Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Story of 1000 words

The story below has exactly 1000 words. It has 708 different words, including all of 300 most common English words (it was necessary to check(1) several(2) lists(3), because there is quite a lot of variation between them). Moreover, the other words come from the 1000 most frequent English words. However, the sentences turn out not to be at all easy to read. This is because I've had to twist and maneuver to squeeze in words tightly by hook or crook.  Lots of adjectives, adverbs, clauses and slightly odd collocations.

Looking more closely, 43 words are repeated. In fact, the most common 8 words are repeated more than 10 times. In order, they are:
  1. a (42)
  2. the (41)
  3. and (29)
  4. to (24)
  5. I (23)
  6. of (15)
  7. he (11)
  8. in (11)
Other words repeated 5 or more times include: or, on, you, it, that, at, his, with, by, for, is, our. In total, 44 words occur more than once, and they number one third of the 1000 word word-count. However, the other words, approximately 650 of them, don't repeat.

Some words occur in another form. For example, a verb may occur in the past or continuous form, and a noun may be a plural.

It may be interesting for a learner of English to check if he or she knows them all, and can spell, pronounce, and use them. The most common words by far are the articles 'a' and 'the', It's probably important to know their function, as it's impossible to create English text without them! Prepositions and pronouns are also both important.

Finally, the English used in the story is not completely natural, but that would have been too difficult. My aim in writing it was simply to use as many of the most common English words as I could, repeating myself as little as possible, and not using a single word that was not included in the 1000 most common words of English.

Is this story true? Maybe.

I live in a house on land close to a city population several million citizens. My community, where I hold a role of authority, pushes to teach Social Education, War History and Language of Art at an American college. However, the local school body actually includes members from many top eastern and western nations.

Recently, I spend my free time with groups of old friends who often meet across town in a building with lots of space, and wide rooms of various colors and shapes, including fine views, naturally. Among themselves, people might play games with easy rules, winning or losing a little money. Others probably catch news programs on television, watch sports reports or else sit listening to popular music. On warm summer evenings, everyone reads difficult books. We bring these to study, learning common facts needed for research reasons. Every party may continue until a late hour when the power turns off after five AM. It’s sure set up nice. Believe me, almost nothing happens to break the law. Not yet, anyway! Why not join our interesting society?

Last month, I remember, a man from the International World Government stepped through our door. He brought a list on paper and produced a form to check, mark and fill. He entered to find some person, a young woman described as measuring half his weight. According to him, her ‘kid’ had really caused something of a problem. “Talk against the system,” he stated, “Which developed into a political issue of great importance.  Perhaps he was offering to sell major military maps and data to the wrong buyers.” The whole business sounded fishy. I explained that I provided a service, and didn’t know about such serious things.

He came here again, picking a period right near the end of the third week, so a smaller number than usual of girl students and guys stood around. At once I cut short the public meeting. “Return later,” I suggested, with a class test to control.

During a single term, he visited and even called and pressed me on line and by private phone. I wasn’t glad, because I didn’t like its sound (or his pushy company). Those days, his questions kept me busy and involved. I sometimes became very hard of hearing!

“I understand that this case is unusual, Mr.  But the process has taken too much thought. If you require more information, would you kindly identify another office?”

Well, he finally saw my point. “Yes, of course,” he agreed. “Makes sense. You are correct. I should leave today and in future consider trying a different plan. I think that’s the best idea. Thanks for your patient attention.”

Over in the north part of the country, a mother and son were resting. Since early that morning, each had walked at quite a rate a long way without water to drink, enough food to eat. The couple sat by the road’s side beneath a tree in hot, sunny weather, and it took ages before either spoke a word. The family had gone on foot as far as humanly possible. The woman held the boy’s hands between hers and asked, “How do you feel? You seem less happy”

“Although I don’t mind the effort, everything’s grown dark,” he answered. I mean, the level appears changed in effect. My poor left eye just went bad, always writing at night. I hope I can use it. The other one still receives light clearly, though. At least its condition is healthy.”

The woman looked carefully into his face a moment. She was able to see her father and husband there. All three owned exactly the same full mouths, straight noses and large heads.

“I want to build a field base centred in a better area, whether mountain, plains or island, no difference. Mainly we have to go to ground—earth?— under cover certainly. Within a year, we’ll create a new home and stay for good. We’ll experience a fresh start. 

Only, our first job is to get away, traveling south ten, a hundred, a thousand miles, crossing streets, rivers, sleeping below a deep blue moon with stars. I miss the farm’s birds, fish, a few dogs and horses. Have you ever planted wood, oiled machine wheels, flown planes, enjoyed the cold rain and wind? It’s special to lay the table by the fire, lie dry in a heated bed, snow outside, laughing, singing songs, drawing pictures of animals, for example.

“Please do whatever I decide. For a while, life won’t be simple. I can’t help that.  Also, let’s act quickly, or our work will remain incomplete.”

But a minute ago, along from behind, a speedy object raced by—a fast, black car modeled on the latest computer technology. Suddenly, it turned round and soon stopped. A team whose image and actions directly from the movie and film industry, sent to that place to fight or kill them, got out.

She counted six especially strong white men,

“Oh, most likely they’ve followed us already! Come, we must run!”

Someone noticed them move. “Wait or you die.”

In front, the leader showed his king-size gun, raised it, and pointed it toward… his former wife!

In a low, pained voice, he forced himself to say, “I expected our loving relationship to grow with age.” Four arms reached slowly into the air. “Begin by telling your real names,” he told the two, adding, “Pull open that big red box you’re carrying, now. Pass us the gold inside. Give it back.”

“I’ll never allow you!” the woman shouted, and next second threw it into the sea. Then, both individuals jumped down and fell to their deaths. No ship or boat, they hit deadly rocks.

As a result, parent and child together paid the highest price. On record, the police’s official position is that drugs could have been a factor at the heart of the matter. In any event, the economy cannot support this type of situation or activity.