Candidates Talk to Us at a 6th to 8th Grade Level, Except Trump (5th Grade)

Pretty depressing.

We all know that many Americans are at a 5th grade level when it comes to education and knowing what's going on in the country.  But did you know that the presidential candidates speak at a 6th-to-8th grade level?

A readability analysis of presidential candidate speeches by researchers in Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute (LTI) finds most candidates using words and grammar typical of students in grades 6-8, though Donald Trump tends to lag behind the others (big surprise), according to newswise.com.

A historical review of their word and grammar use suggests all five candidates in the analysis - Republicans Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (who has since suspended his campaign), and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders - have been using simpler language as the campaigns have progressed. Again, Trump is an outlier, with his grammar use spiking in his Iowa Caucus concession speech and his word and grammar use plummeting again during his Nevada Caucus victory speech.

I wonder where the size of the hands thing comes in.

A comparison of the candidates with previous presidents show President Lincoln outpacing them all, boasting grammar at the 11th grade level, while -- again, no surprise -- President George W. Bush's 5th grade grammar was below even that of Trump.

"Assessing the readability of campaign speeches is a little tricky because most measures are geared to the written word, yet text is very different from the spoken word," says Maxine Eskenazi, LTI principal systems scientist who performed the analysis with Elliot Schumacher, a graduate student in language technologies. "When we speak, we usually use less structured language with shorter sentences."

An earlier analysis by the Boston Globe used the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, which is based on average sentence length and average number of syllables per word, and found Trump speaking at a 4th grade level, two grade levels below his peers. The study used a readability model called REAP, which looks at how often words and grammatical constructs are used at each grade level and thus corresponds better to analysis of spoken language.

So I guess none of this is a great surprise.  But it's pretty depressing.
















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