Ryota's Old Daybook: Language Arts & Basic English
  Connection: Ogden's Use of an American Word-Form

"Connection" is a Webster-American letter-use which somehow made into Ogden's list. Though some British writers like Thomas Hardy made use of "connection," a great number of British writers have made use of the other form of the same word: "connexion."

If you have knowledge of the history behind the word, you may have a feeling that "connexion" makes the better sense, though the form is not regular.


  Knowledge Is Power

English through Pictures is more than books for language learning. The reader may come across statements like this:

Knowledge gives us light.
It makes things clearer to us.

(Richards and Gibson, Book 2. 151)



  A Clock Has a Face, by Richards and Gibson

This is from English through Pictures. Do you see that it's like a verse?

A clock has a face.

It has no nose.
It has no eyes.
It has no mouth.

It has no ears.
It has no hair
but it has a face.

It has a face and two hands,
the long hand
and the short hand.

I. A. Richards and Christine Gibson, English through Pictures, Book 1 (46)


  Please Have a Seat.

Basic English doesn't have a number of frequently used words on the list. One example is the word for something you make yourself seated: chair. Chairs are almost everywhere. So why it's not on the list?

Picture taken by Elba Vazquez-Morales
So take a look at the picture. What is the thing under the tree, which you make yourself seated? It's not a chair. In American or British English, a long and hard seat like this generally goes by the name of "bench." The trouble is that the word "bench" or "work-bench" is sometimes used with another sense: table.

If the seat is long and soft, moreover, it's not a chair or bench. It's a sofa.

If the seat is round, it's not a chair. It's a stool.

The fixed seats in the car, train or theater are not chairs.

After all, the use of this word starting with C is surprisingly limited, and all of them are seats.



The Earth is like a fruit with hard skin and very soft meat. The meat is like liquid, moving under the skin. The skin, or the great cover made of stone, sometimes makes a crack, sending out a shockwave. When the shockwave comes out to the face of the earth, it gives a shake. It's an earth-shock.

When an earth-shock gives a blow to the sea, a great amount of seawater goes away from the land. The water, before long, comes back, looking like a wall or mountain, running and rolling with great power. When it comes to the land with a crush, everything gets washed away. We have a history of deaths and wounds made by this sort of killer wave. Because Japan is a group of islands in the sea and frequently has an earth-shock, Japanese language has a special word for the killer wave: Tsunami. This word went overseas and now used in general, unlimited English.

This morning, the southwest part of Japan had an earth-shock. The good thing is that there were no killer waves this time.


  Color or Colour?

The picture made by OCPS Instruction Television.
I make use Ogden's Basic English mostly as designed by Ogden, with small changes. The changes I have made is the use of letters for words "
behavior," "color," "gray," "harbor," "humor" and "plow."

They are different from the way used on Ogden's list. On his list, they were like this: "behaviour," "colour," "grey," "harbour," "humour" and "plough." Most writers in Britain, and probably in Austraria, New Zealand, India and South Africa, still put the words this way. Because they had been put like this for a very long time there, it would have been less trouble for them. It was one thing which Ogden was on the side of British.

The system of letter-use which I make use of was started by Noah Webster, long time back, in America. It's been the common way of putting words in the United States, and probably in some parts of Canada. I put myself on the side of the Webster system, NOT because it is American, but because it is more regular, and it will be kinder to early learners. Same sound: same group of letters.


  Plato: Things Which Are Greek 3

The picture was taken by Mr. Gay Sherman.
Hundreds of years after Homer, the growth of Greece kept on. They had towns, buildings, markets and schools. Every town had its political system in which every free men got together in the square, had talks and discussion, made decision about the way of the town society. There were great events for men of physical power, the meetings which went by the name of the Olympics. There were events for actors and experts of music, producing stories from Homer's verse as plays on the stage.

Wise men of knowledge and learning came together at one of the towns: Athene, or Athens. They had discussion, walking in the woods. Among them, the best and greatest teacher was Socrates.

Socrates was no writer of books. He gave his teachings only in talks and questions. Some men on the town were unhappy about his teachings. They made up a false story about him, saying he was giving bad effects to the town society. Socrates gave a public talk about that to make clear who was truly bad. After the talk he himself took poison and went to death.

Platon, or Plato, was one of the learners under Socrates. He put Socrates' teachings into writings. His books are still on the list of important books in a great number of universities all over the earth.

