DICTION 5.0 by Dr. Roderick P. Hart
DICTION 5.0 counts words based on 33 separate dictionaries (such as familiarity, human interest, tenacity, and self-reference) and two sets of variables and creates numerical frequencies and standard scores for these lists of words. Included with the dictionary scores are scores for five master variables and four calculated variables. The calculated variables, which are based on word ratios, include: (1) insistence, a measure of “code-restriction” that indicates a “preference for a limited, ordered world”; (2) embellishment, a measure of the ratio of adjectives to verbs; (3) variety, a measure of conformity to, or avoidance of, a limited set of expressions (different words/total words); and (4) complexity, a measure of word size based on the Flesch method. The master variables, which the program assumes best capture the major tonal features of a text, are derived from calculations using the scores from the 33 dictionaries and include: (1) certainty, a measure of language “indicating resoluteness, inflexibility, and completeness and a tendency to speak ex cathedra”; (2) activity, a measure of “movement, change, [and] the implementation of ideas and the avoidance of inertia”; (3) optimism, a measure of “language endorsing some person, group, concept or event or highlighting their positive entailments”; (4) realism, a measure of language “describing tangible, immediate, recognizable matters that affect people’s everyday lives”; and (5) commonality, a measure of language “highlighting the agreed-upon values of a group and rejecting idiosyncratic modes of engagement." One of the strengths of DICTION 5.0 is that it can compare texts to several sets of norms based on Hart's research over the past 17 years. The norms are based on the analysis of 22,027 texts of various sorts written between 1948 and 1998.
The data produced by DICTION 5.0 includes scores compared to a "normal range" and standard scores that indicate standard deviations from the norm. Hart's use of the term "normal range" is somewhat idiosyncratic. It does not refer to the range of plus or minus two standard deviations from the mean, encompassing 95 percent of the data, as the term is typically used in statistical analysis. Instead, Hart uses the term to indicate the range of plus or minus one standard deviation. This normal range encompasses 68 percent of the data. Any score outside the normal range is considered statistically significant in DICTION 5.0. The standard score of an observation is the number of standard deviation units it is above or below the mean; the larger the standard score, the farther it is from the mean.
Formulas for the Master Variables
Certainty = [Tenac. +
Level. + Collec. + Insist.] - [Numer. + Ambiv. + Self + Variety]
Optimism = [Praise + Satis. + Inspir.] - [Blame + Hard. +Denial]
Realism = [Famil. + Spat. + Temp. +Prsnt. + Human. + Concr.] - [Past + Complx.]
Activity = [Aggres. + Accomp. + Commun. + Motion] - [Cog. + Passv. + Embell.]
Commonality = [Centr. + Coop. + Rapport] - [Divers. + Exclu. + Liber.]
Descriptions of the Dictionaries and Scores
Words expressing task-completion (establish, finish, influence, proceed) and
organized human behavior (motivated, influence, leader, manage). Includes
capitalistic terms (buy, produce, employees, sell), modes of expansion (grow,
increase, generate, construction) and general functionality (handling,
strengthen, succeed, outputs). Also included is programmatic language: agenda,
enacted, working, leadership.
dictionary embracing human competition and forceful action. Its terms connote
physical energy (blast, crash, explode, collide), social domination (conquest,
attacking, dictatorships, violation), and goal-directedness (crusade, commanded,
challenging, overcome). In addition, words associated with personal triumph
(mastered, rambunctious, pushy), excess human energy (prod, poke, pound, shove),
disassembly (dismantle, demolish, overturn, veto) and resistance (prevent,
reduce, defend, curbed) are included.
Ambivalence: Words expressing hesitation or uncertainty, implying a speaker's inability or unwillingness to commit to the verbalization being made. Included are hedges (allegedly, perhaps, might), statements of inexactness (almost, approximate, vague, somewhere) and confusion (baffled, puzzling, hesitate). Also included are words of restrained possibility (could, would, he'd) and mystery (dilemma, guess, suppose, seems).
