Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“What is intelligibility?”
“It’s a little conceptual tool I created for myself. A measure of how easy something is to understand by others.
How intelligible is x?
You can think of it as a spectrum, from low to high.
Intelligibility has two components:
- Plain language, using the most basic vocabulary.
- Expressing the complex in terms of the simple.
- Clear language, and clear thinking.
- Defining concepts.
- Making the implicit explicit.
- Expressing the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.
“What about brevity?”
“Brevity is beautiful, but compression often comes at the cost of intelligibility.
Intelligibility can be used to evaluate individual concepts, and texts as a whole.
It can also be used to evaluate yourself, your capacity to make yourself understood.
How intelligible are you?