I. A. Richards put Plato's writing, or Socrates' teaching, about the best government and society, into simple, Basic-like English: The Republic of Plato. We may say it's the first important book of political science in the West.

Richards, in addition, made talks and death of Socrates produced as a public reading or stage-play at Harvard. Like the teachings of Socrates, it wasn't made printed in books, but it was recorded.

One of the learners under Plato was Aristotle, who gave his teachings to Alexander, but that is another story.

Men, women and higher beings in Homer's stories are like boys and girls, even if their bodies are old. They sometimes do good things and bad things for foolish reasons. Socrates, or Plato, on the other hand, says that there are no places, in the best society, for arts, stories or pictures, which make copies of things and persons. Socrates and Plato, their thoughts and theories based on long experiences, were a long way from Homer. Those are the two important, and very different, sides of things which are Greek.


  Homer: Things Which Are Greek 2

Homer, or Homeros, was a writer and giver of stories in songs, who had no power of seeing and was living about 2700 years back from now. It was such a long time back that no one is certain of the facts, but he is said to be the writer of two very noted stories in verse: The Iliad and The Odyssey. They are two of the oldest stories in the West.

The Iliad is about Achilles, the strongest man from Greece, and about other persons or beings in the war between Troy and Greece. It's a sad and serious story of loves, hates, fights, and deaths. Richards made it short and put into near-Basic English, as The Wrath of Achiless: The Iliad of Homer. ("Wrath" is a very angry feeling.)

The Odyssey is about Odysseus, or Ulysses, the man who had Greek military overcome Troy, and about his long journey back to his family. It' a quick-moving story like Star Wars, going over a long distance, full of love, fights, tricks, stories in the story, and very strange animals or other beings with great powers. It's the best book for anyone learning to be a maker of stories, in forms of books, motion pictures, or machine programs. Richards didn't put it into Basic or Basic-like English, but you will have a good time reading The Odyssey in any language, in verse or prose.


  Things Which Are Greek

The Olympic competition is not the only international thing started, thousands of years back, in Greece. Very important parts of arts and sciences in the West came from the Greece. The Book of Christian religion, though it was started in the Middle East, was in Greek because it was the international language. After the Romans took the political power and their Latin became the international language, Greek was kept as an important instrument of learning. That's why Julius Caesar, a noted head of the Roman military forces and government, gave a talk in Greek. Because it was an overseas language to common persons, some Roman in the Shakespeare's play said, "It was Greek to me."

Greek is still important in high-level universities in the West. Even at universities in Britain and the United States, where most of talks and discussion are done in English, a great number of words from Greek are still used as special words in different branches of arts and sciences. Ogden would say that all of those high-level words might be put into Basic words. But even some Basic words like "automatic," "physical", "political" were made from Greek words. "Theory" is another Basic word from Greek, and a number of theories are in fact from Greek writings. It's an important part of their knowledge base.

Learning Greek, however, is one of the hardest things to do for most of the university persons. It's a language with completely different letters and complex rules of word forms. Giving attention to details of the language gets learners tired of learning. So I. A. Richards put two of important Greek books into simple Basic-like English: The Iliad of Homer and Plato's Republic.


  International Words

Ogden said that 50 international words, in addition to the word "international" itself, might be used with Basic words. Here is the list from his book The ABC of Basic English (169):

alcohol, aluminium, automobile, bank, bar, beef, beer, calendar, cheque, chemist, chocolate, chorus, cigarette, club, coffee, colony, dance, engineer, gas, hotel, influenza, lava, madam, nickel, opera, orchestra, paraffin, park, passport, patent, phonograph, piano, police, post, programme, propaganda, radio, restaurant, sir, sport, taxi, tea, telegraph (telegram), telephone, terrace, theatre, tobacco, university, whisky, zinc.

Some words like "phonograph" and "telegraph" may not be necessary any more.


  GDM, or Richards-Gibson System

I. A. Richards and Christine Gibson at Harvard University made a system of teaching languages. First it was started as a way of teaching Basic English to learners with no knowledge of English. Book 1 and 2 of their English through Pictures are in fact for learning about 750 of Basic words and International words. They are the best books for starting learners of Basic.

Book 3 is a step to a level higher than Basic.

Richards and Gibson's way of teaching language was put to use for teaching other languages: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and so on. This Richards-Gibson system, their step-by-step way of teaching with pictures, got a name "Graded Direct Method" or "GDM."

