Not strictly on origins, but nevertheless...

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Not strictly on origins, but nevertheless...

Post by allen-uk » Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:34 pm

The curuois penhmonoem fo popele bngie albe ot rdea jmubdle-up sellpngi leik this facsiaents me.

Mind, it's hard to type, so enough. Have there been any studies, and are there any published reports on the internet, which attempt to explain the phenomenom?

I take it, for example, that foreigners learning English can't cope with it, and that small semi-literate children would have trouble. But what about some autistic people who are bothered by rule-breaking? Does it upset their equilibrium?

And is the nature of the letter-jumbling important? For example, if the first sentence read: ....fo leeppo gibeng beal... it would be far harder to understand. Is the first letter important?
And what does it all say about standard orthography, and the whole business of learning to read?

Sorry about all the question marks, but it really does throw up a lot of them...

Allen, London.
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Post by T. Golden » Sat Nov 12, 2005 7:43 pm

Could you give some concrete examples, e.g., point us to sites or texts where we could see this curuois penhmonoem in a context?
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Nov 12, 2005 8:58 pm

Every time Bush speaks at one of his rarely-held accountability-evading press conferences, it's as though I'm hearing one of those jumbled texts. Maybe there is something to be said for the infrequency of those occasions after all.
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Post by minjeff » Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:36 pm

I have dyslexia and while I've never had too much trouble with reading and identifying words I do often read eons slower than most. Now to tie this in I would suggest that I can still comprehend and function without trouble as my brain picks the first letter of the word and the other letters relatively. The reading slower I understand to be from the fact that I have to get the word from "guessing" at its components and the context it's in. For example, I rarely confuse "conversation" and "conservation" because the contexts of their usages are mostly different, but when I first started music theory I would always read (and write) "timber" instead of "timbre" because I hadn't learned to grasp the difference between the two words and their contexts. Now I have no problems with either. Hopefully this will shed some light on your curiosity.
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Post by Phil White » Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:39 pm

Allen,

The purported research findings did the Netscrape rounds a few years ago as follows:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
Intriguing though it is, it would appear that there was no actual research done at Cambridge, or anywhere else, that was the cause of this assault on our mailboxes, although some of the underlying theories about the way we read have been around for some time (for instance it has long been well known that external letters are more valuable in identifying words than internal letters - that was the basis of a speed-writing technique I used for note-taking at university some 30 years ago).

As usual, Snopes.com has had a shot at it, but hasn't been able to get to the bottom of it. Have a look here for what Snopes has to say and for a couple of links that may interest you.

There is a page written by a researcher at the Cognition and Brian Sciences Unit at Cambridge which deals with most of the scientific background. You can find it here.

P.S. The typo was too cute to correct
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Post by haro » Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:08 pm

I agree to your P.S..
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Post by allen-uk » Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:31 am

Thanks for the answers, particularly yours, Phil. Very useful.

In some ways it doesn't matter whether this started as an Urban Myth or not. Some of the questions it throws up are intriguing, and call for some serious thought. (Mind you, I would avoid the Bush-brain mire. Watching him is bad enough, let alone listening to him, or even trying to understand. Wow).

Allen, London.
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Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Nov 17, 2005 7:00 pm

.. I still say it is not Bush's fault but the terribly bad puppeteer who is pulling the strings .. and of course the voice-over man ..

WoZ of Aus 18/11/05
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Post by pokoma » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:27 pm

Here's a different slant I learned in a course on teaching reading. We often recognize "sight words" by their shapes, not their spelling -- thanks largely to Anglo-Saxon words that wreak havoc with the rules of phonics ("though" doesn't rhyme with "through" or "trough" -- and don't forget "lough" for you Celtic types).

Think of letters in a standard font as having 3 box-like shapes, known in typography as x-height, ascender and descender. An x-height character is the general size of an x (e.g., turn a, c, or n into a square box), an ascender extends upward (a tall rectangle for b, d, l, or a cap), and a descender extends below (a long, downward rectangle for g, p, or y).

You'll have to do this on paper! Write a common word using only the 3 types of boxes and see if someone else can recognize it. Can "x descender descender" (without the spaces) be any word but "egg"? Or "axaaax" be "little"? It doesn't work every time, of course, but it's fun to guess the possibilities, including sets of homophones like "dxxx," "dxxx" and "dxx'xx" (/yor/) and other patterns.
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Post by JANE DOErell » Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:59 pm

I don't know what to search for so I can't confirm this but I vaguely recall that http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/ they had a serious discussion sometime within the last 24 months or so.
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Post by Pillzey » Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:43 am

ive read that if the the first and last letters of a word are in the correct places the human brain comprehends the word becasue the brain does not read it word for word it simple read the word as a whoole thing such is why when people type or write the leave out wordds and simply fil them in on thier own accord until it is read out loud
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Post by Pillzey » Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:52 am

but i have just realized something. just go with me on this one alright, since the beginning of our education we are drilled with language,though not always it history, to a point where people can just memorize whole books if drilled long enough so i wonder does the human brain just resign itself to memorize the beginning of word jsut to keep istelf form gtetnig oevlry atcvie or jsut to keep iesltf form unisg to mcuh of iltesf bcasuee we olny use ten prenect of it and yes you did just read that
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Jan 23, 2006 5:45 am

Pillzey, Nuntpee netavigas ilmanbintery anurod a plauractir galiartivotan ectripnee! (:<)

Ken G – Jraunay 22, 2006
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:59 am

That last comment by Ken shows just how right Pillzey's observations are; he/she/it has already proved 10 per cent of their point beyond dispute.

Which reminds me of one of my doctor's favourite maxims, "Nveer medurr snoomee wohs adaerly cittmomnig siducie".
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Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:35 pm

.. abemy all eht eelrstt in any dorw cdlou jstu be edilst in aaabcehillpt edorr .. and you can then do humpty dumpty spelling with them ..

.. to get a different idea use the matches function on your mobile phone when you type in a text message .. just with 3 letters, some 4, on each button you get some good variations from the combinations of letters that you type ..

WoZ of Aus 24/01/06
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