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Everyday life Unit of easy language from a linguistic perspective

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1 Everyday life Unit of easy language from a linguistic perspective Alexander Lasch (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel) Light Border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

2 1 Outline 2. What do you mean by plain language in public? 3. What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? 4. The exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a transition society under the microscope 5. Discussion Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

3 What is the first letter in the alphabet? A: B B: A Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

4 2 What do you mean by plain language in public? I buy a book. I bought a book. I bought a book. I've already told you three times that I bought a book yesterday. I have already told you three times that yesterday around noon in the bookshop around the corner I bought a book about the economic development of the post-Stalinist SU. Comprehensibility (language as a communication tool) Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

5 2 What do you mean by plain language in public? I buy a book. I bought a book. I bought a book. I've already told you three times that I bought a book yesterday. I have already told you three times that yesterday around noon in the bookstore around the corner I bought a book about the economic development of the post-Stalinist SU. Acceptance (language as a cultural good and language as a means of conveying information) Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

6 Easy Language Network Premises: * Many people do not understand difficult language. Easy language helps many people. * The rules for easy language. Was standing:. Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

7 Network of easy language Easy language is a language that is very easy to understand. You can speak and write them. Easy language is especially for people with learning difficulties. But also for other people. For example, for people who speak only a little German. There are fixed rules for easy language. People with and without learning difficulties wrote down the rules together. * The rules for easy language. Was standing:. Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

8 2 Network What do you mean by plain language in public? Easy language rules: * Use simple words. Use words that describe something precisely. Use familiar words. Avoid technical and foreign words; explain heavy words. Always use the same words for the same things. Use short words. Avoid abbreviations. Use verbs (i.e. avoid noun styles). Use active words (i.e. avoid complex constructions). Avoid the genitive. * The rules for easy language. Was standing:. Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

9 2 Network What do you mean by plain language in public? Easy language Avoid the subjunctive (i.e. subjunctive and modal constructions). Use positive language (i.e. avoid negations). Avoid idioms and figurative language. Write numbers as most people know them (i.e., Arabic, not Roman). Avoid old years (e.g. e.g. 1867, instead use e.g. a long time ago). Avoid high numbers and percentages. Ask the examiners for numbers, times and dates. Write phone numbers with spaces. Avoid special characters. Write short sentences; one statement per sentence. Use simple sentence structure (S-P-O). Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

10 2 Network What do you mean by plain language in public? Easy language Address readers personally. Avoid questions in the text. Write down everything that belongs together (i.e. avoid references). You are allowed to change a text while writing in plain language. The content and meaning have to be right. Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

11 2 Network What do you mean by plain language in public? Easy language Use a simple font (i.e. a sans serif font). Use a large font. Leave space between the lines. Always write left-justified. Write each sentence on a new line. Do not separate words at the end of a line. Write all the words that belong together on one line. Leave the sentence together. Make lots of paragraphs and headings. Highlight important things. Use dark font. And light paper. Use thick paper. Take matte paper. Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

12 2 Network What do you mean by plain language in public? Easy language Use pictures. Use sharp and clear images. Do not use pictures as backgrounds. Always have the text checked. Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

13 2 What do you mean by plain language in public? Which areas do the rules apply to? Choice of words Syntax Text layout Choice of images Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

14 2 What is easy language to understand in public? Which rules are scientifically verified? Choice of words Syntax Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

15 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? What should I do? 1. Empirical review of the rules of easy language. Addressee reference? Which rules make texts easier to understand? Which rules make it difficult to understand? 2. Examination of the connection between text and images: Do iconic representations (more or less precisely fitting) support understanding? 3. Can science do something to improve the acceptance of texts in easy language? Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

16 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? Easy language facilitates participation. Easy language is a special variant of use of language. Easy language is independent. Easy language is appropriate for the target group. Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

17 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? The rules for a functional variety of easy language can be formulated in a perceptual grammar. Grammar is perceptual because it is based on the use of language (customary) and on the attitudes of users towards language (perceptivity). The easy language vocabulary can be compiled in special dictionaries according to the same principles (commonality and perceptivity). Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

18 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? How do you measure intelligibility? Presentation of results from Düver 2015: Position of adverbial groups in a sentence? Spelling of complex compound words (dividing line, mediopoint)? Alexander Lasch (CAU of Kiel)

19 Which sentence is easier for you to understand? A: We're going on vacation tomorrow. B: Tomorrow we're going on vacation. Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

20 Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

21 Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

22 Which sentence do you understand better? A: You can travel by train. B: You can travel by train. Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

23 Düver 2015: 33 Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

24 The consideration of all partial analyzes shows, however, [] improved comprehensibility of sentences in which adverbial terms are at the end of the sentence [sc. at least these are chosen more often]. If modal verbs and the infinitive of a main verb form the predicate of a sentence, the position of the adverbial in the sentence bracket that forms has proven to be easier to understand. For example, it says' You can travel by train. (Düver 2015: 37) Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

25 Which form is easier for you to understand? A: Driving ticket B: Driving ticket Licht Grenz Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

26 Which shape is more acceptable for you? A: Driving ticket B: Driving ticket Licht Grenz Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

27 Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

28 Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

29 Düver 2015: 33 Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

30 Düver 2015: 40 Light Border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

31 [It] can be seen through direct contact with [a test] group that it represents a considerable difficulty in meeting the different requirements of the persons concerned. The problem concerns the core idea of ​​the easy language concept, because reaching such a large number of target groups with one linguistic concept turns out to be extremely difficult in practical implementation. (Düver 2015: 29, emphasis mine, A.L.) Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

