Plain language

From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

PLAIN LANGUAGE – the idea of a plain language used in the communication of offices with citizens; the way of organising a text, which provides the recipient (citizen) with quick access to information contained in it. Distinctions of a clear and understandable message are: legibility of the text, empathy with the recipient, consistency and linguistic correctness. The purpose of the concept of p.l. is a way of communication limited by numerous rules that are supposed to reduce ambiguity, complexity and excess of information given in a professional terminology, and consequently – ensure fast and lossless decoding of the text even to poorly educated people. This is a language standard recommended to all authors and institutions writing texts addressed to both individual citizens and mass recipients. The concept used, among others, in Great Britain, the United States, Sweden, popularised in Poland, among others, by linguists from the University of Wroclaw. Researchers have developed support tools that define the level of comprehensibility/incomprehensibility of the text. For example, researchers from the University of Wrocław proposed using the text vagueness index as the main distinguishing feature of ease of communication and text – the FOG-PL index ( In turn, scientists from the SWPS University and the Polish Academy of Sciences, as part of a project funded by the National Science Centre, have developed the Jasnopis application ( In 2010, at the request of the Ministry of Regional Development, the University of Wrocław researchers analysed the letters regarding European funds on a sample of about half a million words. In subsequent years, the Commissioner for Citizens’ Rights and the Chancellery of the President of the Council of Ministers joined the promoting of simple communication [ Ł. Małecki-Tepicht ].

Literature: Komunikacja pisemna – Rekomendacje [Written communication – Recommendations], Chancellery of the President of the Council of Ministers, Warszawa 2015 ■ J. Miodek, M. Maziarz, T. Piekot, M. Poprawa, G. Zarzeczny, Jak pisać o Funduszach Europejskich? [How to write about the European Funds?], Warszawa 2010 ■ T. Piekot, G. Zarzeczny, Prosta polszczyzna [A simple Polish language], „Przegląd Uniwersytecki” 2013, no. 4.