No one in the United States seems to be interested in this way of teaching now, but a number of Japanese have been working on it for a long time. I said in March that I went to one of their meetings in Kyoto.

It is the starting month of the new school year in Japan now and the GDM teachers are going to have more meetings. If you are in Japan and interested, take a look at their online pages in Japanese.



  Fukushima University, Japan: A Guide in Basic English

I have made a new online page: Fukushima University, Japan: A Guide in Basic English. It will be specially about my university.


  Bladerunner: A New Basic Word

Mr. Ohyama is writing about his love of motion pictures and music of Vangelis. So I will put something more about moving pictures, Vangelis music, and Basic English.

Vangelis, who had been noted among some lovers of new music, got attention from all over the earth in 1981 when he made music for the motion picture Chariots of Fire: a story of two British young runners taking part in the Olympics at Paris.


He made, in 1982, music for Bladerunner, a motion picture made under the direction of Ridley Scott. It got small attention from lovers of motion pictures and didn't make much money first. And the recorded music by Vangelis wasn't put on the market then.

Bladerunner, however, got attention from young persons with a taste for something new and strange, slowly took heat year by year, and now it's a very noted picture.

The story is about an unhappy man, living in a near and dark future, who has to do the work of putting runaway man-made persons to death. Because the man-made persons are produces of very new working science, it is necessary for the man to make use of the top-level, cutting-edge, power of the science to have a kill. He has, in other words, a run of the blade, so he is a bladerunner. Do you see that this word was made by joining two Basic words?

The best part of the motion picture, probably, is near the end, where the strongest man-made man, played by the actor Rutger Hauer, gives a talk, while fighting with the bladerunner, about his experience of hard work and journey in the outer space. If you are a learner of English, please give attention, when you see the moving picture, to this talk. The picture of Hauer is from Yahoo!Movies.

Those man-made persons, or replicants, are very good copies of persons with brains, bones, muscles, and skins. They have warm blood and feelings. They have hard times, being forced to do the work as servants or like machines in places full of danger. The most cruel thing is that some of them, made as servant workers, are not conscious of the fact that they are man-made. You will see more of interesting facts at <www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/trivia>.

The story is based on a science fiction, by Philip K. Dick, named Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [That is "Do man-made persons have a hope for electric sheep?"] You may have a good time of reading it in the form of a book, made shorter and put into 1800-word level English, in print from Oxford University Press <oup-readers.jp>.

The word "blade-runner" was taken, however, by Scott from a book of a completely different story: The Blade Runner, a science fiction by a writer and medical expert named Alan Nourse. The old book was put into a play, to be produced as a motion picture, by William S. Burroughs. W. S. Borroughs was an American writer noted for his knowledge and experience of chemical/medical substances which gives strange effects to the mind.

I have no experience of reading the old Blade Runner by Nourse or by Burroughs. Reading some online pages has given me some outline of the story. It is another science fiction of a near and dark future, in which some outlaw medical experts do their work for the good, helped by the blade runner, who secretly does trade in medical substances and instruments, some of which are knives used for medical operation.



Evangelos O. Papathanassiou is a music writer and keyboard player, who made the music for the motion picture Alexander. Evangelos generally goes, outside of Greece, by the name of "Vangelis."

Because he is Greek, he certainly has the knowledge of Greek music which goes well with the picture based on old Greek history. Because he's been working on machines for making music, he certainly has the knowledge of new music which goes well with the taste of today's music lovers.

This time, in addition to his Greek-European sounds, he makes use of sounds and rhythms which have the feeling of Africa, the Middle East, and India. They give, to the viewers of the motion picture, feelings of great land masses where the king and his men went across, and tastes of persons living in different ways there.

The picture of Vangelis playing keyboard instruments is from an online page of SonyMusic.




Alexandros was young king of Mecedonia, about 2300 years back from now, who took Greece, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and India under his rule. It was, to anyone in that time and place, the same as taking all of Europe, Africa and Asia, all the lands on the face of the earth.

The most important work he did was probably building of the library, the first in history, at Alexandria, Egypt.

His mother tongue was probably Greek, because his country was near Geece, the international language at the time was Greek, and his teacher was the noted Greek, Aristoteles, or Aristotle.

Alexander, a motion picture made under the direction of Oliver Stone in 2004, gives the story of his long journey in short three hours. In this picture, the king and the teacher have different views on going international. The teacher takes a low opinion of other nations like Babylon. The king, on the other hand, gives respect to ways of other nations which he takes under his rule. He even gets married with a girl from a small but rough group of families living among the mountains, making his freinds and relations angry or surprised.