32 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? Grammar L1 Grammar L2 Grammar L3 Vocabulary L1 Vocabulary L2 Vocabulary L3 Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

33 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? Grammar L1 Grammar L2 Grammar L3 Vocabulary L1 Vocabulary L2 Vocabulary L3 Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

34 3 What is easy language from a linguistic point of view? Grammar L1 Grammar L2 Grammar L3 Vocabulary L1 Vocabulary L2 Vocabulary L3 Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

35 Level concept / placement tests In order to make the concept a functioning form of language for people with linguistic and cognitive limitations, dementia, migration backgrounds and other target groups, easy language must be adapted to the differing linguistic level of the users. Otherwise there is a risk that only a very small group will actually benefit from the language form. (Düver 2015: 41, emphasis mine, A.L.) Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

36 Acceptance If 'easy language' is only perceived as a simplified, roughly formulated language with flattened and selected content [], then it becomes a stigma for those who use it (Bock 2014: 34). Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

37 Acceptance Of course, not every reader of a text in easy language will have to initiate a steep learning curve, but a poor reading ability should not be a reason for careless handling of the linguistic conventions (Maaß et al. 2014: 63). Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

38 Everyday Life: Unit Light Boundary Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

39 4 The texts of the exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society "under the microscope Exhibition for everyone Inclusive Communication Stations (IKS) Participatory offers Tactile guidance system Audio guide with audio descriptions Guided tours Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

40 4 The texts of the exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society "under the microscope Exhibition for everyone Successful texts that do not have to expose themselves to the accusation of content selection and reduction. Rules of the light language network are well implemented. The juxtaposition of different presentation systems (audio guide, sign language, Braille, light and difficult language, English) is exemplary. The differentiation before the fall of the Wall and after the fall as a recurring anchor structure is particularly successful, the explanation of the term for the turn is well placed at the beginning of the exhibition. Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

41 Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

42 4 The texts of the exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society "under the microscope Exhibition for all introductory texts and room texts have turned out a bit small; contrast ratios could be better. Iconic representations seem a bit out of place with room texts; quality of information is questionable. Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

43 Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

44 Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

45 4 The texts of the exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society "under the microscope Exhibition for all detailed observations: Not explained: Stasi, Treu-Hand-Anstalt Who is the government of the GDR? Passive constructions Reflexive constructions Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

46 Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

47 Light border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

48 Everyday Life: Unit Light Boundary Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

49 This exhibition is called Unity of Everyday Life. West Germany and East Germany became one country again. That was 25 years ago on In Berlin was celebrated. ullstein picture; Soily

50 4 Exhibition for all FRG Including communication stations Participatory offers Tactile guidance system Berlin GDR audio guide with audio descriptions Guided tours Before that, there were two German states for 40 years: The German Democratic Republic. The short word is DDR. They also say East Germany. The Federal Republic of Germany. The short word is: BRD. They also say West Germany. Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel) // CC BY-SA 3.0 // TUBS

51 Berlin soldiers guard the border between East Germany and West Germany. BRD DDR // High Contrast In Berlin a wall divides the city into two parts. // CC BY-SA 3.0 // Thierry Noir

52 Berlin Only a few people from eastern Germany are allowed to travel to western Germany. FRG GDR Many people in East Germany are dissatisfied. You want a different life. // Uwe Gerig

53 In autumn 1989 they took to the streets. They speak their minds out loud. There is no violence. From autumn 1989 a lot changed in the GDR. The difficult word for it is: turn. // ice storm media

54 FRG Berlin GDR The wall is opened. Now begins a new time.

55 In the exhibition we always compare: the time before the fall of the Wall and the time after the fall of the Wall. This picture stands for the time before the fall of the Wall: This picture stands for the time after the fall of the Wall:

56 In the exhibition we always compare: life in East Germany and life in West Germany. This picture stands for East Germany: This picture stands for West Germany:

57 Berlin light border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

58 4 Everyday unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society Exhibition for Everyone Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guard the border between East Germany and West Germany. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

59 4 Exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society for All Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guarded the border between East Germany and West Germany. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

60 4 Exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society for All Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guarded the border between East Germany and West Germany. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

61 4 Exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society for All Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guarded the border between East and West Germany. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

62 4 Exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society for All Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guarded the border between East and West Germany. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

63 4 Exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society for All Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guarded the border between East Germany and West Germany. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

64 4 Exhibition Everyday Unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society for All Do you understand the following sentence? The border between East Germany and West Germany was guarded by soldiers. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

65 4 Everyday unity. Portrait of a Transitional Society Exhibition for Everyone Do you understand the following sentence? Soldiers guarded the border between East and West Germany until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. [] yes [] no Please tick! The sentence is [] too easy [] easy [] moderately difficult [] difficult [] too difficult Alexander Lasch (CAU zu Kiel)

66 Thank you for your attention! Alexander Lasch (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel) Berlin Light Border // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

67 Light limit Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz

68 Düver, Julia Empirical investigation into formulations in easy language. Bachelor thesis CAU zu Kiel. Bock, Bettina Light language: delimitation, description and problem definition from the perspective of linguistics. In: Susanne Jekat & Heike Jüngst & Klaus Schubert & Claudia Villiger (eds.). Make language accessible. Perspectives from applied linguistics.Berlin: Frank and Timme Maaß, Christiane & Isabel Rink & Christiane Zehrer Easy Language in Linguistics and Translation Studies. In: Susanne Jekat & Heike Jüngst & Klaus Schubert & Claudia Villiger (eds.). Make language accessible. Perspectives from applied linguistics. Berlin: Frank and Timme Light Border Berlin // // CC BY 2.0 // O. Horbacz