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Special English is a controlled version of the English language first used on October 19, 1959, and still presented daily by the United States broadcasting service Voice of America (VOA). World news and other programs are read one-third slower than regular VOA English. Reporters avoid idioms and use a core vocabulary of about 1500 words,[1] plus any terms needed to explain a story. The intended audience is intermediate to advanced learners of English. Transcripts, MP3s, archives and podcasts of programs are provided at voaspecialenglish.com


VOA Special English has multiple daily newscasts and 14 weekly features. These include reports on agriculture, economics, health and current events. Other programs explore American society, U.S. history, idiomatic expressions, science, and arts and entertainment.

For example, a May 18, 2010, script described rheumatoid arthritis this way:

"Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful disease that can destroy joints. Women are three times more likely to get it than men. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease, a disease where the body attacks healthy cells. The exact cause is unknown. But in a recent study, an experimental drug showed signs of halting the disorder in laboratory mice."

A program from July 15, 2010, dealt with patent law:

"Recently, the United States Supreme Court decided a case on the property rights of inventors. The question was whether a business method is enough of an invention to receive a patent. Patents are a form of intellectual property. They give legal protections to individuals and companies against the copying of their inventions.”

A remembrance of Michael Jackson aired on July 5, 2009, shortly after his death:

"Today we tell about one of the most famous performers in the world, Michael Jackson. Known as the 'King of Pop,' Jackson sold more than seven hundred fifty million albums over his career. Michael Jackson redefined popular culture with his energetic music, dance moves and revolutionary music videos. But Jackson’s huge success as a performer was not always easy. He was a complex individual with an often troubled private life."

For English learners, the service not only provides clear and simple news and information, it also helps them improve their use of American English. In some countries such as the People's Republic of China, VOA Special English is increasingly popular for junior and intermediate English learners. Many teachers around the world, including at the university level, use the programs for language and content.

The BBC and China Radio International have both used the name "Special English" for their slow speed English broadcasts, but they do not appear to have applied the full methodology of the VOA original.

Specialized English[edit]

Specialized English is a dialect of Special English developed and used by Feba Radio, and now used by Words of Hope and The Back to God Hour. The same parameters apply as for Special English — slow speed, short sentences and restricted vocabulary. The word list has over 90% commonality with that of VOA Special English.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Wordlist at VOA

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_English — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
1000000 videos foundNext > 

VOA Special English, Age Happiness Sleep

http://www.youtube.com/user/esliq?sub_confirmation=1 http://learnenglishworld.com https://www.facebook.com/ESLEnglishIQ https://twitter.com/LearnEnglishNet.

VOA Special English - Californians Tale - Mark Twain

A lost wanderer, the Enchantment of the Stanislaus, and an eternal love lost. A marvelous tale by Mark Twain... To find on VOA website go to http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/californian-...

VOA Special English 2014 - AS IT IS - International Students - Community Colleges and Alternatives

VOA AS IT IS - 5 April 2014 Just as the name states, community colleges are local. So, they are easy to get to. A person does not need to move to a different...

VOA Special English 2014 - AS IT IS - All About the World Wide Web - Internet Future

It all started in March of 1989. British scientist Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. Scient...

AS IT IS - January 28, 2013 - VOA News Program in Special English

From VOA Learning English, welcome to AS IT IS! AS IT IS our new magazine show in Special English. Today and in the days to come, we will be expanding on maj...

VOA Khmer Special English on 31 July 2013, Obesity Rises Among Children in Developing Countries

Please subscribe for free to get hot news,voa news and rfa news. Please Subscribe this channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AsiaFreeNews VOA Burmese news TV ...

voa special english 2013 today full

voa special english 2013 today full.

VOA Special English - Economics Report - Học nghe tiếng Anh có phụ đề

https://www.facebook.com/worldlinkvietnam.worldlink From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report in Special English. Can you think your way to wea...

VOA special English - Education report - Học nghe tiếng Anh có phụ đề

https://www.facebook.com/worldlinkvietnam.worldlink Millions of students have been taught a formula that has nothing to do with chemistry. The formula is for...

VOA Special English + 395 Health Report

1000000 videos foundNext > 

1377 news items

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:12:01 -0700

You're listening to NEWS Plus Special English. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing. You can access our program by logging onto NEWSPlusRadio.cn. You can also find us on our Apple Podcast. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know by e-mailing ...
NBC 7 San Diego
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 18:33:38 -0700

A Poway class got a sweet English lesson on Tuesday: a live video chat with Taylor Swift. (Published Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014). Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014 • Updated at 6:29 AM PDT. A Poway middle school class got an extra special English lesson on Tuesday ...


Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:01:11 -0700

A good example that I love is Voice of America's Special English radio program, in which announcers read very simple stories and… read… them… very… slowly… and… deliberately for listeners to whom English is a second language. It's often pure gold.


Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:45:00 -0700

Junichi Ihara (far R), director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and So Tae Ha (far L), chairman of North Korea's special investigation committee into the whereabouts of Japanese nationals abducted by ...


Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:56:15 -0700

The AeroMobil 3.0 is pictured in a garage in Slovakia in this handout provided by Aeromobil October, 2014. [Photo: CFP]. A new and improved flying car prototype that its inventors hope will revolutionise the transport industry was unveiled on Tuesday ...

Swindon Advertiser

Swindon Advertiser
Sun, 12 Oct 2014 22:06:15 -0700

SWINDON Mayor Teresa Page visited a group of women from the Nepalese community taking part in a special English class to show her support. Each week around 30 women from the community take part either in a beginners' class or an intermediate class ...


Thu, 30 Oct 2014 01:15:00 -0700

Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un has overseen a flight drill by the Korean People's Army (KPA). [Photo: Rodong Sinmun]. Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un has ...
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:41:15 -0700

Authorities in China have succeeded in getting extradited or persuading 180 economic fugitives to return to China and face trial since launching a campaign called "Fox Hunt" in July. The number of the fugitives being repatriated during the first 100 ...

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