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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-03-28 14:56
Subject: Poll - echoes and puns and reading style
Security: Public
Tags:lj, poll, process, words, writing
If you're not sure what I mean by "echoes", it might help to read this post first.

Poll #955855 How do you perceive written text?

How do you perceive written text?

When I read, the words happen typographically in my head.
19(18.4%)
I hear them, as if being spoken to.
49(47.6%)
Conceptually, in pictures for example.
16(15.5%)
Something else I'll explain in comments.
19(18.4%)

What happens to abstract terms or complex phrasing?

They just string together like beads.
40(39.2%)
I can see the things, but the ideas are harder to follow.
12(11.8%)
Too much text without a break loses me.
10(9.8%)
Something else I'll explain in comments.
7(6.9%)
Ticky box.
7(6.9%)

Are you sensitive to word echoes?

Yes.
55(52.9%)
No.
3(2.9%)
Depends on context.
45(43.3%)
Something else I'll explain in comments.
1(1.0%)

Do you frequently make (or at least see the opening for) puns?

Yes.
54(52.4%)
No.
20(19.4%)
Depends on context.
29(28.2%)
Something else I'll explain in comments.
0(0.0%)
Post A Comment | 29 Comments | | Flag | Link






fjm
User: fjm
Date: 2007-03-28 22:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When I speak I see the words typographically in my head.
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desperance
User: desperance
Date: 2007-03-29 18:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Go you! Me too (though I think yours express your thoughts more clearly; mine need an edit).

Also, when I shift from dreaming to waking, I move from live-action dreams to text-dreams, typographically displayed; that's when I know I'm waking up.
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helcat
User: helcat
Date: 2007-03-28 22:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1. I hear words when I read them, but I don't process them aurally and therefore read much faster than the words could be verbalized. I don't know how to explain it. It's almost as if I have a "reading" sense.

2. Abstraction and complexity only hold me if they're well constructed and flow naturally.

3. If by word echoes, you mean onomatopoeia, yes. Am I the only person who knows the Greek before the English?

4. My first name invites so many I was drafted at a very young age.
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helcat
User: helcat
Date: 2007-03-28 23:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
thanks for the clarification--I skipped most of LJ today, and when i got to it, the survey was on top and I only went back yay far. :)

so you mean repeated words? That's something beaten into me from years of copyediting.
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2007-03-28 22:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I tend to mentally declaim as I read, as though I were going over a script, but like deviathan I read much faster than I could actually speak the text. Word echoes of both types register for me, but sometimes the bother sometimes not.
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russ: watchmen
User: goulo
Date: 2007-03-28 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:watchmen
The first question (about how you perceive written text) should have had checkboxes, not radio buttons.
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User: stillsostrange
Date: 2007-03-28 22:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Words
For the first question, it's all of the above. Sometimes I just see words and process the meaning and sometimes I hear them spoken in my head. I do visualize most everything I read, but that's more whole sentences and paragraphs than single words.

Word rep drives me up a wall.
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User: tillyjane
Date: 2007-03-28 22:36 (UTC)
Subject: puns
Seems to me we have a busy editor working along with us any time we're engaged.

It screens out the huge proportion of stimuli that don't contribute to the engagement. We dont WANT to see everything there is to see when we're driving at high speed, it would be too distracting.

Neither do we (usually) want to hear all the possible meanings of the speech stream coming at us, just the readings that are relevant to the conversation.

We have varying degrees of control over the editor. Skilled punsters can hear all the ambiguities all the time. (or most of them most of the time). The rest of us have to have them pointed out, or set up for us.

Not that I have the faintest notion how any of that actually works.
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Steve Nagy
User: stevenagy
Date: 2007-03-28 22:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My answers to the second question, where I checked all the boxes, will vary depending on the book.
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Bob
User: yourbob
Date: 2007-03-28 22:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
How do you perceive written text?

I don't perceive it as text. I perceive it as little pictures scrolled across the page. That's why I'm such a terrible speler. I don't, generally, know if I've spelled something correctly unless I see it. Then I note if the shape is right. This makes me a pretty rapid copy editor. But I do "hear" the pictures"

What happens to abstract terms or complex phrasing?

Abstract terms don't bug me at all. They're just another little picture. Complex phrasing often requires careful study to figure out the shape of the phrase (sentence, paragraph, whatever).

Are you sensitive to word echoes?
No - except for Puns which usually take giant leaps off the page and into my eyes and spread over my brain uncontrollably.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2007-03-28 22:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sounds like you're someone who thinks in pictures. Ellyn Arwood has a whole theory of teaching spelling and reading based on students recognizing shapes and developing reading skills in that manner.

FWIW, my son thinks in a schematic, and I've seen sped studies that talk about people who think in schematic format.
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Bob: artist
User: yourbob
Date: 2007-03-28 22:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:artist
Oh, yes. I definately think in pictures. And for some reason sound doesn't make pictures for me so my mom is totally amazed that I even learned to write or read because I went through school at the time Phonics was everything. Essentially I have to memorize the shapes of the words.

I've learned some shortcuts though, that allow me to work with new words, even when heard.
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juliabk
User: juliabk
Date: 2007-03-29 00:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My sil teaches high school students remedial reading. Sounds like the kind of program she's using and having *amazing* results with. (That and her infinite patience... she's married to my brother - it's a necessary survival skill. :-)
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User: dsgood
Date: 2007-03-29 00:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When I have trouble remembering how to spell a word, I write it out. Sometimes with a finger -- it's not what I write which reminds me, it's the act of writing.

Knowledge of etymologies helps keep me from making such mistakes as "straightjacket" and "free reign."
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Rachel McGonagill
User: rachelmcg
Date: 2007-03-29 22:23 (UTC)
Subject: I do the same thing!
With the writing words out with my finger thing, if I can't remember how to spell them. I have a hard time spelling things without writing them, actually, which is why I always sucked at spelling bees in school.

