Press Hwæt to continue

Which is more difficult to read: Beowulf, in Old English, or a Google EULA, in whatever the hell they write EULAs these days?

Scientists have found that the internet giant’s user agreement is more difficult to understand than the saga, which features the lines “Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings/Leader beloved, and long he ruled.”

Well, of course. There were no lawyers in the days of Beowulf.

Researchers used a browser plug-in called Literatin to compare the agreements with more established works — looking specifically at word and sentence length.

However, they failed to consider the cultural understanding required to interpret the texts.

And this, I’m afraid, indicts our entire culture. Quoting Ewa Lugar, a researcher at the University of Nottingham:

Fifty Shades of Grey is the ideal level,” she told The Times. “In terms of readability, it uses very simple language and a very simple sentence structure.”

O, boned are we.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)





2 comments

  1. fillyjonk »

    21 October 2013 · 10:01 am

    And now I’m wondering where the tax code fits in. Like reading Beowolf translated into Klingon?

  2. CGHill »

    21 October 2013 · 10:49 am

    And back again, by someone fluent only in Albanian.

RSS feed for comments on this post