OUCH! Now That’s Gotta’ Hurt!

04 Oct

A study conducted by languagemonitor on the vice presidential debate declares:

Vice Presidential Debate Linguistic Analysis: Palin at 10th Grade-level; Biden at 8th Grade-level, Palin’s use of passive voice highest of the 2008 Debates

The analysis was performed by The Global Language Monitor (, the Austin, Texas-based media analytics and analysis company.

GLM ranks the candidates’ speech on a number of levels from grade-reading level, the use of the passive voice, ‘a readability’ score (the closer to one hundred the easiest to understand, the number of words per sentence, even the number of characters per word. 

Here are a few specifics on what they found:        

  Biden Palin Comment
Grade Level  7.8 9.5 Palin raises a few eyebrows here.
No. of Words 5,492 5235 This is a surprise; shows tremendous restraint on the normally loquacious Biden. Obama used 20 more words per minute than McCain.
Sentences/Paragraph 2.7 2.6 A statistical tie.
Words/Sentence 15.8 19.9 Palin even outdistances professorial Obama on this one; Obama scored 17.4
Characters/Word 4.4 4.4 Everyone has apparently learned that shorter words are easier to understand (rather than monosyllabic words facilitate comprehension).
Passive Voice 5% 8% Passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility; Biden used active voice when referring to Cheney and Bush; Palin countered with passive deflections.
Ease of Reading 66.7 62.4 100 is the easiest to read (or hear).
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Posted by on October 4, 2008 in Political


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