12 Aug 2005 cinamod   » (Master)

I was listening to Peter Gabriel's song "Big Time" from his multi-platinum album "So" (quite excellent album, fwiw). In it, he sings the lyric:

the place where I come from is a small town
they think so small
they use small words
-but not me
I'm smarter than that

I'm a geek, so "but not me, I'm smarter than that" sounded like a challenge. So I decided to test Peter Gabriel's vocabulary.[1] Please, judge for yourself:

Longest word: circumstance
Word with most syllables: adventure

Distribution of words by word length: 1: 15 2: 70 3: 87 4: 77 5: 32 6: 21 7: 12 8: 1 9: 1 10: 1 12: 1 Mean word length: 3.56

Distribution of words by number of syllables: 1: 281 2: 35 3: 2 Mean number of syllables per word: 1.12

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: (.39 * ~7 words/sentence [I'm being generous]) + (11.8 * 1.12 syllables/word) - 15.59 = .356, or understandable to children not yet in first grade.

1. nb:, the song itself may be ironic and is undeniably campy, but is undeniably autobiographical as well.

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