I. International Words

Together with the international adjective international, fifty nouns of general utility have been provisionally recognized by Basic English as International -- widely understood without instruction -- as of then:

International Nouns (50):

alcohol, aluminum, automobile, bank, bar, beef, beer, calendar, chemist, check, chocolate, chorus, cigarette, club, coffee, colony, dance, engineer, gas, hotel, influenza, lava, madam, nickel, opera, orchestra, paraffin, park, passport, patent, phonograph, piano, police, post, program, propaganda, radio, restaurant, sir, sport, taxi, tea, telegram, telephone, terrace, theater, tobacco, university, whisky, zinc.
One can suspect a casual level of international understanding of many more words that would not need to be taught:
cosmonaut, internet. Plus, entertainment, sports, and political superstars, real and factitious: Mickey Mouse, Pele, Hitler. A review of international dictionaries confirmed computer is known worldwide. Those that listed internet, did use internet in the other language. Why were these words left out? geisha, samurai, kangaroo, sauna,

Names of Sciences (12):

Algebra, Arithmetic, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Geometry, Mathematics, Physics, Physiology, Psychology, Zoology. The newer fields in technology now will probably qualify.

International Names used in Titles, Organizations, Diplomacy, etc.

One should not be surprised to see that half the list are royal words -- Ogden was from post-Victorian England and needed official support to allow Basic to progress -- Imperial, King, Prince, Princess, Queen, Royal. International names I am surprised are not included: Bureau, Republic, One can suspect some names are categorized in the interest of symmetry. In The Basic Words, college is a general international word and empire is a utility word, but are moved into Names here, which conveniently makes each list 50 words long. Note, too, that international is an international word, but not included in the 50 lists. Miss, Mr. and Mrs. are included in The Basic Words as International Names, but absent in later lists. Possibly this is considered to be covered by Sir and Madam in the Nouns list and are removed to reduce the word-count. I would recommend they be included in any class study.

The classification as an international word allows its use in its various meanings. But let's not get carried away. An international race car driver understandably did not understand this question put to him by a U.S. sports commentator: "What do you think of our 'double nickel' ?" Nickel is an international metal ore. In the United States it is also a synonym for a 5-cent coin originally made of that metal. By extension, nickel is sometimes used to indicate the number five. The double nickel referred to above meant 55, implying the U.S. speed limit for unmarked highways of 55 miles per hour. This particular usage was an abuse of an otherwise valid international word. New Words that would need to be included in any update to Basic: computer, digital, email, television. Many of these might be international in usage. There are 50 nouns of less general utility for use in appropriate contexts. These have been submitted for review by international committees to see if they are truly international words:

General Utility (50)

ammonia, asbestos, autobus, ballet, cafe, catarrh, champagne, chauffeur, circus, citron, cocktail, cognac, dynamite, encyclopedia, glycerin, hyena, hygiene, hysteria, inferno, jazz, liqueur, macaroni, malaria, mania, nicotine, olive, omelet, opium, paradise, penguin, platinum, potash, pajamas, pyramid, quinine, radium, referendum, rheumatism, rum, salad, sardine, tapioca, toast, torpedo, vanilla, violin, visa, vodka, volt, zebra. The achievements of science are usefully summarized with respect to: Science notation and measurement:

In Basic as in other international languages no attempt is made at covering a complete system of measuring, such as would be necessary for complex work in science or mathematics. The simpler forms for numbering, however, and the chief divisions of time are given their place in Basic English, in a separate list of 50 words. Of these, 12 are names of the months in the year, 7 are for days of the week, and the rest are Basic Number words. Even these words are not necessary in writing, because the number signs, for which most of these words are sounds, are themselves international.

Here are the 50 words: The days of the months: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. The days of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Number Words: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, twenty, twenty-one, thirty, forty, fifty, hundred, thousand, million, once, twice, half, quarter, third, fourth, fifth.

Your webmaster notes: The 26 letters of the 'Latin' alphabet are equally international and a prerequisite for written Basic and for spelling words in spoken English. The subject is assumed and not addressed which avoids the issue of national letters and accent marks. The comparative forms of less, least, more, and most are not counted but are derivatives of little and much. Also, there are words whose derivatives are found in less obvious evolution -- which and what are derivatives of who.

For ease of understanding in the digital age, I have allowed the spell checker to change spelling to "Microsoft American." There may be slight spelling and pronunciation differences around the world - the British may include some silent letters; the French may add accents, the Dutch will no doubt double some letters - but the words should be understandable.