The language used in the picture is English. What is interesting is that persons from other lands give their talk in simple English like Basic. The rhythms and sounds of their English, in addition, is those of persons talking in a second language: rough, strong, and strangely beautiful. Some are like Irish. Some are like the one from India or somewhere from the East.

If you go to see this motion picture only for amusement, you will have a hard time. It takes three hours! If you are interested in history, war, sex, political questions or other things, you will have a good time learning about the days and places of this young man.

Alexander in the picture is interested in stories of strong men from the past. One is the story of Achileus, or Achiless, fighting in the Trojan War, a noted story from Homer's Iliad. Another is of Heracules, or Hercules. Getting some knowledge of them before seeing Alexander will give you a happier time.

The picture of Alexander on horseback is from Yahoo!Movies.



An interesting discussion is going on among my friends Mr. Ohyama and Mr. Tsuchiya. It's about one of the words on Ogden's list: humor.

Ogden, in The Basic Words, said that the root sense of this word was "humeur" in French, "Laune" in German, or
general condition of mind, or feeling, and as an expasion, this word was used as quality causing amusement.


Mr. Ohyama, however, has an opinion that the root sense of this word is a thing of the past and humor is now used, most of the time, for quality which will be a cause of amusement.


Mr. Tsuchiya seems to be of the same opinion.

They are right when pointing out that talkers/writers of English as their first language, in fact, make use of this word for something which gives amusement, most of the times. A great number of those mother tongue users may not be conscious of the old sense of the word, general condition of mind, even when they make use of word groups like "good humor" or "bad humor." But those examples with "good" and "bad" will not be possible without the old root sense.

Root senses are sometimes like that: unseen under the earth. We see flowers, leaves, branches and stems frequently, but not roots. I have a feeling that this old sense is stil necessary.

Because the account in my wordbook may not be good enough, I will give more details.
Humor, with its root sense, is like feeling. They are roughly the same, but not truly.

Feeling is something you give, get and have.

, on the other hand, is something you are in, but you may have a sense of it.

They are a bit different. They were a bit different even in Ogden's times. As Mr. Ohyama said in his Japanese page, a statement like "What humor do you have today?" will not be a good way of putting a question. It wouldn't have been even in Ogden's days, but I may be wrong. (^_^)


  Mr. Katagiri's Pages

Ryota's Daybook had a sudden increase of new readers yesterday. So I did some work on the Network and made certain that it was not a trick on the first of April. A great number of new readers came through bookmarks on pages by Yuzuru Katagiri.

Mr. Katagiri, or Yuzurusan, is a writer/producer of books, university teacher of languages, and trainer of a special way of making one's body and mind free of unnecessary conditions, the way named Alexander Technique. As a language teacher, he has been teaching early Japanese and Basic English using Graded Direct Method in Japan for 50 years.

If you are a reader of Japanese, you will see a great number of interesting writings in his pages online:

If you are a reader of English as a first, second or overseas language, you will see his writings in Basic.

"Working Memory":
"Language Learning Is Not an Automatic Behavior":



  About Basic English

These are bookmarks to my writings about Basic:



기초 영어 or Baza Angla. If you have knowledge of 850 English words, you may have a good time reading this daybook, Ryota's day-to-day notes, in Basic English, for college-level learners of English as a second or overseas language. Notes are generally on English or other languages, American or other writers or writings, and music or motion pictures based on those writings.

About Me
Ryota Iijima
Ryota's Japanese Daybook
Ryota's Rooms
Fukushima University

About Basic English
Basic English

About Internet Words

What's New?
Changing Names
The End
Ryota's New Daybook
New Paper on Basic
More on the Man Who Was at the Nazi Prison
Leaves of trees are changing
A man who was at a Nazi prison
Been to the Basic English
Night School
Stand by Me: The Song and the Motion Picture

What's Old
2005/03 | 2005/04 | 2005/05 | 2005/06 | 2005/07 | 2005/08 | 2005/09 | 2005/10 | 2005/11 | 2007/01 |

Bookmarks: English
Ryota's Top-Page
Mr. Ohyama in Basic
Basic English Institute

Bookmarks: Japanese
Yuzuru's Daybook
Mr. Katagiri's Pages
Mr. Ohyama on Basic
Basic English Discussion Group
GDM: Or, Richards-Gibson System

Bookmarks: German
On Basic English

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