Explaining the ten hundred words used by Thing Explainer

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lexyacc
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:44 pm UTC

Explaining the ten hundred words used by Thing Explainer

Postby lexyacc » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:19 am UTC

The Thing Explainer book (http://blog.xkcd.com/2015/05/13/new-book-thing-explainer) explains "Complicated Stuff in Simple Words" using only the 1000 ("ten hundred") most common English words.

But what if the 1000 word vocabulary is still too complex and you want to explain things in even simpler terms? You might take a look at the http://learnthesewordsfirst.com dictionary. It explains the 2000 most common English words using a set of only 360 words (the "semantic atoms and molecules" from the lessons). And there are no circular definitions. It is intended for 2nd-language learners, but interesting from the perspective of explaining things using reductive paraphrase.

It's a project much in the same spirit as the Thing Explainer: explaining stuff in simple words.

Fieari
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:16 am UTC
Location: Okayama, Japan

Re: Explaining the ten hundred words used by Thing Explainer

Postby Fieari » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:07 am UTC

As an ESL teacher, this is an amazing resource, thank you!

Incidentally, I wonder if people have made similar lists for other languages. I'd love one for Japanese, since I live there and still don't have a full conversational vocabulary yet. Various vocabularly lists keep focusing on words that are probably too specialized, nothing like this list. If I could learn 360 japanese words and then be able to fully communicate any topic by breaking it down this way, I'd be thrilled!
Surely it is as ridiculous to consider sqrt(-1) "imaginary" because you can't use it to count pieces of chalk as to consider the number 200 imaginary because by itself it cannot express the location of one point with reference to another. -Isaac Asimov

mok-kong shen
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:19 am UTC

Re: Explaining the ten hundred words used by Thing Explainer

Postby mok-kong shen » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

I have a (layman's) question concerning the additional 2000 words list of learnthesewordsfirst.com: There are eat, ate, eaten, but how about eats, eating?

lexyacc
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:44 pm UTC

Re: Explaining the ten hundred words used by Thing Explainer

Postby lexyacc » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:22 pm UTC

On the learnthesewordsfirst.com website, the table-of-contents page only lists irregular inflections of each headword (for example, "eat, ate, eaten"). When you click to go to the lesson, you will see all of the word's inflected forms, both regular and irregular (for example, "eat, eats, to eat, eating, ate, eaten").

More info about regular and irregular inflections on this page:

http://learnthesewordsfirst.com/about/h ... onary.html

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TvT Rivals
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Re: Explaining the ten hundred words used by Thing Explainer

Postby TvT Rivals » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:40 am UTC

We are not advocating that all books for beginners should be written like the Thing Explainer, but this is a good idea, systematically explaining big words with most common ones. A concept that could be expanded too.

PS: Firefox doesn't seem to recognize the word "Explainer". We should write them to check their list.


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