Guidelines and instructions
Easy-to-read Finnish (selkokieli) is easier to understand than standard Finnish. Easy-to-read 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 to Read actively monitors and engages in research and development work relating to easy-to-read language in domestic and international arenas.
Why is easy-to-read language needed?
Complex language prevents many people from fully functioning in Finnish society as citizens in their own right. The purpose of easy-to-read language is to help people who need it to gain information, read, express their own thoughts and participate. Easy-to-read language is accessible language. Accessibility and understandability are basic requirements for independent life and influence in society.
Easy-to-read 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-to-read language can be connected to:
- neurobiological causes (e.g. developmental disability, dysphasia, dyslexia, ADHD or other similar conditions)
- reduced language skills (e.g. memory disorders, aphasia)
- using Finnish or Swedish as a second or foreign language.
Most of the easy-to-read 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-to-read language and accessibility
Easy-to-read 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-to-read language represents.
Uses of easy-to-read language
Easy-to-read language can be used in both speech and text. Many different kinds of texts can be published in easy-to-read language: printed or web texts, videos, pictorials, audio texts etc. Easy-to-read language can be spoken in everyday conversations, interviews, teaching or customer service. In all situations where easy-to-read language is used the goal is to increase people’s possibilities to understand each other.