We are Text Inspector – the web-based language analysis tool created by renowned Professor of Applied Linguistics, Stephen Bax.
With just the click of a button, you can get detailed information regarding readability, complexity, lexical diversity, estimated CEFL level and other key statistics from any given text.
Whether you are an ESL teacher planning your lessons and materials, an ESOL student working hard to improve your language skills, a linguistics student doing research or even just a language geek, we’ll instantly give you the answers you need.
We’re trusted by universities and colleges across the world including King’s College London, Universita’ degli Studi di Verona and National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan.
Why was Text Inspector created?
Professor Bax created Text Inspector to further develop understanding of language and second language acquisition and language. We’re a non-profit organisation that invests every penny back into the running and development of the tool.
After designing and developing the online prototype, Stephen was told by his family and friends that he needed professional help (in many ways), so he approached the web team at Versantus, based near Oxford in the UK.
Since then, the talented Versantus team have knocked it into shape in terms of design and functionality. Stephen’s research into lexis in texts still underpins the metrics used on the site.
Who was Professor Bax?
The late Professor Stephen Bax was a leading authority on the use of technology for language learning, winning several awards including the 2014 TESOL Distinguished Researcher Award and the British Council ELTONS awards for Digital Innovation in 2017.
He spent the majority of his career as a lecturer and professor of Applied Linguistics at several prestigious UK universities including Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Bedfordshire and the Open University.
According to a colleague Theresa Lillis, professor of English language and applied linguistics at the OU, Professor Bax was:
“an academic who inspired both students and colleagues to push beyond their immediate understandings and to imagine new intellectual horizons”.
In later years, he became passionate about the still-undeciphered Voynich manuscript which has been carbon-dated to the 1420s. It is unknown whether this text is a hoax or represents a genuine or encoded language.
Sadly, Professor Bax passed away suddenly in November 2017. However, the Text Inspector team continues to work hard along with friends, family and colleagues of Stephen’s to keep his dream alive and implement his extensive plans for the site.
You can find his obituary in the Times Higher Education.
Why Analyse Vocabulary?
Vocabulary is the basis of all language and allows an individual to express their ideas and to understand others. It underpins the four core language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Even if we stripped away all grammatical words and structure from a language and left just the vocabulary, we would still be able to communicate.
For example, a Polish ESL student might (wrongly) say, “I very like chocolate” or “I enjoy to read a book” yet they would be understood.
A large vocabulary is also widely associated to be a sign of better skill with language, especially at an academic level. This applies to both native speakers and ESL students alike.
More specifically for ESL students, larger vocabulary size is consistently connected to:
- Better reading comprehension
- Better listening comprehension
- Better writing skills
- Better speaking ability (including pronunciation, accent and fluency)
By analysing the vocabulary of a text, we have an excellent overall impression of its lexical diversity, complexity and CEFR level. This can help us improve our language teaching and learning, help empower students and further our understanding of language.
Of course, vocabulary isn’t the whole story. There are numerous other factors which influence language. However, the vocabulary content of a text is certainly a very important dimension which is why Text Inspector helps you to analyse it.