Blame: Terms designating social inappropriateness (mean, naive, sloppy, stupid) as well as downright evil (fascist, blood-thirsty, repugnant, malicious) compose this dictionary. In addition, adjectives describing unfortunate circumstances (bankrupt, rash, morbid, embarrassing) or unplanned vicissitudes (weary, nervous, painful, detrimental) are included. The dictionary also contains outright denigrations: cruel, illegitimate, offensive, miserly.
Centrality: Terms denoting institutional regularities and/or substantive agreement on core values. Included are indigenous terms (native, basic, innate) and designations of legitimacy (orthodox, decorum, constitutional, ratified), systematicity (paradigm, bureaucratic, ritualistic), and typicality (standardized, matter-of-fact, regularity). Also included are terms of congruence (conformity, mandate, unanimous), predictability (expected, continuity, reliable), and universality (womankind, perennial, landmarks).
Cognitive Terms: Words referring to cerebral processes, both functional and imaginative. Included are modes of discovery (learn, deliberate, consider, compare) and domains of study (biology, psychology, logic, economics). The dictionary includes mental challenges (question, forget, re-examine, paradoxes), institutional learning practices (graduation, teaching, classrooms), as well as three forms of intellection: intuitional (invent, perceive, speculate, interpret), rationalistic (estimate, examine, reasonable, strategies), and calculative (diagnose, analyze, software, fact-finding).
Singular nouns connoting plurality that function to decrease specificity. These
words reflect a dependence on categorical modes of thought. Included are social
groupings (crowd, choir, team, humanity), task groups (army, congress,
legislature, staff) and geographical entities (county, world, kingdom,
Communication: Terms referring to social interaction, both face-to-face (listen, interview, read, speak) and mediated (film, videotape, telephone, e-mail). The dictionary includes both modes of intercourse (translate, quote, scripts, broadcast) and moods of intercourse (chat, declare, flatter, demand). Other terms refer to social actors (reporter, spokesperson, advocates, preacher) and a variety of social purposes (hint, rebuke, respond, persuade).
Complexity: A simple measure of the average number of characters-per-word in a given input file. Borrows Rudolph Flesch's (1951) notion that convoluted phrasings make a text's ideas abstract and its implications unclear.
Concreteness: A large dictionary possessing no thematic unity other than tangibility and materiality. Included are sociological units (peasants, African-Americans, Catholics), occupational groups (carpenter, manufacturer, policewoman), and political alignments (Communists, congressman, Europeans). Also incorporated are physical structures (courthouse, temple, store), forms of diversion (television, football, CD-ROM), terms of accountancy (mortgage, wages, finances), and modes of transportation (airplane, ship, bicycle). In addition, the dictionary includes body parts (stomach, eyes, lips), articles of clothing (slacks, pants, shirt), household animals (cat, insects, horse) and foodstuffs (wine, grain, sugar), and general elements of nature (oil, silk, sand).
Cooperation: Terms designating behavioral interactions among people that often result in a group product. Included are designations of formal work relations (unions, schoolmates, caucus) and informal associations (chum, partner, cronies) to more intimate interactions (sisterhood, friendship, comrade). Also included are neutral interactions (consolidate, mediate, alignment), job-related tasks (network, détente, exchange), personal involvement (teamwork, sharing, contribute), and self-denial (public-spirited, care-taking, self-sacrifice).
Denial: A dictionary consisting of standard negative contractions (aren't, shouldn't, don't), negative functions words (nor, not, nay), and terms designating null sets (nothing, nobody, none).
Diversity: Words describing individuals or groups of individuals differing from the norm. Such distinctiveness may be comparatively neutral (inconsistent, contrasting, non-conformist) but it can also be positive (exceptional, unique, individualistic) and negative (illegitimate, rabble-rouser, extremist). Functionally, heterogeneity may be an asset (far-flung, dispersed, diffuse) or a liability (factionalism, deviancy, quirky) as can its characterizations: rare vs. queer, variety vs. jumble, distinctive vs. disobedient.
