Simple English Wikipedia was launched in 2003 as a resource for "people with different needs, such as students, children, adults with learning difficulties, and people who are trying to learn English." Contributors are advised to use common words and short sentences, but not necessarily to skimp on information. Even native English speaking adults can find it useful when the regular English Wikipedia leaves them scratching their heads over existentialism or the Higgs-Boson particle.
But Simple English Wikipedia offers more than information. In some if its reformulations, especially of already simple concepts, there is an almost zen poetry. Laugh at the absurdity or marvel at the deep truths in these 16 side-by-side examples of the first few sentences from regular and simple English Wikipedia.
Regular: Firefighters are rescuers extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten property and civilian or natural populations and to rescue people from dangerous situations, like collapsed or burning buildings.
Simple: Firefighters or firemen are people whose job is to put out fires and rescue people.
Regular: The English word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure ("I loved that meal") to interpersonal attraction ("I love my partner"). It can refer to an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection — "the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another." And it may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.
Simple: Love is the feeling of liking somebody or something very much. People sometimes get married or go on a date when someone loves another. Love usually has something to do with the chemical reactions in the brain.
Regular: The internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.
Simple: The internet is a large group of computers that are connected to each other.
6. Horse racing
Regular: Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Greece, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC. In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing were major industries. Thoroughbred racing was, and is, popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings."
Simple: Horse racing is a sport in which a race is held between racehorses, horses bred for racing.
7. The 23rd century
Regular: The 23rd century is the century of the Christian Era or Common Era which, in the Gregorian calendar, begins on January 1, 2201 and ends on December 31, 2300.
Simple: The 23rd century is a century that lasts from January 1, 2201, to December 31, 2300.
8. Electric vehicle
Regular: An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion.
Simple: An electric vehicle is a vehicle that uses electricity for power.
9. Water well
Regular: A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring, or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers.
Simple: A well is a hole that is dug into the Earth to get water.
Regular: Dominoes (or dominos) generally refers to the collective gaming pieces making up a domino set (sometimes called a deck or pack) or to the subcategory of tile games played with domino pieces.
Simple: Dominoes is a game played with small tiles called dominoes.
11. Space invaders
Regular: Space Invaders is an arcade video game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978. It was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and was later licensed for production in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games and the aim is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible.
Simple: Space Invaders is a video game made by the Taito Corporation. Space Invaders is one of the most famous early video games. The game is about defending the Earth from Space Invaders by shooting them down before they can land.
12. Safety lamp
Regular: A safety lamp is any of several types of lamp that provides illumination in coal mines and is designed to operate in air that may contain coal dust or gases both of which are potentially flammable or explosive.
Simple: A safety lamp is a miner's lamp with a covered flame that used to be used in coal mines.
13. Poland national football team
Regular: The Poland national football team (Polish: Reprezentacja Polski w piłce nożnej) represents Poland in association football and is controlled by the Polish Football Association, the governing body for football in Poland.
Simple: Poland national football team is the national football team of Poland.
14. Circus (Britney Spears album)
Regular: Circus is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Britney Spears, released on November 28, 2008, by Jive Records. Looking to transition from her "more urban" fifth album Blackout (2007), Spears wanted to make her next studio effort "a little bit lighter," incorporating pop and dance-pop styles.
Simple: Circus is the 6th album by Britney Spears. It consists of dance pop.
Regular: The quince (pron.: /ˈkwɪns/), is a small, deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. The fruit is edible when cooked and there is a long history of this, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.
Simple: The quince is a fruit that grows on small trees. It is in the same family as apples and pears. It starts green colored and then ripens to a bright golden yellow color, and looks like a bumpy lemon, but it is not.
16. Balloon (aircraft)
Regular: A balloon is a type of aerostat that remains aloft due to its buoyancy. A balloon travels by moving with the wind. It is distinct from an airship, which is a buoyant aircraft that can be propelled through the air in a controlled manner.
Simple: A balloon is a kind of aircraft that stays in the sky by floating. People fly in balloons mostly for fun.