Re: Fascinating

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Tue May 28 2002 - 23:30:38 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Fascinating
    Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 18:30:38 -0400
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    >From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    >Subject: Re: Fascinating
    >Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 08:21:01 -0700
    >Excellent article. Loved it. A precise demonstration of how we process
    >language. For the most part, we see and hear what we expect to see and
    >hear. If it's not exactly right, the brain will use the redundancy of
    >language to put it all in the proper order.
    >>Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 10:39:45 +0100
    >>Hi Everyone,
    >>This is a message from Chris Taylor, who's having some problems posting to
    >>the list (and getting through to the list administrator), and asked me to
    >>forward this:
    >>I love this (took ages to type in) -
    >>" ... randomising letters in the middle of words [has] little or no
    >>effect on the ability of skilled readers to understand the text. This is
    >>easy to denmtrasote. In a pubiltacion of New Scnieitst you could
    >>ramdinose all the letetrs, keipeng the first two and last two the same,
    >>and reibadailty would hadrly be aftcfeed. My ansaylis did not come to
    >>much beucase the thoery at the time was for shape and senqeuce
    >>retigcionon. Saberi's work sugsegts we may have some pofrweul palrlael
    >>prsooscers at work. The resaon for this is suerly that idnetiyfing
    >>coentnt by paarllel prseocsing speeds up regnicoiton.
    >>We only need the first and last two letetrs to spot chganes in meniang."
    >> Chris Taylor (
    >> »people»chris
    I wonder why I hadn't seen Chris Talyor poitsng here for awhile. Wodner what
    Joe's and Robin's exucses are...

    The only trouble I had was recognizing (or deciphering) "parallel
    processors" in the above garbling. I wonder why that is, except maybe that
    much of what I typically read makes no mention of parallel processing, so I
    took a while for that word template to cue up for comparison with the
    garbled text or that the garbling was so serious that "prsooscers" was
    giving me fits, regardless of how familiar I was with the word "processors".
    Did I infer what these words that were garbled in the text should actually
    be by the context in which they were used, maybe quickly hypothesizing the
    correct letter sequence and testing it against the rest of the passage for
    whether it made any sense?

    I wonder if someone not used to English (an ESL'er) would be able to make
    out the text. I'm familiar with periodical titles like _New Scientist_ so
    that was pretty easy, but what about something like _American Philatelist_?
    I barely even know what philately is, so if someone who didn't know the word
    saw garbled text like _Amrciean Phtllieaist_ within a passage about stamp
    collecting, could they make it out? I'd say that one's chancces of
    recognizing garbeled text, with the first and last two letters in the words
    being correct is lowered as the length of the word increases and as the
    familiarity with the word decreases. If someone were to garble some
    extremely long technical word in a passage about a field of knowledge I knew
    nothing about, a field with lots of neologisms that I've never heard before
    and these neo-logisms or associated technical words also occurred in the
    garbled passage, I'd probably be completely at a loss.

    Local newpapers tend to have scrambled word games on the same page as the
    crosswords. I wonder if someone practiced at these sort of games would have
    any edge in quickly recognizing garbled text in a passage, some sort of
    well-honed set of strategies for unscrambling words into meaningful text.

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