Local differences in meanings exist that will require some care. Paraffin is a food grade sealing wax in the US, but a fuel and lamp oil in much of the world. To be safe, one must use paraffin wax for the first and paraffin oil for the later.

Additional Words, sort'a considered as Basic Words, yet without counting in the 850 are words made from compounds made from combining core Basic Words. Once the base word is learned, spelling, pronunciation, etc. the extension is usually obvious and "new word" is obtained to expand the richness of the basic speaker. Examples: back + water = backwater. Handbag, handbook, handwriting. (Out- and over- have long lists of expanded meanings.)


These give a feeling as necessary for children's stories. Bang - noise made by burst Hiss - noise of a snake Mew - sound of a cat Purr - sound of a happy cat Quack - sound of a water fowl.

II. Special Lists

The Basic English principle is that any major special topic can be addressed with at most 100 new words to cover the generalities plus fifty words to address the workings of any specialty within that general topic. An an example, the general science list is of words frequently used in science or are common to two or more sciences.

The General Science List

(100) absorption, active, adjacent, age, alternative, application, arc, area, arrangement, ash, axis, break, bubble, capacity, case, cell,

column, component, compound, continuous, cross, decrease, deficiency, deposit, determining, difference, difficulty, direct, disappearance, discharge, disturbance, elimination, environment, equation, evaporation, exact, experiment, explanation, focus, friction, fusion, generation, groove, guard, hinge, impurity, individual, interpretation, investigation, joint, latitude, layer, length, link, longitude, mean, melt, mixture, nucleus, origin, path, pressure, projection, proof, reference, relative, reproduction, resistance, rigidity, rock, rot, rotation, screen, seal, section, sensitivity, shadow, shear, shell, similarity, solution, spark, specialization, specimen, stimulus, strain, strength, stress, substitution, successive, supply, surface, swelling, thickness, thrust, tide, transmission, transparent, tube, valve.

The Basic Dictionary of Science which is included in Simplish adds these small Latin words of great value in putting things shortly : per, used in giving rates in the sense of 'in (or for) every', as 200 km per hour ; non-, in the sense of 'not' where un- would seem strange ; and -th, after numbers when naming order. Also various short forms as common in general English : N., S., E., W. (north, south, east and west) ; e.g. (for example) ; etc. ( and so on) ; freq (frequently) ; gen. (generally) ; i.e. (that is) ; opp. ('opposite to' or 'opposite of')

Latitude and longitude seem to be covered by Systems of Measure and should free two more words of General Science.

International Words in Science

Common Usage :[partial list]

anesthetic, bomb, electricity, magnetic, microscope, neutron, organism, petroleum, turbine, thermometer, serum, vitamin.
Technical List: [partial] - allotropy, endothelium, hemocyanin, isomorphism, phylogeny, tropism.

Physics-Chemistry :

(50) The learner of a science must oft times spend as much time learning the language in which to study a science as he must spend on the advanced science itself. This is wasteful loss of time that could be devoted to the advancement for the good of mankind. All the science journals published articles about Basic English until War 2 disrupted all but the creation of munitions. By the end of the war, English had become the international language of choice of wide areas of the developed world. The underdeveloped world remains so in part because it does not participate in that common means of communication in science and commerce.

Geology :

(50) International Standardization generated a call for standards for technical words in various areas. The geologists called for a standard for language and Ogden answered the call for a standard for international set of words for commerce and science. Basic English was quickly adopted as a Geology standard and they contributed to the special word list for Geology. Basic was presented in all the scientific journals and has a lasting effect on teaching of English.

Mathematics and Mechanics :


acceleration, amplitude, approximation, arbitrary, circumference, congruent, constant, cusp, damping, denominator, diameter, divisor, fraction, infinity, integer, intersection, inverse, lever, load, locus, magnitude, momentum, multiple, multiplication, node, numerator, oblique, piston, prime, probability, product, projectile, pulley, quantity, quotient, ratio, reciprocal, rectangle, recurring, reinforcement, resolution, subtraction, sum, term, total, triangle, unknown, variable, velocity, volume.

Biology :


abdomen, appendage, bark, beak, bud, cartilage, cavity, claw, climber, creeper, degenerate domesticating, duct, ferment, fertilizing, fiber, fin, fresh, germinating, gill, gland, hoof, host, inheritance, jaw, juice, kidney, liver, lung, mature metabolism, parent, petal, pollen, sac, scale, secretion, sepal, skull, slide, soil, stain, stalk, stamen, sucker, thorax, tissue, vascular, vestigial, wild.

B. Commerce.

has two defined specialties plus words from "Basic for Business" to make 100.

