1. ## Counting Syllables (WordXP)

Is there a way to estimate the number of syllables in a Word?

I am writing a program to calculate the Ease of Reading score for an article. The formula is:

Reading Ease Score = 206.835 - 0.846wl - 1.015sl

where
wl:= number of syllables per 100 words
sl: = average sentence length in words

Thanks.

2. ## Re: Counting Syllables (WordXP)

Haven't done any serious testing, but you might try to get a rough estimate by searching for [a-zA-Z ][aeiou] with "Match wildcards" (...replace with ^& so nothing is changed).

It seems to work pretty well for German text; if you compare with a true count of syllables on some piece of text, you might improve on it with some "fudge factor".
Say the estimate from the wildcard search was 140, and the real count was 135, you'd multiply your future results with the fudge factor (135/140).

Basically, it uses the fact that most syllables contain a vocal as the second letter, and it accounts for the frequent short words that *start* with a vocal (it, on, ...) by including a space in the group for the first letter.

<img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

3. ## Re: Counting Syllables (WordXP)

Klaus,

Many thanks for this solution. It worked perfectly!

<img src=/S/cool.gif border=0 alt=cool width=15 height=15>

4. ## Re: Counting Syllables (WordXP)

Glad to hear that! But I'm sure "perfectly" is a (nice) exaggeration.

As I said, it's more a rough estimate.
But so is the reading score, probably <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

Perhaps the result might be improved by including "y" in the list of vowels [aeiou], or by some more complicated wildcard search.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't even know how to split most english words into syllables <img src=/S/blush.gif border=0 alt=blush width=15 height=15>

<img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

5. ## Re: Counting Syllables (WordXP)

Hi Klaus,

One way, if Word provides a means to do this, might be via Word's auto-hyphenation feature.

From what I recall, if you set auto-hyphenation on, Word hyphenates words that are too long to fit the current line at the syllable junctions. If that is correct, then the question is: can one read/count the hyphens that Word can set in a given word? wdMatchOptionalHyphen?

Cheers

6. ## Re: Counting Syllables (WordXP)

Unfortunately I've found no way to access the hyphenation dictionary from VBA. The trick that works many other times, to access the dialog directly, doesn't work here either.

I've tried to get the hyphenation points in the past by putting words into a very narrow column, but it is messy, slow, and error-prone.

<img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

7. ## Re: Counting Syllables (WordXP)

If you can get your hands on the old macros8.dot utility template which came with Word 97, there is a utility called Super Doc Statistics, which produces a tabbed dialog with all sorts of info, including those as pictured in the screen snap (guess I should have tried this on a document that had content!).

Gary

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