-room) and worker (work-man). The word homoseme does not mean quite the same as synonym. Big, large and great are synonyms in the most everyday sense of the term; but the homosemes much and great are not. The reason why most of us hesitate to call them synonyms is that they are not always interchangeable. The rules of grammar prescribe a definite context for each. Much predicating largeness may be the qualifier of a verb or another epithet, great can predicate largeness of nouns alone.
As Chinese is handicapped with an overgrowth of homophones, Aryan languages are overloaded with homosemes, which produce difficulties of the opposite sort when a person new to their idiosyncrasies tries to learn them. In contact-vernaculars such as Beach-la-Mar or Pidgin-English, we get a practical demonstration of what happens when a multiplicity of semantically redundant word-forms defeats the comprehension of the newcomer; and we can apply the lesson to the design of a constructed language. Relatively little economy by reduction of homosemes is possible within the framework of acceptable English idiom; but the only limit to doing so in an artificial language is the need to keep a clear prospect of "sentence-landscape" in view. The author of Basic English has made the very best of a bad job by pruning the luxuriant overgrowth of English coenosemes to the limit consistent with educated speech.
The combination of both principles, i.e. reduction of homosemes as in Chinese and of coenosemes as in Basic, is a distinctive feature of Interglossa among artificial languages put forward to date. The outstanding characteristic of word-economy in Basic is the reduction of verb coenosemes by recourse to verbal operators. In combination with other words these eighteen operators do all the work of four thousand verbs in a French dictionary, and far more in an English one. In a constructed language we can do the same with noun coenosemes. Within the framework of English usage we can make postman, hangman, milkman, dustman with the common seme man; playhouse, bakehouse, alehouse with the common seme house; footwear, handwear, headwear with the common seme wear. In the design of a constructed language with a rich assortment of generic terms we are free to build up a host of other domestic and occupational compounds without adding new elements to our word-stock. By the use of the negative particle as a qualifier equivalent to the affixes un- or in- of untrue, unclean, incompatible, we can also eliminate the need for many "opposites" for which natural languages prescribe separate words.
At this point partisans of Basic English may ask why it is