Re: Common Errors in English

Subject: Re: Common Errors in English
From: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 09:21:30 -0700

Bruce Byfield wrote:

<snip> It helps that I have
> an extremely good inner ear, so that, when I read non-standard spelling,
> I mentally hear what is said. I suppose this is the equivalent to the
> fact that many people, possibly the majority, subvocalize when they
> read, so that, even if they are not aware of the fact, their larnyxes
> are actually moving.

And that's considered a major impediment to improved reading speed. ;-)

> >I'm not sure this would follow because I'm not sure writing = reading as
> >a cognitive activity.
> >
> What differences would you see? To my mind, writing is a more complex
> cognitive activity than reading - certainly a more active one. So if you
> can write without standardized spelling, then perhaps it would follow
> that you can comfortably read without it, since reading is less demanding.

More complex, yes, but the complexity is of a very different sort. As
someone else (Mark?) suggested, _typing_ 2000 words is fairly trivial, but
_authoring_ 2000 words may take a great deal of time and effort. I don't
think you can draw comparisons between reading text and creating it.

Although I suspect that even just _typing_ text with stylized,
"non-standard" spelling such as Hoban's and Davidson's, is relatively slow
and laborious. They do, after all, follow rules -- they're just different
rules, and the rules for a specific character are used pretty consistently
for that character.

So these authors aren't spelling words _without a standard_ (varying their
spelling randomly), they're applying several _different_ standards, each in
the appropriate context. I bet it's a bear at first to keep them straight.

> >A person can compose in shorthand, for instance,
> >rather than using regular language.
> >
> This seems an interesting example, because, as you probably know, some
> forms of shorthand consist entirely of phonetic characters. These forms
> were generally considered superior to the ones that were abbreviated
> and/or voweless spelling. Since the whole point of shorthand is not only
> to record quicly, but also to read back on demand, phonetic shorthand
> would seem to be an argument against the innate superiority of
> standardized spelling.

But again, there _are_ rules -- they're just different. If phonetic
shorthand is superior for both writing and reading, it's not because the
spelling isn't standardized -- it is. It merely uses a different standard.

I don't doubt that we could devise better standards for how to spell than
the ones we use today. But that's _not_ the same thing as arguing that no
standards are necessary and we can vary the spelling of words more or less
randomly. :-)

"It's my opinion and it's very true."


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Voyant, a division of Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
richardDOTcombs AT voyanttechDOTcom
rgcombs AT freeDASHmarketDOTnet

RE: Common Errors in English: From: Rose . Wilcox

Previous by Author: Re: HR electronic warfare (long)
Next by Author: Re: How to Resize GIFs
Previous by Thread: Re: Common Errors in English
Next by Thread: Re: Common Errors in English

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads