re: Readability Question

Subject: re: Readability Question
From: "Sean Hower" <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 08:57:10 -0800

Milan Davidovic wrote:
> Well, what we're trying to do is figure out whether
> readability formulae are worth anything, right? Geoff
> suggested one test, which you can go back and read.

I did read it before posting. I understand the thread. I'm questioning the basic premise of your arguement which is Given two texts, one of which is judged to be more difficult than the other, then the difficult one has to be longer and has to use bigger words. Those basic premises are your foundation for your argueing that certain methods of readability, those that use word length and sentence length, do provide worthwhile data upon which to make decisions. Of course, if this isn't what you're saying, then I take it back. ;-) It is still early here and my venti Starbucks has not yet kicked in.

> Do the more difficult ones have a greater proportion
> of "big" words and "long" sentences (however you
> choose to measure those)?
Ah, now you are asking if there is a correlation instead of asserting that there is an absolute cause-effect relationship. This is a completely different line of argument. ;-)

> As to the texts you supplied, well, they're short and
> weird. I don't think they'd make good test samples.
Granted, but I didn't want to spend too much time on it. And as for the examples being weird, they are the sort of thing that would appear in poetry/prose that sixth graders might be exposed to, regardless of whether the samples themselves were particularly literary, brilliant, or otherwise artistic. Again, didn't want to spend too much time on it.

Anyway, back to work.

Sean Hower - communications specialist

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