Simple English

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Simple English is:

  1. . A defining vocabulary suitable to reliably explain even quite complex aspects of English speaking culture to those who did not grow up with it, or have not grown up yet (i.e. are children). This is at least 2000 words.
  2. . For purposes of defining the simplest terms and explaining what other concepts must be understood first, a core 1000 words. This is not however enough to provide more than extremely basic, dictionary-like, definitions, and these will be quite generalized and abstract, and may easily give the wrong impression. For this reason this vocabulary should be used only the user interface and first paragraph and wiki page title if possible... although for coordination with Full English it is probably not possible to keep page titles strictly simple.
  3. . Essentially an extended and annotated glossary that non-English-native speakers can use to work through fairly complex statements in English even if they have little or no background in it, by looking up word by word. This is what makes it possible to use Simple English as a baseline for translation.
  4. . Active tense should be preferred over passive tense if only because it means fewer and shorter words, e.g. buy local as opposed to local purchasing. It may also be taken as advocacy or describing an action rather than an abstract idea, but that's fine, we're advocates, and we like action, and trolls hate ideas, except for breakfast.

What isn't Simple

The poorly named Simple English Wikipedia does not obey these rules, or any rational strategy to deal with culturally defined or factionally defined terms, and cannot serve the purposes it claims to. In fact it is a project with no clear mission at all, that cannot possibly provide sufficiently rich articles to serve as a basis for translation. This is for political not editorial reasons - see enemy projects. For similar reasons (lack of defining vocabulary) links to Wiktionary should also be avoided. Links to Full English Wikipedia require far too much vocabulary, as there is no restriction on use of even the most uncommon English words, and those articles link to hundreds of thousands of other articles, which is simply too open-ended to provide as part of the Consumerium buying signal - one thing Consumerium is not is a Wikipedia interface.

Why we care

Nonetheless, we should work in a genuine but still usable Simple English of our own design:

  • It is far more likely that a short limited-vocabulary article will suit our purposes better than a long one in a 10,000 word (or worse) vocabulary.
  • Translated versions will more and more be based on the Simple English ones, and we want Consumerium Languages to be at least as extensive as the 22 that are presently supported at Wikipedia, so that we can help manage the GFDL text corpus, and perhaps even replace Wikipedia in some missions.

All Consumerium Concepts should be well enough defined in Simple English for anyone who speaks English as a second language (only) to be able to contribute on an equal footing with native speakers. If the concepts cannot be defined in this way, they are probably wrong. There is nothing like simplicity to uncover errors and assumptions.

Consumerium Contracts (sort of a social contract around which social capital or reputation collects) form the basis of factions, so they must also be easy to understand, which means writing them in Simple English as well.

If we do a good job, we will effectively be the ones defining what "Simple English" really means, as we will have the most rigorous definitions of the exact terms required to define factionally defined glossary items and any culturally defined idioms - and literally nothing else. This will be a 2000 words core with the more limited 1000 words for control purposes. However, it's up to us. Our requirements and dedication to our mission make it impossible to rely on any other project to define what is "Simple" for us.