RE: Reading and Editing

Subject: RE: Reading and Editing
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 16:37:59 -0700


Subvocalizing is fairly well understood by those who study language
learning, reading pedagogy, etc.
Yes, it is largely an artifact or by-product of acquisition and is
influenced [if not driven] by teaching [or lack of].
But it should not be dismissed as trivial, because for some it imposes a
significant burden on learning or performance.

Many conventional approaches "correct" the problem of subvocalizing by
strategies that aim to reduce or eliminate this unnecessary accompaniment to
the cognitive processing of text while reading -- unnecessary because you do
not *need* to vocalize or subvocalize to read well AND it can certainly
limit the speed at which you effectively read. Speed reading is best
achieved by learning to bite off bigger "chunks" visually, at speeds which
exceed (sub)vocalizing.

[Learning to write is, as noted, much easier if you turn your own speech
into written form, and improve it from there.]

Getting so used to subvocalizing that you rely on it as a feature of reading
or writing style begs the question [aha!] of its usefulness in one's style
of processing. That style issue can be accounted for by models like
Neurolinguistic Programming [or its antecedents] that describe modes of
sensory data processing and how these modes predominate in an individual. A
simple use of NLP is to notice how a subject reveals [the "distinct tells"
cited below] his/her mode(s) of preferred processsing, e.g., by looking up &
to the right [or left] when remembering sth. or responding to a question, by
the preferred verbs & sentence structures [visual types use "I see" more
often, kinesthetic types say "I feel" or "it feels to me...", audio types
say "I hear you"] & so on.
Careful examination of one's own [or others'] style of speech & writing can
yield useful insights, IF one is interested in making sense of that
meta-matrix, which lies behind or above surface functional levels. It can be
very powerful in therapeutic settings, in teaching, in coaching/counseling,
in maximizing debate or trial skills, in sales, & so on.
Many [most?] people are unaware of how their own preferences often
predispose them to receive information well or ill, and how to compensate or
correct for it.


> -----Original Message-----
> Steven Brown wrote:> It's odd how someone can't simply speak and put the
> words to paper.
> Chiming in as another acknowledged subvocalizer (do you hear the
> chimes?), I think the phenomenon you are describing simply traces back
> to poor instruction in high school--or, more properly, lack of any
> instruction in high school--in _how_ to write as you speak. I don't want
> to get back on the thread of the appalling state of instruction in
> writing; I'm just pointing out that the problem you describe is an
> artifact of that, rather than being an artifact of eye-reading versus
> ear-reading.
> I've known eye-readers who were excellent writers. But the difference in
> the written product is instructive. There are distinct tells in the way
> each group writes. I think in editing other writers's work, we should be
> sensitive to these two different styles, even as we strive to attain a
> consistent company voice. I suspect this particular dichotomy may be the
> source of a lot of teeth-gnashing in the writer-editor relationship, and
> simply by noting its existence we can come to an accommodation easily
> enough.

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