South Dakotans have been debated Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s budget proposals since he made them last Tuesday — not enough for education? Not cautious enough? Too much in reserves? Inappropriate line item spending? And that’s all interesting. But what about the governor’s actual words, not his ideas?
Never fear. I got my hands on a transcript of the governor’s speech, and ran the text through a few utilities.
First, what does a speech look like? Here’s a word cloud of Daugaard’s speech:
Bigger words were used more often, and smaller words less often.
You can see that if you run the speech through a text analyzer such as textalyser.net.
Here’s the top 10 significant words (excluding things like “I,” “the” and “and”) from the speech, with number of occurrences and the percent of the speech that word made up:
- million; 122; 1.7%
- you; 119; 1.7%
- our; 107; 1.5%
- year; 105; 1.5%
- percent; 91; 1.3%
- state; 87; 1.2%
- time; 65; 0.9%
- south; 61; 0.9%
- budget; 54; 0.8%
- ongoing; 53; 0.7%
Overall, the speech had 7,169 total words, consisting of 1,891 different words.
It’s important to keep in mind that unlike the State of the State speech, the budget address is not fully scripted. Large parts were improvised by the governor.
With that caveat, the speech had a Gunning-Fox Index, which measures the years of formal education required to understand it on a first reading, of 7.6. Anything below 8 is considered to have “near-universal understanding,” while a speech with a Gunning-Fox number of 12 would require a typical high school education to understand. (This refers to the words, not the concepts.)
The average sentence was 14.4 words long, with the longest sentence 55 words long. Most — 56 percent — of the words were a single syllable, while fewer than 100 of the 7,169 words had five or more syllables. The mean syllable length was 1.66 syllables.
All this too much words for you? Then you can just watch the video of the speech, from South Dakota Public Broadcasting: