2. Simplified Language

When do you need simplified language?


  • Simplified language is needed in situations where one participant’s ability to communicate is significantly weaker than the other’s.
  • Simplified language enables someone without good language skills to take part in conversation and become a full member of a community.

Simplified language is…

  • easy to understand

  • clear and simplified spoken or written language

  • structurally uncomplicated

  • adapted to the recipient’s language skills

  • easier than common language

  • not ambiguous

How to write a text in simplified language


  • use familiar and common words and expressions

  • avoid slang, dialect, work jargon, symbolic and abstract expressions

  • explain any difficult word you have to use

  • use short sentences

  • avoid difficult grammatical structures

  • avoid metaphors

  • proceed logically in your writing

  • avoid changes when indicating place and time

How to speak simplified language

  • speak about one subject at a time

  • speak as short and systematically as possible

  • take the language level of the person you are talking to into account

  • do not speak as to a child, if you are talking to an adult

  • don’t use slang or dialect

  • when speaking about place and time or cause and consequence make
    sure that you are understood

  • ask checkup questions

  • use familiar, everyday words

  • if you need to use difficult, abstract words, expressions or metaphors,
    explain them

  • explain acronyms

  • enhance the core words

  • use correct technical terms

  • pause before a new subject

  • speak slowly, but not unnaturally or exaggeratedly

  • give time to listen, understand and ask questions

  • use facial expressions, gestures, appropriate accent and tone of voice
    (do not exaggerate)

  • draw or show pictures and point at objects, if possible

  • do not panic if you are not immediately understood
    (give the person time to get used to your way of speaking and vice versa)

  • show that you really want to understand and it is important to you that you
    are understood, as well

  • don’t hesitate to look up difficult words in a dictionary