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Crystal-clear Korea

Plain English Campaign is honoured to be invited as guest speakers for the national conference of ‘Korean Language Officers’('GugEo- ChaekImGwan') in Seoul at the end of May 2011. The organisation works to promote plain language, or as they call it in Korea, ‘public language, as used by central and local government.

The two-day conference will gather the Korean Language Officers throughout the country to share language policies and operations for raising awareness and providing education for anyone communicating public information.

This government project involves the education of government employees to strengthen their Korean language skills. It encourages them to use plain Korean languages rather than complex alternatives, and provides increasing opportunities for learning Korean languages especially within multicultural families.

(Click to see a larger version of the picture)

Plain English Campaign has been used as a benchmark to introduce Korea’s public language policies and initiatives, through a variety of multimedia channels.

Korean interest in the campaign started in 2008, when a production crew from South Korea visited the UK offices of Plain English Campaign to film a news item about government language. The exposure led to interest from students from the University of Korea. They received grants to pay an unexpected visit to the headquarters of the campaign in the small town of New Mills, Derbyshire, in order to learn how to become plain English trainers.

In 2009, Mr. Hwang, a researcher for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Korea, visited Plain English Campaign's offices to gain advice on transferring the principles of plain English to the Korean language.

The Korean government regards public language that can be easily understood as a priority for developing clear public communications throughout the country.

Mr Hwang says, "Korean public language policies aim to improve the language environment of Korean people to communicate more easily and clearly, just as King Sejong invented ‘ Hangeul’, the basic Korean alphabet that helped the more vulnerable people of the 15th century.”

Over the past 31 years, Plain English Campaign has unexpectedly reached the farthest corners of the globe, including involvement in plain language projects in South Africa, India and Russia.

Chrissie Maher OBE, founder of Plain English Campaign says, "Clear communication is a global concern that has grown with technology. Every person has a right to information that can be understood with a single reading. Every person has the responsibility to communicate clearly. If just one person finds the confidence to shout out against unnecessary jargon, then our fight has been worthwhile. And an initiative on the scale of the Korean public language project is truly commendable."

We were unable to attend the conference, but you can view a short film in which we deliver a congratulatory speech to mark the occasion.

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