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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Language Planning for a New Order     503
and we cannot eliminate the use of suggestive metaphors which may
point the way to unsuspected similarities None the less, we have to set
some limit, and one is not hard to see Our essential list should contain
separate names for physical and personal or social attributes with as
little obvious connexion as the drought in dry goods and dry hurnour.
If we prescribe the same word sharp for a tooth, for a twinge, for a
temper, and for a telling reply, we might as well replace all names of
qualities by two vocables respectively signifying general approval and
disapproval In this field of word choice the apparent economics of
Basic English, as of Chinese, may raise our hopes unduly
The dictionary of our ideal interlanguage would naturally list
internationally current words such as cigatette, coffee, tram, bus., hotel,
taxi, post3 international', tobacco, soya, valuta Fixation in print would
have two advantages It might discourage local differences of pronuncia-
tion which lead to confusion between the French word coco9 variously
used as a term of endearment, for coconut or for cocaine, and the
English word cocoa It might also promote international acceptance of
a single word for such world-wide commodities as petrol (Engl), gas
(Amer ), essence (French), Benzin (Germ and Swed )
One important contribution of Ogden's Basic to the problem of
word economy in a constructed language is his treatment of the verb.
The Basic equivalent of a verb is a general term (operator) and some
qualifying word or expression By combining the general notion of
space change in go with another word or group of words we dispense
with all the various names now restricted to particular types of trans-
port, e g walk =- go on foot, nde = go on a horse, or go on a bicycle,
etc By the same method we avoid the use of different names for par-
ticular manners of moving, eg run = go very fast, wander = go from
place to place without aim We can also do without all causative-
intransitive couplets which signify producing or acquiring a condition^
by combining equivalents of make oiget with one of the basic adjectives,
e g increase = make or get bigger,, clanfy = make or get cleary accelerate
= make or get faster. By combining 16 fundamental verb substitutes
(come, get, give, go, keep, let) make, put, seem, take, be, do, have, say, see,
send] with other essential items of the word list Basic English thus
provides an adequate Ersatz for 4,000 verbs in common use.
Before Ogden devised the basic method of teaching English, pioneers
of language-planning had paid scant attention to the minimum vocabu-
lary required for effective communication* Consequently^ the English
pattern has stimulated as well as circumscribed subsequent discussion.