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An interesting but debatable economy in Basic English is the treatment of verbs. In Basic, the equivalent of a verb is a general operator combined with a qualifying word or expression. For example, movements through space can all be indicated by the operator 'go' with qualifications to describe how the movement was accomplished. Thus the word 'walk' becomes unnecessary because we can say 'go on foot.' 'Wander' also disappears to be replaced by 'go from place to place without aim.' The Basic equivalents get a little long-winded, but communication is certainly possible. Some critics feel that Basic's 18 operators are too economical and that a few more verbs might be added to avoid unfortunate idiomatic constructions. For example, Basic English does not use the verb 'try.' For the various uses of this word Basic would substitute 'make an attempt at' or 'put to the test' or 'be the judge of.' The experienced college papers writers are sure that a foreigner may be puzzled that he cannot 'put an attempt' or 'make to the test.' For English-speaking people, Basic is a handy auxiliary language that lacks the richness of Complex English. For the businessman dealing in foreign markets, for the diplomat arguing via translators, for the aviator landing at a foreign airport, etc., richness can be sacrificed for direct communication.
Whereas the emphasis in Basic English has been placed on reducing the size of the vocabulary, there has been an artistic and scientific swing in the opposite direction. The desire for verbal diversification in literature is typified by James Joyce. One word may be the logical equivalent of another word, but not, it is argued, the psychological equivalent. Paralleling the neologisms of the artist is the continued growth of the scientific vocabulary. The scientist often resorts to long and unusual words in order to express himself with greater precision. The price of verbal diversification, however, is a reduced audience.
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There seems to be a kind of linguistic equilibrium. An increase in the size of the vocabulary is balanced by a decrease in the size of the audience. A decrease in vocabulary is balanced by an increased audience. There seems to be no simple way to have a large vocabulary and a large audience at the same time. It is a feature of Basic English that it takes advantage of the relatively low redundancy of normal English. The principal difficulties with normal English are the tremendous size of its hybrid vocabulary and the irregularities of English spelling. These difficulties lose their significance in Basic.