Exclusion: A dictionary describing the sources and effects of social isolation. Such seclusion can be phrased passively (displaced, sequestered) as well as positively (self-contained, self-sufficient) and negatively (outlaws, repudiated). Moreover, it can result from voluntary forces (secede, privacy) and involuntary forces (ostracize, forsake, discriminate) and from both personality factors (small-mindedness, loneliness) and political factors (right-wingers, nihilism). Exclusion is often a dialectical concept: hermit vs. derelict, refugee vs. pariah, discard vs. spurn).
Familiarity: Consists of a selected number of C.K. Ogden's (1968) "operation" words which he calculates to be the most common words in the English language. Included are common prepositions (across, over, through), demonstrative pronouns (this, that) and interrogative pronouns (who, what), and a variety of particles, conjunctions and connectives (a, for, so).
Hardship: This dictionary contains natural disasters (earthquake, starvation, tornado, pollution), hostile actions (killers, bankruptcy, enemies, vices) and censurable human behavior (infidelity, despots, betrayal). It also includes unsavory political outcomes (injustice, slavery, exploitation, rebellion) as well as normal human fears (grief, unemployment, died, apprehension) and incapacities (error, cop-outs, weakness).
An adaptation of Rudolf Flesch's notion that concentrating on people and their
activities gives discourse a life-like quality. Included are standard personal
pronouns (he, his, ourselves, them), family members and relations (cousin, wife,
grandchild, uncle), and generic terms (friend, baby, human, persons).
Inspiration: Abstract virtues deserving of universal respect. Most of the terms in this dictionary are nouns isolating desirable moral qualities (faith, honesty, self-sacrifice, virtue) as well as attractive personal qualities (courage, dedication, wisdom, mercy). Social and political ideals are also included: patriotism, success, education, justice.
Leveling: Words used to ignore individual differences and to build a sense of completeness and assurance. Included are totalizing terms (everybody, anyone, each, fully), adverbs of permanence (always, completely, inevitably, consistently), and resolute adjectives (unconditional, consummate, absolute, open-and-shut).
Liberation: Terms describing the maximizing of individual choice (autonomous, open-minded, options) and the rejection of social conventions (unencumbered, radical, released). Liberation is motivated by both personality factors (eccentric, impetuous, flighty) and political forces (suffrage, liberty, freedom, emancipation) and may produce dramatic outcomes (exodus, riotous, deliverance) or subdued effects (loosen, disentangle, outpouring). Liberatory terms also admit to rival characterizations: exemption vs. loophole, elope vs. abscond, uninhibited vs. outlandish.
Motion: Terms connoting human movement (bustle, job, lurch, leap), physical processes (circulate, momentum, revolve, twist), journeys (barnstorm, jaunt, wandering, travels), speed (lickety-split, nimble, zip, whistle-stop), and modes of transit (ride, fly, glide, swim).
Numerical Terms: Any sum, date, or product specifying the facts in a given case. This dictionary treats each isolated integer as a single "word" and each separate group of integers as a single word. In addition, the dictionary contains common numbers in lexical format (one, tenfold, hundred, zero) as well as terms indicating numerical operations (subtract, divide, multiply, percentage) and quantitative topics (digitize, tally, mathematics). The presumption is that Numerical Terms hyper-specify a claim, thus detracting from its universality.
Passivity: Words ranging from neutrality to inactivity. Includes terms of compliance (allow, tame, appeasement), docility (submit, contented, sluggish), and cessation (arrested, capitulate, refrain, yielding). Also contains tokens of inertness (backward, immobile, silence, inhibit) and disinterest (unconcerned, nonchalant, stoic), as well as tranquillity (quietly, sleepy, vacation).
Present Concern: A selective list of present-tense verbs extrapolated from C.K. Ogden's list of "general" and "picturable" terms, all of which occur with great frequency in standard American English. The dictionary is not topic-specific but points instead to general physical activity (cough, taste, sing, take), social operations (canvass, touch, govern, meet), and task-performance (make, cook, print, paint).
