Other Languages

Subject: Other Languages
From: George Hayhoe <GFHayhoe -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 10:19:00 -0400

Stephen Victor posted an excellent response to my comments yesterday about
readability indexes and languages other than English. He raised some
objections which I hadn't considered before posting.

There are many who question the application of these indexes even to English
prose. Extending their use to other languages raises even more questions
about the validity of the various formulas on which the indexes are based.

The Flesch and other indexes are tools that can be helpful in analyzing the
effectiveness of one's prose in meeting the needs of audiences at various
reading levels, but they are all based on the premise that combined word
length and sentence length are inversely proportional to comprehensibility,
the lower the intended audience's reading grade level.

To extend the questionable applicability of these formulas beyond English is
probably not a good practice. Thanks for setting me straight, Stephen.

--George Hayhoe (GFHayhoe -at- aol -dot- com)


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