Linsear Write

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Linsear Write is a readability metric for English text, purportedly developed for the United States Air Force to help them calculate the readability of their technical manuals.[1] It is one of many such readability metrics, but is specifically designed to calculate the United States grade level of a text sample based on sentence length and the number of words used that have three or more syllables.[2] It is similar to the Fry readability formula.

Algorithm[edit]

The standard Linsear Write metric Lw runs on a 100-word sample:[3]

  1. For each "easy word", defined as words with 2 syllables or less, add 1 point.
  2. For each "hard word", defined as words with 3 syllables or more, add 3 points.
  3. Divide the points by the number of sentences in the 100-word sample.
  4. Adjust the provisional result r:
    • If r > 20, Lw = r / 2.
    • If r ≤ 20, Lw = r / 2 - 1.

The result is a "grade level" measure, reflecting the estimated years of education needed to read the text fluently.

History[edit]

The idea behind the metric goes back to government employee John O'Hayre's 1966 manual, titled Gobbledygook Has Gotta Go. In his style manual, O'Hayre proposed a metric that considers shorter sentences and shorter words easier to read: in a 100-word sample, each one-syllable word (with the exception of some stop words) is worth one point, and each sentence (semicolon or period) is worth 3 points. The higher the score, the better.[4] At some later point in time the metric was developed into a full Linsear Write Index.[5]

External links[edit]

  • koRpus, a package for R, the Linsear Write formula is included in its functions readability() and readability.num().
  • textstat, a Python module that has a Linsear Write method to calculate the grade level for text. An example: textstat.textstat.textstat.linsear_write_formula(text)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arkansas Bar Association | What's New Archived 2008-01-11 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Linsear Write Readability Formula Archived 2008-03-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Readability Helps The Level
  4. ^ O'Hayre, John. "Gobbledygook Has Gotta Go" (PDF). governmentattic.org.
  5. ^ Klare, George R. (1974). "Assessing Readability". Reading Research Quarterly. 10 (1): 74. doi:10.2307/747086.