Re: Why do you think Gunning is obsolete?

Subject: Re: Why do you think Gunning is obsolete?
From: Jerry Blackerby <exujbl -at- EXU -dot- ERICSSON -dot- SE>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 22:22:04 GMT

In article 00092nC -at- pacifier -dot- com, John Gear <catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com> writes:
>>Gunning's Fog Index was fine in the past, but I do not believe it
>>is accurate today. I am not knocking Robert Gunning, just stating
>>that I think we need a new method of measuring readability.

>Why is that? Is your position the result of an intuition or something else?
>John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

My contention for the last twenty years is that Gunning's Fog Index is
too simplistic. The formula restricts the use of polysyllable words too
much. I do not think that words like television or computer are hard
words in today's world.

A new formula based on the Dale and Chall method from the late 30's or early
40's should be better. That method was based on a vocabulary. The
vocabulary should fit the audience. The original Dale and Chall method was
calculated manually, but could be automated today.

My question was that since I have not seen any new research in the last
few years, has anyone else? Surely, someone is researching methods
for improving readability measurement.

I did papers in 1976 and '77 on the subject. I was told then that an STC
committee was going to investigate readability measurement, but have seen


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