Monday, September 29, 2008

Making Money Via The Voice of America

Through my daily keyword searches, I came across a very cool story about how U.S. currency is made at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing.

The story is told by the Special English program of the Voice of America. This program was begun in 1959 as an experiment to communicate by radio in clear and simple English with people whose native language was not English. I first read the transcript of the broadcast and then listened to the radio version. Two very different experiences. Here's how the Voice of America describes its Special English program:

It has a core vocabulary of 1500 words. Most are simple words that describe objects, actions or emotions. Some words are more difficult. They are used for reporting world events and describing discoveries in medicine and science.

Special English writers use short, simple sentences that contain only one idea. They use active voice. They do not use idioms.

Special English broadcasters read at a slower pace, about two-thirds the speed of standard English. This helps people learning English hear each word clearly. It also helps people who are fluent English speakers understand complex subjects.

Perhaps more of us should try this approach!

Have a look and have a listen.

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