What if there were a way for English to be easier? Even native English speakers will admit it is a crazy, inconsistent language. Moreover, there are more people in the world who speak English as a second language than there are people who are native English speakers.
The idea of a simplified version of English has been around since 1930. Basic English is a controlled version of English with a list of root words and consistent, simple grammar. It has influenced the creation of Voice of America’s Special English for news broadcasting, and Simplified English, another English-based controlled language designed to write technical manuals. Special English has a list of 1500 core words.
The idea of a universal shared simple language sounds good to me.
Then again I am a programmer, used to languages with a limited set of words that can be universally understood as a method for sharing information efficiently. You don’t have to write the great American novel with Special English. However, basics any traveler or business person needs could be covered in a universal language.
Author George Orwell didn’t think this was a good idea. Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a controlled language created by the totalitarian state as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace.
We had an interesting discussion on LingQ about it. I also learned about subvocalization and synesthesia. Perhaps my favorite part of LingQ are the intelligent discussions of serious language learners.