Monday, February 23, 2009

Simple English

I used to be in favour of writing in Simple English. I rarely achieved it - I lean heavily towards verbosity - but it seemed to be a goal worth aspiring to.

Today's xkcd directed me to the Simple English Wikipedia. A cursory inspection has reminded me that Simple English is disturbingly close to Newspeak, which I note with amusement is a concept that doesn't have a page in the Simple English Wiki. Fifteen things described as "good" and "very good" in under a minute was enough to scare me off the whole Simple English movement. We have a complex language so that we can express complex thoughts; sometimes simpler really is dumber.

I'll probably swing back to simplicity eventually but in the mean time I really want to revel in the fact that I have a whole rainbow of words for expressing approval above and beyond "good".

2 comments:

Arkem said...

Newspeak is doubleplusungood

Jessi~chan said...

It's a good concept. A way for kids and and adult learners of ESL to practice English researching. Also a way for fledgling writers and editors to start off small. But it should be restricted to topics that can be expressed in simple language without distorting the underlying meaning. I still have the shivers from reading the "Simple English" article on Nietzsche.