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#112113 - 09/15/03 12:16 PM Try radenig tihs  
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[a letter in today's Melbourne Age]

I thugoht yuor rdarees mhgit be iternseted in tihs eiaml taht I rieveced:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe. Ceehiro!

[I couldn't bring myself to running the above through Aenigma!]


#112114 - 09/15/03 12:46 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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I found it remarkably easy to read, but then, I'm usually pretty good at unjumbling wdros.


#112115 - 09/15/03 12:47 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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Great to "see" you, paulb! And yes, I read straight through it without a stumble. That's fascinating. Were there any links provided for some background on this phenomenon?


#112116 - 09/15/03 01:18 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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tahts azminag, how auobt dsyelixc polepe, deos the smae rlue alppy? oftroy (or aynone), can you hlep?


#112117 - 09/15/03 01:44 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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I'm not sure this is news. We've known for years that most languages, and English in particular, has a lot of redundancy - not just in the word itself, but in the context of the words. English is particularly well-adapted for building crossword puzzles - or maybe those particular puzzles are well-adapted for English. (Well, I read that somewhere. I don't *know* that it's true. I don't recall the reference, but it was in a book discussing cryptography and information theory.)

There's a difference between reading "PxxxE" and "PALCE" and "PCALE." In the first place there are numerous choices ("POISE," "PRISE," "PRIME" to list a few), but in the second it seems clear that either A & L have been transposed or an A has been dropped beteween L and C (PLACE or PALACE). PCALE could be SCALE or PLACE, and I'd probably opt to believe the first letter was a typo if there were no context.

To me this is exactly analogous to other tricks the brain plays on us - where the brain fills in the gaps because that's what brains do - fill in the gaps, put things in order, add structure to apparent chaos.


k



#112118 - 09/15/03 01:56 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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Well, it was news to me, oh Fiendish one. And thanks for filling in some gaps -- it's all making sense now.

Meanwhile, I just discovered this is being discussed on Straight Dope:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=210913




#112119 - 09/15/03 02:07 PM Re: Context  
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It might be interesting to see if people have a little trouble getting started reading something like this. That would certainly support the context hypothesis. I thought it interesting that the Dopers showed some consistency in recognizing only the misspelling of weird in the title of the original post.


#112120 - 09/15/03 02:15 PM I apologize for my arrogant and improper wording.  
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There's a difference between what we think we know and what we really know. It's good that we're beginning to gather solid research to support (or even refute, if that were the case) what some of us might have suspected; otherwise, what distinguishes science from philosophy?

k



#112121 - 09/15/03 02:28 PM Hardly!  
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FF, neither arrogant nor improper! And good one on the science vis-a-vis philosophy; indeed, that's why I asked paulb if the letter included any sources to back this up.


#112122 - 09/15/03 02:34 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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wlel, smae was easy work, as were some of the others, since these are frequent typos(for me at least!)

the Yeah, but is, i could read them, one or two words resisted. (toatl- doesn't work! i had to rescramble that one.. first glance i saw toast.... and toast didn't make any sense!)

some wrods, even look correct - dsyelixc -at first glance!seems perfectly ok.



#112123 - 09/15/03 04:35 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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I just got that in an email too, and now i'm not going to worry so much about my typing... though I did pretty well that time... as an H&P Typer, I often re-arrange letters in words.

seriously, it's a pretty fascinating little study...



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#112124 - 09/15/03 05:04 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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To me this is exactly analogous to other tricks the brain plays on us - where the brain fills in the gaps because that's what brains do - fill in the gaps, put things in order, add structure to apparent chaos.
Absolutely; most of us seem to be hard-wired to try to find a pattern, and preferably a familiar one.

I had no trouble reading the letter (Hello, sweet paulb, and thanks!); but, as the link to S.D.* shows, the longer the word, the harder it gets. (Unless it's clear from the context what the word ought to be, I start having to pause at words of about 8 letters.) Out of context could be hard indeed. I have found this true in many kinds of word puzzles, where you have to pick a word out of thin air, and try all kinds of permutations to find out whether you got the right one or not.

