Wikipedia talk:Simple English Wikipedia/Archive1

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This is an archive of the related talk page. Please do not modify it. If you wish to restart discussion on a topic here, please copy the appropriate comments back onto the current talk page and then add your comments.

Simplified not simple[change source]

Is "simplified" an allowed simple word? Can't we just say Simple? --(talk)BozMo 09:48, 22 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Simple is an adjective, simplified is a past tense verb, you can't use them interchangably, what do you mean? I don't think simplified is used in any articles, just summaries and talk pages, which are intended for the contributers, not the readers. Once simple wiki gets big enough, the readers might start contributing, in which case we would need to do everything in simple english, but at the moment we can get away with assuming a good knowledge of english. -- Tango 11:42, 23 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry, it wasn't a comment at my navel, even if it sounded like one, I was referring to the first sentence of the article discussed here. Would simplified be better replaced by simple in that sentence? --(talk)BozMo 20:17, 23 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, I see. Yes, it might be better as Simple. -- Tango 21:57, 23 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Simple English should include Simple Formatting[change source]

Simple English should also include short sentances rather than long sentences, with each sentence starting on a new line, and with parallel sentences showing alternate words and phrases.

Let us put that another way:

  • Simple English should also include short sentences.
  • Simple English should avoid _______ long sentences.
  • Each simple sentence starting on a new line
  • There may be parallel sentences showing alternate words.
  • There may be parallel sentences showing a different choice of words.
  • There may be alternate sentences showing other selections of words.
  • Note the "______" or padding to make columns of words pair up.


  • The parallel sentences give a mini-lesson in the many ways that English can say things.
  • The "tabled" sentences provide a tutorial in the many ways that English can say the same thing.
  • ___ "tabled" _________ provide a turorial _____________________________________ the same thing.
  • ___ parallel _________ give a mini-lesson _____________________________________ things.


  • Note the use of "______" to eleminate matched words, leaving the unmatched words to stand out.


Dar1435 23:48, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Although I agree that this could be useful to a point, I think it is going a little bit overboard. We are writing an encyclopedia here. Even though its usage in this case is particularly directed towards people who are learning English, etc., as a sort of help, this is meant to be a repository of information, not a course in learning English syntax and vocabulary. We are (as is mentioned below by someone who forgot to sign their comment) trying not to insult a sophisticated reader, even though we are also trying to make sure that students, etc., get what we are saying. --Cromwellt|talk 23:19, 12 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Students vs. Children[change source]

Isn't there a great difference in writing simple for English language students and writing simple for children? Every student whose native language has a large number of Greek and Latin derived terms can understand "geothermal reactor". To a child, it has to be explained. On the other hand, every kid knows what a spruce and a birch is, but a non-native speaker with even a good level of fluency might associate with "spray" and "birth", for example. --Salleman 01:18, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think this is a 'core' problem for most people looking at Simple for the first time. The question is, of course, what knowledge are we assuming is already present on the part of the reader? And even then we should avoid unwarranted assumptions.
I've been thinking about hail. (This may not be the best example, but here goes) I can think of several possible audiences.
  • A sophisticated (adult) person who knows what hail is, will recognize the thing immediately upon seeing the article, but who might still like to see how the word is used and what English words it is associated with.
  • An less-sophisticated person who may need to read several sentences to be 'sure' they know what is being talked about.
  • A person who has never seen or known about hail.
It seems to me that the article should be written to satisfy all of these. The article should be written to include the 'encyclopedic' information needed by the "never seen" reader, while developing the topic so that it can be followed by the less-experienced English reader, and while not being insulting to the 'adult'.
I'm still thinking about some of the following two points.
  • Simple should not be "written for children." Assume that somewhere/somehow a child is introduced to English, gets whole or partial command of the Basic English vocabulary, and _then_ comes here.
  • That the word 'simple' in Simple is not "feeble-minded" or stupid. Rather simple as in easier to read and digest while expanding and solidifying knowledge of English.
All that said, I'm still stuck at how to write 'simply'. I want to describe the size of hail, but avoid use terms like "marble sized", "golf ball-sized" or "baseball-sized". But if I start describing sizes as "size of a small tooth", or "small toe", or "fist-sized", that might start to sound like I'm talking to a child?
I'm in full agreement with the above commments on readability and audiences. We need to keep these articles balanced between our various audience groups. --Cromwellt|talk 23:19, 12 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why not just use metric measurements? "On average hail-stones are between 5mm and 1cm in diameter". It's unambigious, and what's a "small toe" to a pygmy *and* a northern European? 203.97.69.159 03:39, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]