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Selkokieli – Plain Language and Finnish Easy Reading

Finnish Easy Reading Selkokeskus
Language style Literary style, simplified language, capturing the atmosphere conveyed by the original work. Plain language (selkokieli), obeying strictly the rules established by Selkokeskus. Each book is “Selko” certified.
Text Format Text follows the usual paragraph structure of a fiction book. Text is written with each sentence starting at the beginning of the row.
Vocabulary Words are explained as footnotes. No vocabulary included.
Practice Questions are included at the end of chapters, for reading comprehension practice.
Various exercises are included at the end of the book. They relate to phrases and language structures used in the book for efficient learning.
No exercises included.
Genre Fiction, Finnish classics Fiction; Children’s books; Non-fiction
Publisher One publisher (Artemira Publishing) Various publishers (Avain; Kehitysvammaliitto ry, Opike; Kirjokansi, Reuna, Kustannus Oy Pieni Karhu, etc.)
>> Browse the Finnish Easy Reading Book Collection >>

What is selkokieli – plain langauge?

As a foreign language student, one of the main thresholds to pass is getting to the level where one can read books in the target language. However, what means “reading books” in this context?

At first, it could be children’s books where images are explained with single words, or where short sentences describe a dull fact: “The cat is drinking milk”. The next step would be to pick slightly more complex books target to primary school children. And then, gradually climbing up the ladder towards young adult books… Like re-living the reading stages of the native language during childhood.

However, with a foreign language there’s one demotivating factor in this process: the topics are generally too plain and uninteresting.

Then, there are so called easy readers: fiction written in plain language, in general on various difficulty and complexity levels. But, what do we mean by plain language (selkokieli in Finnish)?

Here are some characteristics of the plain language.

  1. The purpose of the plain language is to make sure the reader understands the text as quickly, easily and completely as possible.
  2. Plain language avoids verbose (more words than necessary) and complex language with twisted or subtle meaning
  3. Plain language does not use jargon, and it is clear, concise and correct.
  4. Plain language is not baby talk or a simplified version of the language.

Finland has lately established the┬áCenter for Plain Language, Selkokeskus, with the aim to facilitate communication and support Finnish culture in plain language. There are several books (fiction and non-fiction, as well as children’s) published in Finnish plain language.

How are our Finnish Easy Reading books different from Selkokeskus collection?

The collection of books certified by Selkokeskus targets mainly an audience with difficulties in reading and understanding the standard language. This includes people with disabilities, but the books may also be useful for foreigners who study Finnish.

On the other hand, Finnish Easy Reading series is mainly targeted to those learning and studying Finnish as a second language. The table at the top of the page compares the two collections.

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