Obama’s Acceptance Speech at 9th Grade Level
Delivered in more accessible language than past efforts
Austin, Texas, USA. September 3, 2008. In an exclusive analysis of the speeches made at the recently concluded Democratic National Convention, the Global Language Monitor found that Barak Obama’s widely viewed (and acclaimed) acceptance speech was delivered in language that reflected a ninth grade (9.3) ‘reading level’. “This is significant,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM, “because Obama was attempting to communicate to an audience estimated at over 38 million viewers in easier to understand language than typical of his past efforts. He is widely viewed as having succeeded.”
Other speeches delivered during the convention ranged from grade levels of 10.5 to 6.4:
- 10.5 (Al Gore),
- 10.3 (Bill Clinton),
- 8.7 (Hillary Clinton)
- 8.0 (Michelle Obama)
- 6.4 (Joe Biden)
Two of the most important and popular speeches in American history, The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech also registered at ninth grade levels (9.1 and 8.8 respectively).
Speeches by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan often registered at the 12th grade level.
The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com), the media analysis and analytics agency. GLM used a modified Flesch-Kincaid formula for its analysis, which measures factors such as number of words in a sentence, number of letters in a word, the percentage of sentences in passive voice, and other indicators of ‘readability’.
See also: Obama as a Top Word of 2008
See also: ObamaSpeak
See also: Obama Victory Speach Ranked
See also: Final Debate — Candidates Differ Sharply