Saturday, February 04, 2006

Typoglycemia

When I fly, I read, and was able to totally catch up on my last issue of Spirituality & Health on yesterday's flight home. I "soul" that bimonthly magazine. It's not a light-hearted read, in the sense that you can't really read it quickly.

But not that it's always heavy either. Take this fun exercise I found in the corner of a page: "Typoglycemia: Believe it or Not, You Can Read this:"

"I cdn'uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rsceearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiatrely cllaed Typoglycemia :)-

Amzanig huh? Yaeh and you awlyas thguoht slpeling was ipmorantt."

Now that I'm home, I've done a Wiki on it and have discovered that "In actual fact, no such research was carried out at Cambridge University. It all started with a letter to the New Scientist magazine from Graham Rawlinson in which he discusses his PhD thesis. For more on that, click here. The gist is that "we only need the first and last two letetrs to spot chganes in meniang."

Does this mean that spelling really isn't as important as all our teachers cracked it up to be!

As a linguist by education, this
has amused and amazed me. What intrigues me now, for those of you whose Mother Tongue is NOT English, is if the above exercise was just as easy for you as for the rest of us?? Pray tell.

15 comments:

  1. Yep Acautlly, It was Idneed! And fun fun fun. Eevn if my Mtoher Lnagauge is NOT Egnislh, T'was Ralely Esay!!!! YEP! :o)))))) But I wounld NOT try this in Chinese!!!

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  2. well that is kinda crazy. I'll have to point this out to P. Kinda funny if you ask me.

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  3. Nate: It sure is!

    MP: So glad it was easy even for YOU! :) No, I wouldn't think I'd try it in Chinese either!

    ET: Crazy AND funny!

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  4. That's really cool. No more spell check for me!

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  5. Although English is not my current language and I am not fluent it it I understood. Amazing, huh?

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  6. Mr. Fab: I agree!

    Mei: So glad to see this works even for those of you for whom English is not your first language! I love it.

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  7. How interesting! I've seen this flying around the internet for a while now but didn't know about the urban legend.

    I think the human brain has a need to make order out of chaos most of the time and if it encounters something unfamiliar, it will fall back on the familiar within its frame of reference to try to make sense of it. I think its knows a a "pattern-matching-facility"? You would know much better than I, Ginnie.

    I'll have to get my older son (bilingual English/German but doesn't do all that much reading in English) and my husband (native language German) to read this and see how they make out.

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  8. I've also read about this. It's very interesting, but I guess you have to have some knowledge of the spelling... at least the first and last letter of the word :-)

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  9. Christina: Actually, I think you hit the nail on the head! I'll especially want to hear how Boy12 does with it. Boy9, too, for that matter. I wonder if age, as in how long one's been reading, makes a difference?

    CS: HA. I'm guessing illiterates would NOT do well, you're right :)

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  10. Ginnie: I got my first issue in the mail, so I read this too! I'm enjoying it so much. Thank you again for the subscription! :)

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  11. Ruth, you are so very welcome! :) (But how strange to hear you calling me Ginnie!!)

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  12. This is really interesting Ginnie! And I am absolutely blown away by the fact that Mei Shile can easily read this stuff too!

    How very odd eh? I mn we cn rlly strt wrtng in shthd nw :-)

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  13. Like my sis and mei, yes I could easily read it! I'm amazed by myself! Maybe my english is not so bad after all. Now, I wonder if that could work for french. :O)

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  14. Your English is GREAT, Clo. Oh my. If I could speak/write French OR German like you speak/write English, I'd be in heaven! I'd be very curious to know if French/German would work with a similar exercise.

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