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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.
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VOA Special English, Age Happiness Sleep

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voa special english 2013 today full

voa special english 2013 today full.

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

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1625 news items

Thu, 14 Aug 2014 21:41:15 -0700

This is NEWS Plus Special English. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing. Here is the news. The Authority of the Panama Canal has announced potential new investment plans to ensure the key waterway stays competitive in the future. The plans include a possible fourth ...
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:22:30 -0700

This is NEWS Plus Special English. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing. Here is the news. Fast food chains in China have stopped using products supplied by a Shanghai meat processing plant over allegations that it was supplying stale meat and mislabeling ...

The Moscow Times

The Moscow Times
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:07:30 -0700

Recreation park "Sokolniki" will be held the annual festival of British culture «Thank you, Leto». This year, visitors of the park will see a new program created by the magazine Eclectic. For two days the space of park "Sokolniki" will turn into a ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:07:30 -0700

Actress Li hongyan(C) performs Peking Opera "Resisting Jin Troops" at Lincoln Center in New York, the United States, August 20, 2014, celebrating the 120th anniverary of Peking Opera master-Mei Lanfang. [Photo: Xinhua]. China's Peking Opera show ...

The New Indian Express

The New Indian Express
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 17:30:48 -0700

How else do you explain that even for the entry-level diplomats, the Indian Foreign Service probationers, generally those who score very well in the UPSC, special English classes had to be introduced at the Foreign Service Institute? What will they ...


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:07:30 -0700

Attorney General Eric Holder, center, meets with Special Agent in Charge William P. Woods, left, and Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Molly Moran at the FBI building in St. Louis, Mo., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. [Photo: Pablo Martinez ...


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:22:30 -0700

The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) arrives in Hong Kong for a port visit on Aug. 20, 2014. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]. The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, has ...
Korea Times
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 01:26:15 -0700

"Only a small number of the elite students receive special English education. But I was not one of them," he noted. Despite the South Korean government's efforts to help the defectors adapt to its society, a vast majority of them struggle badly with ...

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