Guidelines and instructions

Easy Finnish (selkokieli) is easier to understand than standard Finnish. Easy Finnish is a form of Finnish where the language has been adapted so that it is easier to read and understand in terms of content, vocabulary and structure. It is targeted at people who have difficulties with reading or understanding standard language.

The Finnish Centre for Easy Language actively monitors and engages in research and development work relating to easy-to-read language in domestic and international arenas.

Why is easy language needed?

Complex language prevents many people from functioning fully  as citizens in their own rights in Finnish society. The purpose of easy language is to help people who need it to gain information, read, express their own thoughts and participate. The Easy language is a more accessible language. Accessibility and understandability are basic requirements for independent life and influence in society.

Easy language benefits people with inadequate language skills, increasing their opportunities to cope with situations in everyday life, studies and working life and to participate in society.

The need for easy language can be connected to:

  1. neurobiological causes (e.g. developmental disability, dysphasia, dyslexia, ADHD or other similar conditions)
  2. reduced language skills (e.g. memory disorders, aphasia)
  3. using Finnish or Swedish as a second or foreign language.

Most of the easy language material is suited for all the user groups. If the material is chiefly aimed at a specific group, it is good to pay attention to the target group and adapt contents according to the group’s needs. Born as a result is language that serves all the user groups better than standard language but especially takes into account the needs and challenges of the primary target group.

Easy language and accessibility

Easy language is a part of accessibility. Accessibility as such can be made up of, for example, accessibility of the physical environment, web accessibility and linguistic accessibility, i.e. understandable language, which easy language represents.

Uses of easy language

Easy language can be used in both speech and text. Many different kinds of texts can be published in easy language: printed or web texts, videos, pictorials, audio texts etc. Easy language can be used in everyday conversations, interviews, teaching or customer service. In all situations where easy language is used the goal is to increase people’s possibilities to understand each other.