Easy-to-understand language in speech and interaction

Easy-to-understand speech supports the progression of conversation in situations where there are people present who need easy-to-understand language.
Easy-to-understand speech

  • helps the people in conversation to build mutual understanding and solve problems with comprehension
  • encourages the people in conversation to interact and inspires them to take the initiative
  • increases the experience of positive and rewarding interaction among the people in conversation regardless of linguistic difficulties.

Some of the guidelines for writing  in easy language are also well suited for spoken language. For example, long and abstract words are difficult in both written and spoken language. Some of the guidelines for written language are not suited or sufficient in the case of spoken language.

Easy-to-read language and conversation analysis

The guidelines for easy-to-understand speech are in part based on conversation analytical research on conversational asymmetry. Conversational asymmetry refers to conversations where the skills of the communication partners are at very different levels, like when one of the partners is speaking his/her mother tongue, which for the other partner is a foreign language.

Overview of theoretical literature on easy-to-understand speech and in interaction (in Finnish).