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InvisibleFerris
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Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not)
    #9029090 - 10/04/08 03:23 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

This is for all the English/linguistics nerds.  Don't read too much in to the title of the thread by the way.

I plugged a PM I just sent into this calculator mentioned in the article, and I got:

Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 11.
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score: 48.

I could go and plug more of my writing into the calculator, but something tells me that the writing I sampled is already representative of my usual syntax and nomenclature.

http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2008/10/04/palin-speaks-at-higher-grade-level-than-biden/

Quote:

Elections are full of surprises.

Take John McCain’s recent suspension of his campaign, for example.  Or the surprise pick of Sarah Palin to be his running mate.  Or the John Edwards affair.  Or Joe Biden criticizing his own campaign for a negative ad on McCain (oh yeah, he took that back).

For some, a study showing Sarah Palin spoke at a higher grade level than Joe Biden in Thursday night’s debate, will come as a surprise.

Grade level

CNN is reporting that a language monitoring service concluded that Palin’s remarks on Thursday were ranked at a higher grade level than Joe Biden’s.  She spoke at between a 9th and 10th grade level while Joe Biden spoke at about an eighth grade level.

The only real reason this makes any news, of course, is because of the trouncing Palin received following her disastrous interview with Katie Couric.  Following the series of interviews, questions about Palin’s intelligence were raised throughout the media free world.

With her performance on Thursday night widely reviewed as positive and if she continues to have more favorable outings with the press, the story will be less on her abilities and more on the top of the ticket.

Palin VS Biden

The study also shows that both candidates spoke around the same number of words.  Palin spoke 5,235 words - of which the word “maverick” was roughly 5,000 of those.

While Biden uttered some 5,492 words, which is impressive considering that in prior debates that’s the length of one sentence.

Other results of the study show that they scored evenly on the numbers of letters per word used (4.4 letters each) and they drew a statistical tie on the amount of sentences per paragraph - 2.7  for Biden and 2.6 for Palin.

In terms of ease of reading, the remarks matched up closely as well with Biden scoring a 66.7 and Palin scoring a 62.4.  The study says a 100 is the easiest to read.

Easier to understand

But a higher grade level doesn’t mean what you’re saying is understandable.  CNN brings up a Palin sentence toward the end of the debate.

“What I would do, also, if that were ever to happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington,” Palin said.

The firm grades that sentence at a super doctorate level giving it an 18.3 grade.

“When she said it, it sounded good, but on paper it’s a completely different animal,” said the President of the Global Language Monitor. “It’s like, what is that?”

Joe Biden

As for Joe Biden, the firm graded the following sentence at the 15th grade level:

“The middle class under John McCain’s tax proposal, 100 million families, middle-class families, households to be precise, they got not a single change; they got not a single break in taxes.”

In reviewing that sentence the firm’s president seemed to be impressed by Biden’s restraint.

“In a typical Joe Biden thing, this sentence would serve as a launching point to even more complex and convoluted statements,” he said.

We’re smarter than you

So are conservatives jumping on this study saying, “Palin is smarter than Biden?”  Not really.  Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air discounts it as meaningless.

    Reading level was and is calculated using a calculation of average numbers for sentences per paragraph, words per sentence, and syllables per word.

    This analysis just shows that Palin used a somewhat higher ratio in this calculation than Biden.  That doesn’t necessarily make her a better communicator, not even if people ignore content altogether.

    So while this gives Palin supporters a reason to crow about her trouncing Biden’s supposed intellect, it’s really meaningless, especially with the slight gap noted by CNN.  They’re better off reviewing Biden’s gaffes, which is a much more abundant resource.

Past politicians

As a point of reference the firm ranked other politicians in past debates as well and puts Abraham Lincoln at the top of their list speaking at just over an 11th grade level.  Joe Lieberman was next in line at about 10th grade.  While at the bottom of the heap is Ross Perot at a sixth grade level.

President George W. Bush spoke at a 7th grade level in his prior debates while Ronald Reagan came just short of 10th grade with a 9.8 rating.

How’d they figure it?

The firm says they used a modified Flesch-Kincaid formulation for their study.  Oh yeah, that study.  Although regular readers of The Vote would know instantly what that formula is, for newcomers we’ll provide it for you (and of course we didn’t Google it.)

0.39 x Average No. of words in sentences + 11.8 x Average No. of syllables per word - 15.59.




--------------------

Discuss Politics


Edited by Ferris (10/04/08 03:35 PM)


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InvisibleFerris
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Ferris]
    #9029153 - 10/04/08 03:39 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Alternatively, I calculated the score from this most recent Noam Chomsky article and he received from fairly high scores (understatement).

Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 17.
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score: 14.

Quote:

Markets have inherent and well-known inefficiencies. One factor is failure to calculate the costs to those who do not participate in transactions. These "externalities" can be huge. That is particularly true for financial institutions.

Their task is to take risks, calculating potential costs for themselves. But they do not take into account the consequences of their losses for the economy as a whole.

