The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 April 2005

Eschewing obfuscation

Thirty-five articles from last week were up on the front page (plus the usual sidebar detritus) when I sent it through this Readability Test, and these are the results:

Total sentences:  1,201
Total words:  8,408
Average words per Sentence:  7.00
Words with 1 Syllable:  5,521
Words with 2 Syllables:  1,659
Words with 3 Syllables:  941
Words with 4 or more Syllables:  287
Percentage of words with three or more syllables:  14.61%
Average Syllables per Word:  1.52
Gunning Fog Index:  8.64
Flesch Reading Ease:  70.84
Flesch-Kincaid Grade:  5.12

Robert Gunning's Fog Index is an estimate of educational accomplishment necessary to wade through this stuff: 8.64 suggests someone in the second semester of 9th grade might be able to decipher it.

The two Flesch scores are derived similarly. The Reading Ease number falls on a descending scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is down below "One state, two state, red state, blue state" and 1 is beyond even an automatic Chomsky generator. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is a conversion of the Reading Ease figure to US grade-school levels; apparently Flesch and/or Kincaid have faith that the sixth-graders can handle this material, even though Gunning thinks it's almost out of middle-school range.

Sudden fear: that a middle-school teacher will actually assign this drivel.

Note: Two years ago, Oscar Jr. applied Flesch-Kincaid to a different set of articles and came up with a Grade Level of 9.6 for this site.

(By way of the highly-readable Acidman.)

Posted at 12:05 PM to Blogorrhea


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