Plain language

Plain language helps communication in intercultural situations. It is intended to make written and spoken texts accessible to as many people as possible.

Plain language must be distinguished from simple language, even though both terms are often used synonymously. Some of the rules of plain language can also be applied to simple language. Plain language corresponds to the language level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Simple language, on the other hand, uses more complex formulations and more difficult terms. It meets the requirements of language level A2/B1 of the CEFR. More detailed information on the distinction between the two terms is provided by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (The Federal Agency for Civic Education) and the IQ Network.

In contrast to simple language, a set of rules applies to plain language. This should help to ensure that learning difficulties, reading difficulties or a lack of German language skills do not constitute obstacles to accessing texts. The use of plain language is one way to prevent comprehension problems and promote successful communication.

On the webpage "einfachmachen. Gemeinsam die UN Behindertenrechtskonvention umsetzen” [making it simple.

Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities together] of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs you will find a guide to plain language. To begin with the guidebook addresses the question of why plain language should be used. In the following, concrete rules are mentioned and hints are given. The guide can be downloaded here free of charge.

The Netzwerk Leichte Sprache [Plain Language Network] provides comprehensive information on plain language. In addition to background information on plain language, the rules, and the offer of checking texts, you can also find various publications in plain language here.

The Office for Plain Language of the Lebenshilfe organisation offers various services such as translating texts into plain language or checking texts according to plain language.

The publication "Leichte Sprache für Institutionen des Arbeitsmarkts. Handreichung zur Einführung Leichter Sprache im Rahmen von Interkulturellen Öffnungsprozessen." [Plain language for labour market institutions. Handout on the introduction of plain language in the context of intercultural opening processes] of the IQ Netzwerk is aimed specifically at employees in mainstream institutions.

They are supplemented by the brochures "Plain language for labour market institutions. Rules and examples for employees". The publication aims to assist staff in mainstream institutions in integrating plain language into their daily work. It contains rules for written and oral use as well as small exercises.

The Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) has produced a webpage in plain language on which it presents itself and its services.

Plain language dictionaries

The website Hurraki of Hep Hep Hurra e.V. offers a digital dictionary for plain language. Hurraki uses the Wiki system that is known from the Wikipedia website. This allows users to create their own entries. It is also possible to have sentences checked.

The Lebenshilfe association also provides a "Wörterbuch zur Leichten Sprache" [Plain Language Dictionary] online. Here you will find explanations in plain language in alphabetical order.