Business :


acceptance, address, agency, allowance, assets, assistant, average, bale, bankrupt, barrel, bill, broker, certificate, charge, claim, client, code, complaint, consignment, cost, court, customs, debit, deck, defect, delivery, export, gross, guarantee, hire, hold, import, investment, liability, license, load, loan, packing, pair, partner, purchase, reference, retail, sale, sample, show, sight, strike, supply, wholesale.

Economics :

(50) Sixteen words overlap between 50 Trade words and the 50 Economics words:

asset, average, bill, broker, cost, guarantee, investment, liability, loan, partner, purchase, retail, sale, strike, supply, wholesale.

A principle of Basic is to have 100 general words on a major subject area and then 50 words for each specialty within the subject. Thus, one would expect to find these 16 words in a core listing of the subject of Commerce. Possibly more words from each specialty would make the core list, there are only 68 unique words among them. Each subtopic could then be expanded. Additional subtopics could be marketing, human relations, industry (or would that share more applications with mechanical and engineering?) Florence suggests 17 words for social science, economics. Most are additional senses for words known to learners : capital (Next 350), class, community, concentration, culture, custom, decentralization, environment, firm, heredity, incentive, integration, structure, technology, unemployment, wages. Three are new words : capital, firm, wages. There seems to be no problem to make economics for commerce and social economics into one detail list.. Words in money systems of different countries to be used in their English form.

C. Verse :

(100) That words used in reading verse is included shows the wide interests of Ogden and also his astuteness of proving the Basic concept to the academic and literary world. Is a literature category required? The word God is a proper noun and need not be in this list.

angel, arrow, beast, blind, bow, breast, bride, brow, bud, calm, child, cross, crown, curse, dawn, delight, dew, dove, dream, eagle, eternal, evening, evil, fair, faith, fate, feast, flock, flow, fountain, fox, gentle, glad, glory, God/god1, grace, grape, grief, guest, hawk, heaven, hell, hill, holy, honey, honor, image, ivory, joy, lamb, lark, life, lion, lord, meadow, melody, mercy, noble, passion, perfume, pity, pool, praise, prayer, pride, priest, purple, rapture, raven, robe, rock, rose, rush, search, shining, shower, sorrow, soul, spear, spirit, storm, stream, strength, sword, thief, tower, travel, valley, veil, vine, violet, virgin, virtue, vision, wandering, wealth, weariness, weeping, wisdom, wolf, wonder.

Bible :

(50) Two sources of bible study lists differ by two words. The one by Richards shows only 49 words and another has "tribe" and "virgin", but not "cock". Not knowing which is the later list, I have included both to make the merged list be 51 words.

altar, ark, ass, ax, baptism, blessing, captain, cattle, circumcision, cock, deceit, disciple, envy, flesh, forgiveness, generation, herd, heritage, husband, kingdom, leaven, leper, locust, master, neighbor, oath, ox, people, pillar, preaching, prophet, revelation, righteousness, saint, salvation, savior, scribe, sin, spice, tent, testament, thorn, tribe, virgin, widow, wife, witness, world, worship, wrath, yoke.

D . Social Sciences :

submitted by P. Sargant Florence, an expert in this field is one of the most quoted of Basic supporters. These may be considered as a start of these detailed lists for expansion for the 21st Century.

General Social Science :

(14 of 100)

association, attitudes, class, community, culture, custom, environment, heredity, incentive, integration, standardization, State, technology, unemployment.

Economics :

(3 of 50, see above),

capital, firm, wages.

Political Science :

(5 of 50),concentration, control, decentralization, structure, will. "State", as capitalized, is allowed in basic Basic; "control, structure," and will are already a Basic words with an added social sense. We will add the word economic and make more general by choosing attitude and wage . We will accept these words as the start for valuable special wordlists.


: The Basic principle is to use place names in the native form except where English spelling has been generally adopted in full English. A stamp collector knows that Switzerland is Helvetica. The question is, what is it called in French, German, Russian, and Spanish? One can envision a glossary table of English and native names with the preferred name in bold. Existing Standards that might be picked up whole:

Problems with Standards.

Human nature tends to regard rules and regulations are considered restrictions on creativity. To show newness, new words are created as real or imagined symbolism of change, improvement, progress: an emergency room becomes a trauma center, a library becomes an information center. Few today will allow their expression be contained within a language standard intended to aid the hoi polloi. A conference speaker will tend to express his maximum knowledge to his peers, rather than try to reach the masses. Necessity of Standards:

See Air-talk and Sea-talk, Basic English-like specialty languages with words and phrases with very specific meaning. Where understanding of the widest possible population is desired, Basic English should be the standard. Journals and the mass media are the tools to provide information to the public; where there is an international audience, there should be Basic English. Suggested topics for Special Word Lists: Art, Education, Engineering, Genealogy, Law, make complete the Social Sciences, Medicine (surprised, where is specific understanding more compelling?), Military, Politics, Religion, ...


