controlled English

Subject: controlled English
From: Dickie Selfe <rselfe -at- MTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1993 09:38:49 -0600

This is a issue that came up on the CAP-L that I have permission to repost.
Ralph was asked by a student:

>>To Ralph Calistro:
>> Now you have me interested. What is controlled English? And how is
>>it different from regular English?

>I am assuming that since you did not ask about Simplified
>English you have an idea of what that involves. In any
>case, I have found that many who want to talk about a
>form of restrictive writing, i.e., a restrictive syntax,
>restrictive writing rules and a limited lexicon, will usually
>call that form of writing "Simplified English", and will
>equate controlled English with Simplified English. However,
>I usually distinguish the two, since "Simplified English" for
>me means A.E.C.M.A. Simplified English, i.e., the set of
>writing rules and limited vocabulary developped by the
>Association Europeenne des Constructeurs de Materiel Aerospatial
>(sorry, no accents) for aircraft maintenance documentation.

>There are, in addition, forms of controlled writing developped
>by companies such as Xerox (Multinational Customized English (MCE))
>and Caterpillar (Caterpillar Technical English (CTE)). Strictly
>speaking, these are not "Simplified English", and that is why I
>prefer the term "controlled English".

>It is clear that these forms of controlled English constitute
>a subset of "regular" English. They rule out what regular
>English would accept. To take a popular example, the
>following sentence is not acceptable in AECMA Simplified
> Test for leaks.

>Since the word test may be used only as a noun, one
>would have to say:
> Do a leak test.

>There is obviously much more here, but thank you, Peter,
>for giving me the opportunity to say something about it.
>Personally, I think that controlled forms of English
>are the future of technical writing.

>Ralph F. Calistro
>Northern Telecom
>Ottawa, Canada
>calistro -at- bnr -dot- ca

Dickie Selfe 102 Walker
rselfe -at- mtu -dot- edu Michigan Technological U.
906-487-3225 Houghton, MI 49931

Feel free to cross-post my messages, but please get permission before
quoting them in printed publications.

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