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Plain English? A Study of Plain English Vocabulary and International Audiences

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Plain English and Simplified English systems are often advocated for improved communications with international audiences and other non-native speakers of American English. This study investigates two features of Plain English: the use of phrasal verbs in place of more formal verb forms, and the choice of more “common” English vocabulary, usually Germanic in derivation. Tests administered to speakers of French and German indicate that non-native speakers of English may not acquire the idiomatic meanings of phrasal verbs and that French speakers showed a significant preference for latinate vocabulary items.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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