Observer, “The Presidential (and Not So Presidential) Vocabulary of the Second GOP Debate” (Sept. 17, 2015)
At the second Republican presidential debate, held last night at the Reagan Presidential Library and aired on CNN, the candidates jockeyed for the attention of primary voters. There are many ways of judging their performances, but what better way than to analyze their choice of words?
As with the first debate, Vocabulary.com has conducted a rapid-response survey of the candidates’ vocabulary, showcasing their most relevant words according to an analysis of the debate transcript. “Relevance” is determined by comparing the frequency of words used by the candidates with those words’ frequency in the corpus of texts. The corpus consists of 3.2 billion words from a variety of English sources, and it is continually growing with new sources added every day.
The analysis reveals some common themes related to serious-minded policy discussions: among the top relevant words overall were immigration and amnesty, autism and vaccine, destabilize and nuclear. But there were also some not-so-presidential words that Rand Paul might deem sophomoric.
Read the rest here.