Keith, your statement about crosswords intrigues me. Does anyone have any experience with crossword puzzles in other languages?

*It always hurts my feelings to find out that a topic here has already been discussed elsewhere. I believe this group to be the best and the brightest (not that I'm prejudiced or anything!), and I also want us to be first!


#112125 - 09/15/03 06:51 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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It's making the rounds in Portuguese, too:

De aorcdo com uma pqsieusa de uma uinrvesriddae ignlsea, no ipomtra em qaul odrem as lrteas de uma plravaa etso, a ncia csioa iprotmatne que a piremria e tmlia lrteas etejasm no lgaur crteo. O rseto pdoe ser uma ttaol bguana que
vco pdoe anida ler sem pobrlmea. Itso poqrue ns no lmeos cdaa lrtea isladoa, mas a plravaa cmoo um tdoo.


It was interesting to test my ability to read it in this, my second language. I did almost as well as I did in English, but the test is tainted: how well would I have done if I hadn't seen the English text in advance?




#112126 - 09/15/03 06:59 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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How're the Lisabuorers doing on this one, I'd like to know.


#112127 - 09/15/03 07:29 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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I had no trouble reading the letter but, as the link to S.D.* shows, the longer the word, the harder it gets. (Unless it's clear from the context what the word ought to be, I start having to pause at words of about 8 letters.) Out of context could be hard indeed.

bshlulit! just kidding :)


#112128 - 09/15/03 07:47 PM Re: gmina syas  
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aorta to Ruanda at an Elinor Ukraine it deoxyribonucleic mu in wail oregano the Lubbock in a wrong are, the Olsen Ira is tail the Frito and Lubbock Lubbock are in the rhapsody pea. The Ruanda can be a tobacco mu and you can sits Rafael it wove a porcelain Tijuana is be we do not Rafael Ervin Lubbock by Ivan but the wrong as a woe. Ceiling!



#112129 - 09/15/03 07:54 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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longer [and] Out of context could be hard indeed
Ltes try:
aoprmpmhohripoc
hlutanlicae
eahepnlt
cmsiounmt
gaunalldr

I can't really tell as I've written them myself but I reckon you're right. Certainly number four looks pretty impossible.


#112130 - 09/15/03 07:57 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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It also seems that none of the misplaced letters stray too far from home. I haven't done a strict analysis on them, though.


#112131 - 09/15/03 08:04 PM Re: gmina syas  
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What's this obsession with Lubbock?!


#112132 - 09/16/03 02:08 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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In reply to:

Does anyone have any experience with crossword puzzles in other languages?


Indonesian crosswords depend on synonyms and general knowledge, with the occasional foreign word (usually English).

Bingley



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#112133 - 09/16/03 11:59 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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<Were there any links provided for some background on this phenomenon?>

No, AnnaStrophic, just the letter to the editor, and today's paper had no followup.


#112134 - 09/16/03 07:40 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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bshlulit! Oh, that one I had no trouble with; and the very same back to you, sir!


#112135 - 09/17/03 12:13 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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Here's the conversation going on at Dave Wilton's wordorigins.com board (where, incidentally, the university in question is labeled as Cmabrigde ):

http://pub122.ezboard.com/fwordoriginsorgfrm1.showMessage?topicID=7765.topic


#112136 - 09/17/03 12:44 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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aoprmpmhohripoc
hlutanlicae
eahepnlt
cmsiounmt
gaunalldr

These all unscramble except the first one. Was that a test?


#112137 - 09/17/03 02:29 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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Bingley
#112138 - 09/17/03 10:57 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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snopes

A self-fulfilling urban legend?


#112139 - 09/17/03 11:36 AM Thanks, Bingley  
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I'd been checking snopes daily on this, mah own sef. Let us await developments.


#112140 - 09/17/03 04:56 PM Re: Thanks, Bingley  
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Here's a ninteresting if somewhat lengthy discussion. Warning: Takes some time to load even with a T-1 line.

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/28301#553630


#112141 - 09/17/03 05:56 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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>Was that a test?

Oh, no I was just wondering whether longer, out of context words unscrambled - I find the fourth one harder - I keep reading cosmonaut.


