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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
"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