The English version of Wikipedia, the online reference resource that anyone can edit, now contains almost 2.2 million articles. The French version has just over 600,000, the Polish about 450,000. On the bottom tier, the versions boasting between 20,000 and 40,000 articles include Bosnian, Basque, Vietnamese - and something called Simple English.
If you're wondering what the latter means, here's the Simple English explanation: "Articles in the Simple English Wikipedia use fewer words and easier grammar than the Ordinary English Wikipedia." It's intended for students, children and people who are learning English, but it's also used by people who find that the basic grammar and vocabulary "helps them to understand unfamiliar topics or complex ideas".
In contrast to the accumulative and needlessly prolix articles often found in regular Wikipedia, the Simple English version tends to stick to commonly accepted facts and rarely tells you more than you want to know. Lindsay Lohan's entry runs to just three sentences, one of which is "She plays the guitar very well and has done many singing parts." In contrast, the standard Wikipedia version of her life is 4,000 words long.
Simple English is based on Basic English, an international language devised by Charles Ogden in the 1920s, which is confined to just 850 words, and a Voice of America protocol for overseas broadcasts called Special English. Those writing for the Simple English Wikipedia are advised to limit themselves to about 1,000 common words and to avoid idioms and ambiguity of meaning. Of course, one could argue that certain of life's complexities simply cannot be conveyed in this manner, but then again, what you don't know about Lindsay Lohan won't hurt you.
Read more here.