Study conducted says Donald Trump speaks under a 6th 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.”
There has finally been a study conducted on presidential candidate speeches and their intellect, when it comes to verbage. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute (LTI) have found by conducting a readability analysis that our current presidential candidates speeches have a grammar level on a 6th-8th grade level.
About Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 13,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.
The research project took a look and performed a historical review of how past presidential candidates used words and grammar in their speeches. Republicans like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (who has recently backed out of the race) were found to have consistent language as they have moved forward with their campaigns. Trump, when compared to the rest of the candidates, scored at a significantly lower reading level.
Yikes. Shouldn’t we elect a president that knows how to read and write?
The comparison between past and present presidential candidates
A comparison was done of current Presidential candidates and past candidates, which made things even more interesting. President George W. Bush and his speeches have tested above Trump, Bush scoring at a 5th grade level.
Maxine Eskenazi, LTI principal systems scientist who performed the analysis with Elliot Schumacher opened up about the study, saying:
“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,” said 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.”
Eskenazi and Schumacher used a readability model known as “REAP,” which will look at how often words and grammatical constructs are used at each grade level and thus corresponds better to analysis of spoken language.
Based on the vocabulary of past president speeches like Lincoln, Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama those are some low scores. Other presidential candidates at least reached an 8th grade level. The current candidates range from Trump’s unlucky 4th grade level to Sanders 10th grade level.
When it comes to grammar, their speeches weren’t on par with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. According to Schumacher, speech analysis is difficult because often times it’s hard to obtain transcripts of speeches. But, it is possible to generate reliable transcripts from video using automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems—which have been developed at LTI.
What do you guys think about the study? Let us know in the comments below! (No disrespect neither, merely a report).
The study is available to read online at: [ http://reap.cs.cmu.edu/Papers/Technical_report_16-001_Schumacher_Eskenazi.pdf ]
Speeches of Obama, Bush, Reagan, Clinton:
Obama urban league speech 8-2-2008, http://www.presidentialrhetoric.com/campaign2008/obama/08.02.08.html – accessed 3-14-2016.
GW Bush urban league speech 7-23-1004, http://www.presidentialrhetoric.com/campaign/speeches/bush_july23.html – accessed 3-14-2016.
Reagan nomination acceptance speech 7-17-1980, http://www.presidentialrhetoric.com/historicspeeches/reagan/nominationacceptance1980.html – accessed 3-14-2016.
Bill Clinton speech in Memphis 11-13-1993: http://www.presidentialrhetoric.com/historicspeeches/clinton/memphis.html – accessed 3-14-2016