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504                The Loom of Language
Though it is desirable to keep down the necessary minimum number
of verbs by the same device, a constructed language could not advan-
tageously incorporate equivalents of Ogden's sixteen operators and use
them in the same way. The word-economy of Basic is a word-economy
that has to conform with a standard acceptable to educated English-
speaking people Otherwise we should be at a loss to justify the inclu-
sion of come in a sixteen-verb catalogue already equipped with go.
With due regard to the economies which are possible if we combine
go, make, get, or equivalent "operators" with other basic elements, it is
difficult to recognize some Basic combinations such as go on, make up,
get on as subspecies of single classes In fact., they are idioms of standard
Anglo-American usage The beginner has to learn them as if they were
separate items in a list of verbs
This raises the possibility of including in our word list operators
which have a wide range like make and get or give and take, but do not
coincide with current Anglo-American usage Some verb couplets are
redundant because they express different general relations to the same
state or process Thus to give life is to bear, to take life is to kill, to get
life is to be born. So also to give instruction is to teach and to take (or get}
instruction is to learn To give credit is to lend and to get credit is to
borrow It is easy to see how we might make similar economies, if we
had an everyday equivalent for the foological stimulus—response con-
trast analogous to the acquisitive give—get The word give sufficiently
covers the operation of stimulating, but Basic offers nothing which
expresses to make the response appropriate to implicit in the somewhat
archaic heed. The addition of an operator with this functional value
would explicitly dispense with the need for one member of such parrs
as question—answer, information—interest, command—obedience, defeat
—surrender, writing—reading, buy—sell Thus to answer is to make the
response appropriate to a question and to obey is to heed a command
Other possibilities of word economy in a constructed auxiliary are
illustrated by the large number of grammatically inflated abstractions
in our language Since we do not need separate link-word forms for
the directives after and before, we do not need a separate link-word
while corresponding to the directive during Since we can speak of the
above remarks for the remarks printed or written highei on the page, we
should also be able to speak of the previous letter as the before letter
without misgiving Since some people discuss the Beyond, we might
just as well call the sequel the after and the past the before In fact, every
directive is the focus of a cluster of different word-forms with the same