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ERIC Number: ED564228
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
Experimental Analyses of the Factors Affecting the Gradience in Sentence Difficulty Judgments
Koirala, Cesar; Jee, Rebecca Y., Paper presented at the 2015 EUROCALL Conference (22nd, Padova, Italy, Aug 26-29, 2015)
Although a reader's text-level comprehension is affected by the comprehension of individual sentences in a text, little attention has been paid to the difficulty of sentences. This study investigates whether measures (features) of text difficulty affect the "gradience" observed in sentence difficulty judgments. We examine two traditional features ("sentence length" and "number of low-frequency words") and six nontraditional features ("counts of clauses," "dependent clauses," "coordinate phrases," "t-units," "complex t-units," and "Wh nominals"). Five English language instructors participated in a sentence difficulty behavioral experiment. They had to judge how difficult the sentences were on a scale of 1 to 4, where "1" means "very easy," "2" means "easy," "3" means "moderately difficult," and "4" means "difficult." The scale of 1-4 allowed the subjects to treat perceived difficulty as a relative point on the scale rather than as categorical values ("easy" and "difficult"). It was found that both traditional and nontraditional measures of text difficulty correlate with participants' perceived difficulty suggesting that both types of features play roles in the perception of sentence difficulty. In addition, a tree-based readability model was implemented using the same sentences and features. The preliminary data suggests that the traditional features are more important while classifying new observations. [For full proceedings, see ED564162.] La Grange des Noyes, 25110 Voillans, France. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York