Saturday, February 13, 2010

The I's Don't Quite Have It

My spouse pointed out a blog entry talking about over-analysis of Obama's speeches.

Fox news is now tracking the frequency of the use of the word "I" in speeches by President Obama.

I think I use "I" in many of my sentences, but I'm just me and allowed my opinion of myself. And of course everyone who has read a resume or been taught anything about parenting and civil and civic discourse has been advised to use I-messages e.g. "I am hurt when you speak to me that way."

I decided to do my own quick test. I would compare the frequency of words used in the acceptance speeches of both Barack Obama and John McCain. Neither were President yet. At that period they were pretty much equals with the same goal and probably on top of their egotistical games.

I used this free word frequency counter to measure word frequency in the speeches. I obtained both transcripts from the New York Times. I've listed variations on the use of the word "I" and for comparison the word "we". I included the use of contractions of these words. I've also included a few familiar words.

Below are the results. Judge for yourself. Clearly each has chosen their words carefully.

Obama Acceptance Speech. (transcript)
  • (Count / Word)
  • 77 we
  • 67 i
  • 24 america
  • 21 mccain
  • 18 american
  • 16 country
  • 9 i've
  • 8 i'll
  • 2 i'm
  • 1 we've
  • 1 we're
McCain Acceptance Speech. (transcript)
  • (Count / Word)
  • 115 i
  • 53 we
  • 28 country
  • 17 i'm
  • 17 americans
  • 16 we're
  • 16 i've
  • 14 we'll
  • 9 american
  • 6 obama
  • 5 america
  • 4 we've
  • 3 i'd
  • 2 i'll

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