It would be fun to participate in the creation of the "digital age" special word lists. Using Ogden's technique, one would take the most respected, compact, computer dictionary, then word by word, for each sense of each word, see what combination of Basic (and international) words would completely satisfy the definition. If none, or if cumbersome, then that word becomes a candidate for ether the core list or a specialty list. Or, if commonly used internationally, then the word is considered an extra-Basic word available for use without being on a list. The list is then iterated and condensed to 100 core and 50 words for each specialty by considering general utility, use in combined usage, and commonality. Assuming " e-" was made a Basic English prefix, many new concepts would not need new words. One would expect a high number of internet related words be internationally understood. Avoidance of fad words and trade names must be considered. Computer and internet have been confirmed as internationally known, thereby doing away with "apparatus for addition and logic."

III. The Next Steps

Expansion beyond the 850 words towards Standard English

"The First Supplement consists of the 150 names of animals, plants, and foods which have no international distribution." [ Find this list.] Our guess. This extension of the list of pictureables may then be followed by the Subsequent 350 word addenda, and so on; at the same time the special vocabularies which have been prepared for the application of Basic to Trade and Economics, and for The Basic Bible, are available for gradual incorporation in the general list at the 2,000 level.

Subsequent Addenda - 350 words

absence, accident, address, adventure, advice, age, agent, ago, along, also, always, ambition, anchor, ankle, arrangements, ash, awkward, balcony, barrel, beard, beat, behind, belt, bet, blame, blanket, both, bottom, brave, breakfast, breast, bubble, bud, bunch, burial, busy, calculation, call, capital, carpet, case, ceremony, chair, character, child, chimney, china, choice, civilization, clay, clever, collection, column, communications, concept, concrete, convenient, cool, corner, cost, crop, cross, cunning, date, demand, department, dew, difficulty, dinner, disgrace, dislike, ditch, dive, divorce, doll, dreadful, dream, dull, duty, each, easy, economy, effort, either, employer, empty, enemy, envelope, envy, evening, exact, excitement, exercise, explanation, explosion, expression, eyebrow, eyelash, failure, fair, famous, fan, fastening, fever, figure, financial, flash, flesh, flood, flour, forecast, forehead, foreign, forgiveness, fresh, frost, frozen, funny, fur, furniture, gate, generation, germ, god, grand, grateful, grease, grief, grocery, ground, guard, guess, gum, habit, handkerchief, handle, heavy, hedge, hill, holiday, home, honest, honey, human, hunt, hurry, hurt, husband, imagination, innocent, institution, intelligent, invitation, jam, jaw, jealous, jerk, joint, jug, juice, jury, justice, kennel, kidney, kitchen, knock, lace, lame, lamp, large, lawyer, lazy, lecture, legal, lesson, lever, license, lid, life, lime, liver, load, local, loop, luck, lump, lunch, lung, magic, manner, many, marble, marriage, mast, mattress, mean, meaning, medicine, member, mess, message, mill, mineral, model, modern, modest, mood, moral, moustache, mud, murder, nasty, nature, navy, neat, neglect, neighbor, nest, next, nice, nostril, nurse, obedient, officer, orchestra, organ, origin, oval, own, pad, pair, pan, paragraph, party, passage, patience, pedal, people, perfect, plaster, poetry, pool, practice, praise, prayer, prick, priest, progress, promise, proof, proud, pupil, pure, race, real, reference, remark, remedy, repair, result, revenge, rich, rise, rival, rude, rust, sale, satisfaction, saucer, scratch, screen, search, selfish, sentence, set, shave, sheet, shell, shoulder, show, sight, since, sleeve, social, soldier, sorry, spark, spirit, spit, splash, spot, stable, stair, steady, storm, strain, straw, stream, string, study, subject, success, sum, supply, surface, surgeon, suspicious, swing, sympathetic, tailor, tame, tap, tear, tent, thief, thimble, threat, tie, too, towel, tower, traffic, tragedy, trap, travel, treatment, truck, tube, tune, tunnel, twin, typist, ugly, understanding, universe, valley, vegetable, victim, victory, vote, weak, welcome, whether, widow, wife, wild, world, wreck, wrist, yawn.