Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0272-2690
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9889
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Although a relatively minor project in terms of its impact on the broader international language movement, Basic English is interesting for the elaborate semiotic theory that underlies it. The creator of Basic English, Charles Kay Ogden (1889–1957), is today remembered chiefly as co-author of The Meaning of Meaning, a book widely regarded as a classic of early twentieth-century semiotics. In this article, I will engage in a critical examination of the design of Basic English and demonstrate how it essentially represents an implementation of the key doctrines set out in that book, tempered by the practical exigencies of language construction. I will focus on Ogden’s method of ‘panoptic conjugation’, which he used to select the Basic English core vocabulary of 850 words, as well as his conception of the grammar of Basic English as an outgrowth of its vocabulary. We observe additionally how Ogden’s approach does not result in a self-contained, independent international language, but rather a language that is subservient to Standard English idiom.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error