Talk:E Prime

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Untitled[change source]

I personally think that we should not emphasize the use of E Prime on this SEWiki. I think that most contributors won't be familiar with the idea, and we won't want to make too many new rules distinguishing our Simple English from Full English. Personally, I advocate something like "expanded Basic English". Comments? -- RJWiki

It's not a question of the needs of contributors, but of readers. English speakers use "is" far too much, one of the reasons E Prime was created, and this use tends to lead to serious subject-object problems in almost all English non-fiction writing. There's no "rule" here. It's just "encouragement" to be clearer about what becomes, remains and equals what. Rather than using "is" in contexts where equivalence is uncertain.
Does the "Simple English" Wikipedia even HAVE readers? It has lots of contributors, but I don't think anyone actually uses it. It's just a pet project for contributors. That's who it's really for.
As far as I know, no EAL learners and users will be learning E Prime. As far as I know, most languages (and all of the ones with many users) have the verb "to be" (or "ser" and "estar" in Spanish, etc). I don't want to add an additional artificial and strange guideline in the SeWiki -- RJWiki
NO ONE HAS TO TALK ABOUT A "NEW LANGUAGE" called E Prime just to use "become, remain, equal" MORE and "to be" LESS. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE END USER. It is an editor's concern.
You aren't making sense to me here. 1) I meant that E Prime's de-emphasis of "to be" is, by comparison with existing languages, artificial, idiosyncratic, and weird. I didn't say that E Prime is or should be called a new language.
Only if it IS a new language, do your objections make sense. There is nothing idiosyncratic or weird about replacing to be with become, remain and equal. In fact, it is to get rid of idiosyncratic beliefs and statements that one does that. You need to learn more about General Semantics. Each language has its own mind set. English culture makes it acceptable to say "he is taking his time" (implying that time is an object that can be taken), something which makes no sense in most other cultures. Saying "he remains patient" says something more objective. Both are English. Only one is E Prime. The latter is easier to translate.
2) How the heck can you work on a document and claim that your writing standards (or proposed writing standards for all editors) have "NOTHING TO DO WITH THE END USER". They should have everything to do with the end user. Otherwise you are just indulging in some solipsistic fantasy. Really, I am trying to understand your views/proposals about the Simple English that SEWiki should use, (on this page, its relationship to E Prime) and I don't. -- RJWiki
Just forget E Prime exists. I am saying "rewrite sentences that use to be to use become, remain and equal wherever you can." This is a concern only of the Simple English Editor because only those editors will be counting the frequency of to be versus those other words.
If you have a list of concepts that we can safely say "are the same as" other concepts in all cultures, well, that is amazing, and you should get a PhD for that. If not, the General Semantics approach is the best known.
"expanded Basic English" implies "beed" and "bes"? No thanks. It just isn't English, and that's even more confusing.
I don't advocate "beed" and "bes", no. Ouch.  :-) -- RJWiki.
There is no such thing like "beed" and "bes" in Basic English. It's a misunderstanding.Hansjörg
The E Prime thing can be dealt with later by Simple English Editors who can make the hard decisions about "is" vs. "becomes, remains, equals", case by case.
This probably should be discussed in Simple English/Talk, not here.

And again, I don't want to emphasize the distinction between SEWiki "users" or "readers" and "contributors". They are potentially (ideally?) the same. -- RJWiki

No, they aren't. That is completely wrong, and it always will be. The contributors will *always* have a better grasp of English than the users. *Always*. That will *never* change. This puts the Simple English Contributor and Simple English Editor in a position of power over the Simple English User. We can't wish that out of existence, we have to deal with it. They are only "ideally" the same to those whose ideals are preaching equality while practicing control over others. They are only "potentially" the same to those who could believe in creating Simple English as a peer to Full English, with people spending their whole lives ONLY reading and writing Simple. I might buy that, but it sure isn't the mandate right now.
Look, I just don't agree with you about this. (I.e., "No, you are completly wrong about this!" :-) ) Or, we disagree about the emphasis to put on different aspects of this. I think we both agree that now and always, "anybody" can contribute to this SEWiki, which makes them contributors and thus means that "anybody" is a potential contributor. Re "people spending their whole lives ONLY reading and writing Simple". Obviously, there will be people for whom this is true.
IF there is ever any ONE such person, it will be amazing. I think your lack of agreement is really a lack of thinking here - you're digging for a proof of something you want intuitively to believe. Sure, "anybody CAN contribute" and be a nominal "contributor". But without a good grasp of English, they really aren't going to be "ideal" contributors, or even necessarily become "good" unless they acquire MORE THAN SIMPLE English. It just isn't possible to get to this level of mastery without picking up much more vocabulary. If they're using a computer, they pick up other words from the user interface at least! And none of this has anything at all to do with the users and contributors *potentially or ideally* being the same people, *statistically*. There will still always be many more people in the user group with less skill than the people in the contributor group, even if there is crossover. It's those statistical averages that are at issue.
"IF there is ever any ONE such person, it will be amazing." -- ?? I'm saying that there are many people who have a simple grasp of English or a grasp of "Simple English". You are saying that you don't believe there is even one such person? Apparently we aren't communicating here. -- RJWiki
I cannot answer to your lack of comprehension. Lots of people have a simple grasp of English or a grasp of Simple English. But you said "Re "people spending their whole lives ONLY reading and writing Simple". Obviously, there will be people for whom this is true." I answered to this - do not pick out a different point from what you wrote to make yourself right. I said there are NO people who will spend their whole lives ONLY reading and writing Simple without learning more English by osmosis or default or job requirements or whatever. That is, I do not expect Simple English to be a language of its own like Esperanto. If you do, that is interesting, but no one else has said that.

