GIVE SIMPLE RULE(s) TO BOY SLOWLY.
Then you have everything as in the picture ---
The button in the middle takes the place of the word by which any statement
is started. By putting in "a" or "the", where necessary, making the addition of 's' (as in 'rules') for more than one, and letting the button be the word "I", you get:
"I will give simple rules to the boy slowly."
When fixed in this way, the wheel is giving you 10 complete statements (one for every simple act):
"I put good food on the table"
--- and so on; the last being "I go up." Clearly, only one of these is on the natural reading-line which is marked by the pointer when the wheel is in this position.
"I take brown sand from the farm here"
Only these ten groups of words have been put into lines with a purpose; others (such as "copy against horse") may be in a line with one another in this position, but they are all there as separate words with no necessary connection between them.
- The first circle has on it will (would) and may (might) see page 53).
- has the ten chief names of acts. "Do' and 'be' are not there, because this little apparatus is designed only for the operations in their simplest form.
- has a selection of name of qualities (twelve).
- has a selection of name of things (twenty) which are being moved or acted on.
- has the names directions (twenty) in which they may be moved.
- has the names of the things they are put on, taken from, and so on (another selection of twenty).
- has four 'adverbs' by which statements may be ended, and six words by which they may be made to go on to some new statement.
Now keep everything fixed but the first circle. Then, by turning this first circle, you will be able to make statements on the reading-line starting: "I will give ---" or "I would give ---" or "I may give ---" or "I might give ---" (simple rules to the boy slowly); or again, on other lines: "I will (would, may, might) put good food on the table"; and so on.
In the same way, by moving everything but the first and second circles, you would get "I will put brown sand," "I will put warm wax", "I will put (a) new pot by the fire", "I will put good food on (the) table," and so on. Whenever any circle is turned and whichever circles are kept fixed, you get changes in the word groups for testing purposes; but, naturally, they will not all make good sense even if the words are in the right order by the rules (pages 47 and 65). It is quite as important to be certain why any statement is wrong, or does not make good sense, as to have a working knowledge of what is right.
If the statement is started with some other word than 'I', such as 'servant', so that we get "(The servant put(s) good food on (the) table", 'put' will be changed to 'puts', but "Servant(s) put good food on the table" will be right as it is. You will see that no statement is complete without some word (taking the place of the button) before the first and second circles.
After come and go you have two spaces. We come and go in different directions. We do not 'come food' or 'go food', because coming and going are moving the body, so that we take a jump to the name of the direction in which the body is moved (through glass, or up the list). It is possible to get a space after any word by turning the circle till there is no word on the reading-line at the point in question. So we may make statements like "I put (the) book here", or "The go now." If we say "I will put the book on the table, if, " the statement may be made complete by starting again at the button, ad going on with words such as "(if) I have a clean copy in the house now."
Make a note that "I will get down the wall", has a different sense from "I will get the wall down", when you are working with the names of acts and the names of directions; and give special attention to the ways in which the words on circles 2 and 5 may be moved into a line with one another to make 'verbs' (as on pages 57-59). The Word Wheel is of great value in learning this sort of trick; and another suggestion is to see how much sense you get from a line such as "might take strange key through glass slowly", which may come out, if the wheel is stopped at some chance point while it is turning. Words like these may seem at first to be no use whatever; but "I might take the strange key through the glass slowly" is quite a possible statement for a story like "Alice through the Looking-glass." Playing about with the apparatus in this way till you are certain of everything it will do, is one way of getting a better knowledge of the uses of the words, and of becoming more expert in all the little details of their sense and order.
Till the addition of 'a' and 'the' before the names of things comes naturally to the learner, it is important to be clear when and why the five words food, sand, gold, wax and oil, in circle 4, are normally used without 'a' or 'the', and
in what sense thy are used with them. In circle 6 for the two other words (paper and glass) which are names of materials or substances. If we say 'a paper' or 'a glass', we are making a special use of the words (as given in The Basic Words); and though, in a different sense, we may say 'a food', or 'a gold', or 'a sand', or 'a wax', or 'an oil' of some sort, these uses are far less common in everyday talk than 'papers' or 'glasses." These details are not important at the early stages when the Word Wheel will be of most value, but they will be a help to any learner desiring to get as much as possible out of the small selection of words here given.
Back to Contents : SBE or ABC
Word Wheel, Panopticon, sentence builder
A modern example of Ogden's idea of a Panopticon,
word wheel to let the new Basic learner see a logical way to put his thoughts into English sentences. See discussion on the Basic English Institute web pages for Education.