Hence the financial market "underprices risk" and is "systematically inefficient," as John Eatwell and Lance Taylor wrote a decade ago, warning of the extreme dangers of financial liberalization and reviewing the substantial costs already incurred - and also proposing solutions, which have been ignored.

The threat became more severe when the Clinton administration repealed the Glass-Steagall act of 1933, thus freeing financial institutions "to innovate in the new economy," in Clinton's words -- and also "to self-destruct, taking down with them the general economy and international confidence in the US banking system," financial analyst Nomi Prins adds.

The unprecedented intervention of the Fed may be justified or not in narrow terms, but it reveals, once again, the profoundly undemocratic character of state capitalist institutions, designed in large measure to socialise cost and risk and privatize profit, without a public voice.

That is, of course, not limited to financial markets. The advanced economy as a whole relies heavily on the dynamic state sector, with much the same consequences with regard to risk, cost, profit, and decisions, crucial features of the economy and political system.




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Offlinezouden
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Ferris]
    #9031161 - 10/05/08 03:43 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Both were interesting reads - thanks for sharing. I don't think I've ever read anything by Chomsky but now I can see why people talk about him the way they do. He's fantastic.


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Offlinepiracetam
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: zouden]
    #9031539 - 10/05/08 08:33 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Noam Chomsky is brilliant, epitome of a left-libertarian.


--------------------
"Experiments are the only means of attaining knowledge at our disposal. The rest is just poetry, imagination." ~Max Planck


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: piracetam]
    #9031572 - 10/05/08 08:53 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Noam Chomsky is a serial liar with exactly zero intellectual honesty and not the slightest grasp of world history, public policy, military strategy and tactics, basic economic theory or the simple rules of logic.

He's a puerile hack and an apologist for some of the worst regimes in mankind's history. Given the countless real historians and political analysts who have exposed Chomsky's schtick for the shabby con game it has always been, there is no excuse for anyone much past the undergraduate level to take seriously anything the man says.





Phred


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: piracetam]
    #9031596 - 10/05/08 09:04 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

piracetam said:
Noam Chomsky is brilliant, epitome of a left-libertarian.





How is he a libertarian at all?  I'm kinda curious here....




And phred, chomsky has redeming qualities.  I like when he actually breaks down linguistics instead of pushing his political views.


He's the author of one of my favorite quotes ever:


Quote:

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate."





Awesome sauce


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: johnm214]
    #9031626 - 10/05/08 09:19 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Chomsky is an extremely proficient linguist. In his chosen field of linguistics he is definitely worth listening to, although he has many vehement opponents of his linguistic theories. Are they right or is Chomsky right? Fucked if I know... linguistics is not one of my areas of special knowledge.

But politics- history - political philosophy/theory - current events are some of my areas in which my knowledge is greater than average and I know enough about each to be easily able to determine that in these areas Chomsky spouts sheer bullshit. Worse, he uses rhetorical tricks to deliberately disguise what he's doing, hence the oft-repeated (and copiously substantiated) charge of intellectual dishonesty and outright fraud brought against him by real scholars. The man's not just a hack, he's a dishonest hack. It's not that he believes his bullshit, it's that he knows full well it's bullshit but he does everything he can to present it as truth. 

A tinhorn con man. Life's too short to waste any of it reading Chomsky's nonsense.





Phred


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9031680 - 10/05/08 09:56 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

yeah, yeah


All I'm saying is I like alot of the guys stuff- even if I don't adopt his conclusions or resent the crap your talking about.

And it sounds like you like his stuff too.

So lets agree he's not a historian, perhaps an outright fabricator of history- I don't know, has shitty economic views oftentimes, but is worthwhile in certain areas notwithstanding the former.


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: johnm214]
    #9031716 - 10/05/08 10:14 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

And it sounds like you like his stuff too.




On the contrary. There are few people I despise more than Noam Chomsky. I haven't even done more than skim his linguistics stuff, but I am willing to concede he is proficient at it. Many people who know far more than I do about the field of linguistics will state that he knows his stuff in that area.

That doesn't mean I like his linguistics work.







Phred


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: piracetam]
    #9031835 - 10/05/08 10:55 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

piracetam said:
Noam Chomsky is brilliant




:rofl2:


Noam Chomsky is a typical liberal hypocrite, who has earned millions preaching about the evil of capitalism.....


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


Edited by lonestar2004 (10/05/08 10:57 AM)


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Offlinepiracetam
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: lonestar2004]
    #9032175 - 10/05/08 12:21 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

:rofl2::rofl2::rofl2:

this coming from guys blowing smoke up Palin's ass, touting her "a great politician". if anyone is a hack, it's her
any self-respecting intellectual wouldn't seriously entertain supporting this woman who'd probably fail an 8th grade history exam. she's a real champion of short-sighted dimwits


--------------------
"Experiments are the only means of attaining knowledge at our disposal. The rest is just poetry, imagination." ~Max Planck


Edited by piracetam (10/05/08 12:46 PM)


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Offlinepiracetam
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: johnm214]
    #9032222 - 10/05/08 12:35 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

johnm214 said:


How is he a libertarian at all?  I'm kinda curious here....






are you serious? he's a libertarian socialist (left-libertarian..same thing)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky

seen him speak on cspan before, really mind-boggling speaker


--------------------
"Experiments are the only means of attaining knowledge at our disposal. The rest is just poetry, imagination." ~Max Planck


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: piracetam]
    #9032281 - 10/05/08 12:47 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Again, remember that on this forum you are in a distinct minority. What we North Americans would call a Communist or a Communalist (or perhaps an Anarchist) you across the pond might sometimes call a Left-Libertarian.