"But without a good grasp of English, they really aren't going to be "ideal" contributors, or even necessarily become "good" unless they acquire MORE THAN SIMPLE English." -- Yes. So what? Many contributors to En Wiki aren't "ideal" or "good" either. So what? It's not our place to be gatekeepers about who can/can't/should/shouldn't contribute. In fact, it's stupid of us to even try, since we can't accomplish this. -- RJWiki

There will be other people who go through a stage of being Simple users (broadly speaking), while learning more Full. (I did.  :-) ) "The contributors will *always* have a better grasp of English than the users." I agree that while this will often be true, it will not always or necessarily be true.
It's statistically always going to be true. If you argue with that, you aren't arguing with me, but with statistics and the definition of Simple English vs. Full English itself. It doesn't belong here anyway.
In the Full English Wikipedia, I am both a User and a Contributor. Sometimes I write for the Wiki. Other times I just want to look something up. I assume that many users here will be the same. -- RJWiki
Initially, yes. But they are overwhelmed by literally millions of times by the users who will see printed copies only, CD copies only, or just read it online without ever contributing. The number of users in your position are statistically insignificant. And always will be. I repeat, it will *never* be an equal power situation, for the *vast majority* of Simple English Users. So your comfort with a statement that seems to imply most users aren't contributors, is not really relevant. If we were writing this for you, we'd be writing it without all this Simple stuff...


I think this entry should have some examples to help the idea sink in before delving into the comparisons to other systems. At the very least, the comparison to Basic English with the confusing 'beed' stuff should be moved to a separate paragraph from the definition; like the comparison to Simple English.


I think there is a misunderstanding what Basic English is. There are no such word as "bees" or "beed" in Basic English. The point is that Basic English counts the different irregular forms of English as one word. So be, are, is, am, was are just considered as one word. So are e.g. man, men - I, we - he, she, it, they and some more. It is one of the tricks by which the number of words is reduced to merely 850. Hansjörg from German Wikipedia


The Basic Dictionary by C.K. Ogden, 1932, ISBN 4-590-00862-9, page 8.

become, v. Basic words.

In any Webster's Dictionary. become /is/ made from BE + COME

Also, been /is/ past participle of BE

For these reasons, by both Basic and Full English, the E-Prime words of become and been must be taken from the E-Prime word list. Become has /been/ put forward on many E-Prime pages and been /is/ not yet on the keep-out list.

I said there are NO people who will spend their whole lives ONLY reading and writing Simple without learning more English by osmosis or default or job requirements or whatever. Oh, really? One of the target audiences for SEW is people with learning disabilities. A fair number of these folks will never progress past a basic level of reading/writing in any language. Furthermore, even people without learning disabilities but who learn to read and write as adults may find it exceptionally difficult to progress beyond a basic literacy level. Does limited/impaired literacy mean that people have nothing to contribute? I think Albert Einstein would disagree. OhSusanne 23:39, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Simplified[change source]

Somebody said that this article wasn't simple enough. I've simplified it now but didn't use a word list so it might not conform to Simple English's rules. Feel free to revert it or change it if it's not. 81.159.121.205 14:05, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Does E Prime replace every instance/case/form of "to be" with the words "becomes", "remains", and "equivalent"? Can someone provide an example of a sentence in E Prime? It seems to me like it would sound extremely awkward, let alone be incorrect. Is that what's best for ESL/non-fluent English speakers to be exposed to? It would be confusing, not helpful. "To be" is quintessential to English, so take it or leave it. You can simplify the language, but not modify it to an incorrect form. It sounds absurd, or maybe I just don't understand what it is.64.12.116.201 00:35, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

E Prime is not "beginners' English"[change source]

This entry was scarily inaccurate. I have edited it to reflect information generally available about E Prime and will add cites later.

I find it curious that a substantial debate has been waged on this page about whether E Prime rules should be incorporated into SEW without much discussion of what E Prime actually is. It's not a beginners' English, nor was it conceived as a way to eliminate the passive voice in English writing. E Prime is a linguistic manifestation of General Semantics. Most people (regardless of language) don't even know what General Semantics is and they'd heartily disagree with any attempt to take the concept of "being" out of general use.

Actually, GS philosophy is completely at odds with the creation of an encyclopedia, period. If nothing is really "real"-- if all we can be sure of are our own perceptions -- then what business do we have creating a document that states, unequivocably, that an octopus has eight arms or the sky is blue or that there are one-billion-and-something people in China?

In any event, do we really need to involve some child trying to write a report on sea turtles in this navel-gazing, bong-passing discussion? "The sea turtle equals a marine lizard....It remains an egg-laying animal....It appears to have been hunted to near extinction.."

Moreover, it is laughable to say that English uses far too many forms of the verb "to be". Far too many for whom? Is there some sort of international standard? And, speaking of international standards, could everyone please sign their posts -- it's very confusing to read through the discussion above. OhSusanne 23:20, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

=I'll go along with Dr. Isaac Asimov when he says that English is the best language for expressing ideas, because he says that English usually has the best word that is appropriate to the thought. WFPMWFPM (talk) 14:30, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

About my modifications[change source]

I added the versions of the sentences below in E-Prime to give concrete examples, why was that undone ? I understand the other undos, but not this one. 81.50.147.222 (talk) 13:48, 20 April 2012 (UTC)