necessary to list 880 vocables in place of the 850 essential items on the Basic English word-list.¹ The answer is that the figures are not comparable. Interglossa and Basic English start from different assumptions about how much work a single word can profitably do. If the end in view is to make things easy for the beginner we have to bear in mind two considerations:

(a) Suitable definition of familiar objects often calls for more effort than learning a new label;

(b) When no common thread of meaning connects one use with another, an additional label is not necessarily more difficult to learn than an additional use of the same vocable.

In its choice of abstract terms Basic English takes a highly indulgent attitude to what constitutes a common thread of meaning. When we apply one word sharp to a remark, to a tooth, and to a pain, the only thread of meaning common to all three situations is a vague value judgment; and if we let metaphor have full rein in this way it is easy to keep down the number of items on our word-list. Indeed, there is only one limit to the process of reduction. In the end we are left with two vocables, one for approval, the other for disapproval. Admittedly, we cannot set a limit to suggestive use of metaphor in daily life. Nor can we draw a clear-cut boundary between

¹ The list of essential vocables on pp. 249-256 contains 880 numbered items and an additional 74 of which the internationally current form is consonant with the phonetic pattern of Interglossa. Actually our list of 880 numbered items contains at least twenty words which are internationally current in the form prescribed, e.g.: agenda (809); bureau (816); cardo (740); coxa (533): data (827); fenestra (714); flora (581); lamina (757): libido (284); major (45); minor (46); minus (115); plus (118); propaganda (846); radio (386); spatula (775); telefon (855); telegram (856); zero (26). The names of the metals are simply the plural forms of the corresponding items in the international periodic table. Plural forms which are also internationally current include spectra (662) and entera (502). It is therefore fair to say that our list of essential vocables other than words which we can adopt from the international vocabulary of technics or commerce without any change of form contains less than 860 constructed elements in all. In reality the 850 word-list printed on a folded slip in the primers of Basic omits 17 necessary pronouns and possessives, 32 numerals and 56 flexional forms of the operative verbs. If we charitably overlook the fact that Basic operates at large with the -ing and -ed terminals without a general rule about what class of words invariably take them or about how they affect the meaning of the end-product, it is fair to say that Basic demands mastery of at least 950 distinct vocables, not counting calendrical items.