#112142 - 09/17/03 09:43 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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I had no trouble at all reading the letter either - but I do agree that if the words were longer it would be a tad more difficult without context.

Just like you can often figure out what a word means by the sentence/paragraph around it, you can usually figure out a mixed up word the same way.

This brings up related thing though...

When it's really really late, and I'm trying to finish up a book that seems to drag out the end I have been know to skip over entire words, sometimes sentences, and still know what's going on.

Do you think this is the brain working in the same way as understanding jumbled words?


#112143 - 09/18/03 03:44 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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bel - I think this is somewhat like speed-reading. I took a speed-reading course in high school, and one of the main objects was to look at phrases, sentences, and longer words. We were supposed to skip the little words and not really focus on individual words, as much as possible. The comprenhension results were pretty amazing, as I recall, but is was not recommended to use speed-reading for technical or math-related subjects.



What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy? -Ursula K. Le Guin, author (1929- )
#112144 - 09/18/03 04:26 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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not recommended to use speed-reading for technical or math-related subjects
Yeah, you really wouldn't want to skip over "First, shut off the power", now, would you?


#112145 - 09/24/03 01:23 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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aoprmpmhohripoc
hlutanlicae
eahepnlt
cmsiounmt
gaunalldr

These all unscramble except the first one. Was that a test?


Yeah, that's right! I read this as anthropomorphic until JH made his post. Now I can get nothing from it except a sense of deep confusion.


#112146 - 09/24/03 03:00 PM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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I find it's okay as long as you don't look at them too hard... but I completely forgot the last one and I kept seeing gondola.


#112147 - 10/16/03 04:32 PM hey, it might even be true  
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just unearthed this http://www.bisso.com/ujg_archives/000224.html now all we have to do is write to the uni. get a copy of his thesis and check it out! i'm doing it tomorrow.


#112148 - 10/16/03 11:17 PM Re: hey, it might even be true  
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And me wondering for the longest time about the story behind the name wolfadocaholic. (?werewolf that keeps eating doctors??)
I don't know if it is a related skill but I got to be good at interpreting conversations with stroke survivors with word finding deficits. They will sometimes substitute a functionally related word (the machine doesn't work" for "my knee won't hold me") or a word with no linguistic relationship but a similar mouth feel or cadence ( my earring for good morning,) I found if I listened "loosely" I could guesstimate better than average.

The faster I read the example above and the less I looked at individual words the easier it was.

#112149 - 10/17/03 05:38 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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A colleague forwarded the Indonesian version to me last week. I could read it almost as easily as 'proper' Indonesian.

Ini sagnat menraik
====================
menuurt sbeauh penilitean di Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,
tdaik mejnadi maslaah bgaimanaa urtaun hruuf-huurf di dlaam subaeh
kaat, ynag palngi pnteing adlaah leatk hruuf partema dan terkhair itu bnaer.
Siasnya dpaat brantaaken saam skelai dan kmau maish dpaat mebmacanya
tnpaa msaalah.
Hal ini kerana oatk masunia tdaik mambeca seitap huurf msaing-msaing,
tatepi kaat kesuleruhan.
Manejkubakn naggk?


Bingley


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#112150 - 10/17/03 08:29 AM Re: Try radenig tihs  
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Siasnya dpaat brantaaken saam skelai dan kmau maish dpaat mebmacanya tnpaa msaalah.

That's absolutely amazing. I can read it as easily as I could the original.

Edit:

Ltae beranikg nwes from Cmabrigde Uinervtisy:

http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/personal/matt.davis/Cmabrigde/


#112151 - 10/20/03 03:33 PM Try radenig tihs  
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I believe all the same mechanics are in motion as one sight reads music. Although one isn't reading the "scrambled middle's" of words, the musician, through their experience of seeing similar notes on a page, can focus on translating phrasing, dynamics, attack/decay and the conductor (all at the same time) because of familiarity with the syntax and semantics at hand. My suggestion is quite evident (to me) as property #3 marks precisely that:

"Of the 15 words in this sentence, there are 8 that are still in the correct order..."


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