Past Concern: The past-tense forms of the verbs contained in the Present Concern dictionary.
Praise: Affirmations of some person, group, or abstract entity. Included are terms isolating important social qualities (dear, delightful, witty), physical qualities (mighty, handsome, beautiful), intellectual qualities (shrewd, bright, vigilant, reasonable), entrepreneurial qualities (successful, conscientious, renowned), and moral qualities (faithful, good, noble). All terms in this dictionary are adjectives.
Rapport: This dictionary describes attitudinal similarities among groups of people. Included are terms of affinity (congenial, camaraderie, companion), assent (approve, vouched, warrants), deference (tolerant, willing, permission), and identity (equivalent, resemble, consensus).
Satisfaction: Terms associated with positive affective states (cheerful, passionate, happiness), with moments of undiminished joy (thanks, smile, welcome) and pleasurable diversion (excited, fun, lucky), or with moments of triumph (celebrating, pride, auspicious). Also included are words of nurturance: healing, encourage, secure, relieved.
Self-Reference: All first-person references, including I, I'd, I'll, I'm, I've, me, mine, my, myself. Self-references are treated as acts of "indexing" whereby the locus of action appears to reside in the speaker and not in the world at large (thereby implicitly acknowledging the speaker's limited vision).
Spatial Awareness: Terms referring to geographical entities, physical distances, and modes of measurement. Included are general geographical terms (abroad, elbow-room, locale, outdoors) as well as specific ones (Ceylon, Kuwait, Poland). Also included are politically defined locations (county, fatherland, municipality, ward), points on the compass (east, southwest) and the globe (latitude, coastal, border, snowbelt), as well as terms of scale (kilometer, map, spacious), quality (vacant, out-of-the-way, disoriented) and change (pilgrimage, migrated, frontier.)
Temporal Awareness: Terms that fix a person, idea, or event within a specific time-interval, thereby signaling a concern for concrete and practical matters. The dictionary designates literal time (century, instant, mid-morning) as well as metaphorical designations (lingering, seniority, nowadays). Also included are calendrical terms (autumn, year-round, weekend), elliptical terms (spontaneously, postpone, transitional), and judgmental terms (premature, obsolete, punctual).
uses of the verb "to be" (is, am, will, shall), three definitive verb forms
(has, must, do) and their variants, as well as all associated contractions
(he'll, they've, ain't). These verbs connote confidence and totality.
Example of a DICTION 5.0 report.
