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Simplified English is a controlled language originally developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals. It offers a carefully limited and standardized subset of English.

Proponents claim that Simplified English can:

Simplified English has a lexicon of approved words and those words can only be used in certain ways. For example, the word close can be used to mean "shut" (as in "Close the door"), but not "near" (as in "do not go close to the landing gear"). The lexicon also includes non-approved words: words that are commonly used but should be avoided, because they are redundant or ambiguous. For each of these non-approved words, there is at least one suggested approved synonym. For all words, the lexicon includes examples showing the word in a practical sentence.

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Aerospace and defense standard

Simplified English is sometimes used as a generic term for a controlled language. The aerospace and defense standard started as an industry-regulated writing standard for aerospace maintenance documentation, but has become mandatory for an increasing number of military land and sea vehicle programs as well. Although it was not intended for use as a general writing standard, it has been successfully adopted by other industries and for a wide range of document types. The US government’s Plain English[1] lacks the strict vocabulary restrictions of the aerospace standard, but it represents an attempt at a more general writing standard.

The regulated aerospace standard has been called AECMA Simplified English, because the European Association of Aerospace Manufacturers (AECMA) originally created the standard in the 1980s. The AECMA standard originally came from Fokker, which had based their standard on earlier controlled languages, especially Caterpillar Fundamental English. In 2005, AECMA was subsumed by the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), which renamed its standard to ASD Simplified Technical English or STE. STE is defined by the specification ASD-STE100, which is maintained by the Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group (STEMG). The standard contains a set of restrictions on the grammar and style of procedural and descriptive text. It also contains a dictionary of approx. 875 approved general words. Writers are given guidelines for adding technical names and technical verbs to their documentation. STE is mandated by several commercial and military specifications that control the style and content of maintenance documentation, most notably ASD S1000D.

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Simple English


Disambiguation: see also simple English

Simplified English is a set of approved words and writing rules. Its makers made it to help engineers write manuals (instruction books) so that people all over the world can read them.

Some people think that:

  • It can decrease doubt.
  • It can make reading faster.
  • It can help understanding for people whose first (native) language is not English.
  • It can make translation easier for humans.
  • It can make computer-helped translation and machine translation better.

The rules say to only use the words in simplified English in approved ways. This decreases misunderstanding. For example, the rules approve the use of the verb close ("Do not close the door"). The rules approve the use of the adjective closed, meaning "not open" ("The door is not closed"). The adjective close means near ("Do not go close to the door"). The rules disapprove the use of the adjective close. The rules approve the use of the adjective near ("Do not go near the door") for this meaning. The rules specify the use of the adjective near instead of the adjective close. This way, the reader can be sure if the instructions say to keep the door open or to stay far from the door.

People started developing simplified English in the 1970s. People continue developing simplified English today. AECMA is the "European Association of Aerospace Manufacturers". AECMA began work on simplified English. ASD is the "AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe". ASD has a Maintenance Group called STEMG that continues work on simplified English. STEMG is the "Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group". STEMG maintains the ASD-STE100, the latest simplified English.

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