Your idea of a Left-Libertarian is the exact antithesis of what Americans think of when they hear the word Libertarian. They think of the Founding Fathers, Locke, Bastiat. Noam Chomsky is 180 degrees from Locke and Bastiat and the Founding Fathers.





Phred


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Offlinepiracetam
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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9032358 - 10/05/08 01:03 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

considering the modern socio-political climate and population explosion, anything pertaining to the founding fathers' ideology is barely relevant.

you either adapt with the times, or get left behind; and keeping a conservative mindset certainly won't help


--------------------
"Experiments are the only means of attaining knowledge at our disposal. The rest is just poetry, imagination." ~Max Planck


Edited by piracetam (10/05/08 01:17 PM)


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: piracetam]
    #9032430 - 10/05/08 01:21 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

^ that could have come verbatim out of dick cheneys' mouth..substituting the word "liberal" for "conservative"...

to get back on topic..it depends on how your doing the grading...sarah palin has a terrifying ability to connect with the audience on an emotional level..on that she definitely grades higher...OTOH..words like "mavericky" dont get a good grade in my book...


--------------------


"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


Edited by Annapurna1 (10/05/08 10:03 PM)


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Annapurna1]
    #9032499 - 10/05/08 01:34 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Annapurna1 said:
^ that could have come verbatim out of dick cheneys' mouth..substituting the word "liberal" for "conservative"...





I could hear him saying something like that; but being conservative isn't the same as being progressive.
the US isn't one of the countries with the highest quality of living because some would rather reserve the spoils for themselves. backscratching politics doesn't help matters either

in chem, there's something called Markovnikov's rule, where "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer." in the US, the rich basically get rich off of the poor and working middle class. any working class citizen with an ounce of common sense wouldn't take Palin seriously


--------------------
"Experiments are the only means of attaining knowledge at our disposal. The rest is just poetry, imagination." ~Max Planck


Edited by piracetam (10/05/08 01:42 PM)


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9065269 - 10/11/08 11:38 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Chomsky, right on cue, does an interview with SPIEGEL and proves my points.

Anyone who has any doubts about my characterization of the dishonest old hack need only read this interview.

Even the German doing the interview isn't buying it. He's picking up on Chomsky's bullshit as easily as any native English speaker would.





Phred


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9065323 - 10/11/08 11:56 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

A good interview. But I don't see where you'd describe him as a 'dishonest old hack'.


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: zouden]
    #9065336 - 10/12/08 12:00 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Did you not read his gibberish?




Phred


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9065374 - 10/12/08 12:10 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I think he makes an excellent point. He's arguing that the two parties in America are so similar compared to the broad spectrum of opinions that we could be hearing. The example he gives is on the subject of Iraq:
Quote:

The hawks say, if we continue we can win. The doves say, it is costing us too much. But try to find an American politician who says frankly that this aggression is a crime: the issue is not whether we win or not, whether it is expensive or not. Remember the Russian invasion of Afghanistan? Did we have a debate whether the Russians can win the war or whether it is too expensive?




--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: zouden]
    #9065398 - 10/12/08 12:19 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

It's not an excellent point, it's an idiotic point, and one that dodges the point under discussion and one he knows dodges the point under discussion. Next, note his epic fail of an analogy. He compares the resumption of hostilities in Iraq with the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan! There is no parallel between the two at all other than the fact that weapons were involved in both.





Phred


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9065413 - 10/12/08 12:25 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Well, they both involve the invasion of a sovereign country...


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: zouden]
    #9065418 - 10/12/08 12:26 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

You missed the point entirely.  He's not "discussing the point," he's analyzing social forces.  Nothing of what he says is supposed to have a negative reflection upon that of which he speaks.  You really can't read Chomsky without keeping an open mind, and remembering that the forces and results coming from those forces are the inevitable results of those that came before.

In the case in which you cite, he uses that example to apply the same force to two separate situations to show them in motion, not to say that the events themselves were similar.


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Re: Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden? (or not) [Re: Phred]
    #9065674 - 10/12/08 05:12 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Phred said:
It's not an excellent point, it's an idiotic point, and one that dodges the point under discussion and one he knows dodges the point under discussion. Next, note his epic fail of an analogy. He compares the resumption of hostilities in Iraq with the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan! There is no parallel between the two at all other than the fact that weapons were involved in both.





Phred






Both seemed to be an illegal war, and a violation of our UN treaties (no war without UN approval except in self defense)- notably the same thing we invaded iraq for.

I don't think the US had any credible reason to belive any signifigant threat existed from Iraq.


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