President Bush Calls on Congress to Act 9-23-02.txt Total Words Analyzed: 4372 Total Characters Analyzed: 26450 Average Word Size: 4.49 Number of Different Words: 1909 Alpha-numeric Identifier: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Descriptive Identifier: Options Active Custom Dictionaries: Character Counts: (none) View Character Counts: No View Word Counts: No Small File Option: Report extrapolations Large File Option: Averaged (Analyze maximum 500,000 words) Numeric File Name: C:\Program Files\Diction\Data\Research.num Use Comma Separator: Yes Print Input Text: No View Input Text: No Normative Values Class: Politics Type: Public Policy Speeches Standard Dictionary Totals Variable Frequency % of Words Normal Range Standard Out of Analyzed Low High Score Range Numerical Terms 3.32 0.66 2.18 16.02 -0.60 Ambivalence 11.53 2.31 3.84 18.05 -0.11 Self-reference 7.88 1.58 0.37 16.58 -0.05 Tenacity 29.69 5.94 27.25 39.13 -0.19 Leveling Terms 13.76 2.75 4.08 12.96 1.20 * Collectives 15.40 3.08 7.51 15.91 0.90 Praise 9.81 1.96 3.84 10.14 0.91 Satisfaction 7.68 1.54 0.00 6.00 1.60 * Inspiration 5.90 1.18 4.91 10.90 -0.19 Blame 0.55 0.11 0.00 3.72 -0.79 Hardship 8.49 1.70 1.18 9.91 0.65 Aggression 6.16 1.23 0.00 10.90 -0.01 Accomplishment 10.73 2.15 9.56 21.52 -0.48 Communication 9.58 1.92 1.93 11.11 0.67 Cognition 11.18 2.24 5.12 13.13 0.57 Passivity 3.13 0.63 0.00 8.94 -0.67 Spatial Terms 19.56 3.91 1.61 23.00 0.59 Familiarity 113.73 22.75 127.13 147.31 -1.57 * Temporal Terms 10.70 2.14 11.94 23.99 -0.87 * Present Concern 21.50 4.30 0.00 16.52 2.01 * Human Interest 41.89 8.38 22.60 43.78 0.85 Concreteness 22.50 4.50 18.29 29.41 0.21 Past Concern 4.00 0.80 0.47 5.79 0.26 Centrality 0.85 0.17 2.27 6.97 -1.11 * Rapport 0.82 0.16 0.00 4.14 -0.84 Cooperation 6.62 1.32 3.09 8.46 0.51 Diversity 1.38 0.28 0.00 3.36 -0.23 Exclusion 1.43 0.29 0.00 4.15 -0.34 Liberation 2.46 0.49 0.00 5.51 -0.04 Denial 9.06 1.81 4.29 9.81 0.79 Motion 3.42 0.68 0.00 4.29 0.57 Custom Dictionary Totals Dictionary Occurrences Words for Insistence Score Word Occurrences ABLE 3 AMERICA 51 APPLAUSE 19 ATTACK 3 BEING 3 BEST 3 BILL 17 BORDER 4 BUDGET 4 CHILD 8 CHILDREN 4 COMPASSIONATE 3 CONCERNED 3 CONGRESS 14 COUNTRY 23 DAY 4 DEPARTMENT 3 DIFFERENT 8 ECONOMIC 4 ECONOMY 3 ENEMY 9 ENERGY 5 EVIL 6 FISCAL 3 FREEDOM 3 FUTURE 3 GOOD 14 GOVERNMENT 3 GOVERNOR 3 GROWTH 5 GUARD 3 HATE 5 HIDE 6 HOMELAND 4 IDEA 3 INCREDIBLE 3 INSTITUTIONS 3 ISSUE 3 JERSEY 4 JOBS 3 JUSTICE 3 LEADER 5 LEGACY 4 LEVEL 3 LIFE 5 LONG 3 LOVE 10 MAN 4 MEANS 7 MONEY 12 NATIONS 5 NEED 12 NEIGHBOR 4 NEW 8 NEWS 4 ORDER 3 PEACE 7 PEACEFUL 4 PEOPLE 20 PLACE 4 PLACES 3 PRESIDENT 3 PRIORITIES 3 RELIEF 3 RESOLUTION 3 RESPONSIBILITY 3 RIGHT 5 SECURE 3 SECURITY 7 SEPTEMBER 4 SERVICE 4 SET 3 SPENDING 9 STATES 3 STRENGTH 3 STRONG 3 STRONGER 4 SYSTEMS 3 TALKS 3 TAX 3 TEMPORARY 4 THOUGHT 7 THREAT 3 THREATS 6 TIME 3 TOUGH 5 UNITED 7 UNIVERSAL 3 WAR 5 WASHINGTON 9 WAY 3 WEAPONS 4 WORK 12 WORKERS 3 WORLD 8 Calculated Variables Variable Frequency Normal Range Standard Out of Low High Score Range Insistence 57.76 40.51 72.39 0.53 Embellishment 0.44 0.64 1.12 -0.55 * Variety 0.49 0.22 0.53 0.01 Complexity 4.49 2.09 4.87 -0.38 Master Variables Variable Score Normal Range Out of Low High Range Activity 51.40 47.25 52.53 Optimism 51.68 47.97 53.07 Certainty 53.18 47.68 52.59 * Realism 51.34 48.42 53.47 Commonality 49.18 49.91 52.37 *