For reading, though, I hear all the words in my head . . . but that may be 'cuz I still move my lips. Sometimes, anyway. I read really well for comprehension (and my spelling has gotten tons better since I started writing fiction in earnest), but it takes me about a minute per page to get through an average book, which feels molasses slow.
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Patron Saint of Pessimism
User: woodrunner
Date: 2007-03-28 22:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I don't so much see mere pictures, but a movie playing, so I suppose I could've picked "seeing pictures in my head". When the story breaks into long, dull narratives (Robert Jordan comes to mind; I got frustrated with his books, no matter how well written they were) that don't have any action, I tend to skip ahead as a result because the movie starts to run out of film at that point.

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Bob
User: yourbob
Date: 2007-03-28 22:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I tell people have a powerpoint presentation going on the inside of my forehead. Sometimes it's slides, sometimes movies.
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Zhaneel
User: zhaneel69
Date: 2007-03-28 22:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I 'hear' the words, but I don't hear them as if spoken. I make up my own pronunciations that are really nothing like the real words, for anything made up or that I don't already know. I still 'hear' epitome as 'Ep-pi-tome' rather than 'E-pit-ti-me', due to misreading it for so long. Made up words often get vowels added/deleted. This plays hell with me communicating verbally about places/characters in a Fantasy book with others who actually know how to pronounce things.

For common English words I extract the idea of the sentence rather than the word for word meaning, usually. Which means it is harder to 'hear' echoes.

Zhaneel
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Ulrika
User: akirlu
Date: 2007-03-28 22:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd say I'm another "all of the above" on Q.1. I primarily 'hear' text I'm reading, but not exclusively. Names, for instance, I may take in more typographically than auditorily. Example: I was in graduate school with a fellow named Don Fallis. Hal thought the name unfortunate, but to explain why, he had to point out explicitly that it's a homophone for "Don Phallus". I wouldn't have noticed otherwise, because I know they're not spelled the same. Complex phrases don't normally register particularly, unless they're nonsensical, but abstractions may slow me down if they're interesting enough that I want to stop and contemplate them for a while.

I'm generally only sensitive to word echoes if the words are quite proximate to each other, or unusual enough to call attention to themselves. I don't have a precise measure for sufficient proximity or "unusual enough", but I know it when I see it.

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User: joycemocha
Date: 2007-03-28 22:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have a very hard time picturing what I read, unless the writer is extremely vivid. I'm probably one of the few for whom E.R. Eddison works well.

I do read much faster than I can speak the text. If I have to stop and picture something, it slows me down.

Complex text, such as professional special ed journals, often takes me a while to flounder through, especially if I'm trying to take mental notes for future writing or future application in the classroom. So much of it is useful...and so much of it is poorly written and dry .
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When life gives you lemmings...: HST Hat
User: danjite
Date: 2007-03-28 23:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:HST Hat
There are puns that work in print that don't work spoken and vers-vicea and the type of reader one is effects which puns one will perceive.

Also, when a work is read aloud, puns become obvious that perhaps even the author didn't perceive.

I am hyper-sensitive to echoing, but never so much as when reading aloud.

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cyperus_papyrus: lighthouse
User: cyperus_papyrus
Date: 2007-03-29 00:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:lighthouse
When I'm reading in flow, like a novel, I don't perceive words at all, but take in chunks of text as ideas and feelings. I can get really deeply involved in a story that way.

Reading something technical is an entirely different style of reading which involves looking for the ideas rather than trying to read everything on the page.

I don't generally see openings for puns but sometimes I really wish I did.
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Jodi Davis
User: jodi_davis
Date: 2007-03-29 01:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For the first question - it's two and three - I read like I watch a movie.

For question two - usually it soaks in - if I feel like something has gone missing I'll go back - if I find it then I'm not bothered - if I don't - then I am.
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User: jess_ka
Date: 2007-03-29 01:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hear the words and see picture/image/feelings (don't know exactly how to express it).
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User: blzblack
Date: 2007-03-29 01:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1. A combination of all three.
2. I have a bigger problem with abstraction than complex phrasing--so long as it's not awkward.
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it's a great life, if you don't weaken: writing rengeek magpie mind
User: matociquala
Date: 2007-03-29 02:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:writing rengeek magpie mind
It depends. I never get visuals. Ever. I only "hear" the sound of the words when I line them up in my head and listen to the prosody, but I often do that, and it's pretty obvious to me that my brain *files* by sound, because when I get aphasic, I can think of words that sound like the word I have lost, and I do the most amazing semi-homophonic typos. (19" flat-screen minotaur being the most recent really stellar example.

I *feel* things when I read: I get kinesthetics. And until I learned to read to edit, I tended to read in paragraphs and pages. Just chunk it in and let the subconscious parse it out.

Now I am a much slower reader. I don't see written words as pictures, though, or as typescript, nor do I hear them, generally. I don't process them as a visual or a verbal object, in other words. They just go in the head and I know what they mean.

Often when I quote something back, I quote the meaning rather than the exact wording. Often, in spoken dialogue, I misattribute who said what. Often, when speaking, I jam, because I am trying to say six things at once.

I'm very good at figuring out the meaning of words from context.

I guess I... read text as a gestalt.

Huh.
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Mer, rhymes with bear
User: merriehaskell
Date: 2007-03-29 02:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Er... none of the above for all of the above.

"There is physiological evidence that writing is more than a secondary form of speech... skilled readers take in and mentally process written texts at a rate so rapid that the words cannot possibly have been silently articulated and 'listened to'..." (I would add that neither is it necessary for such readers to form pictures or to perceive typographically.) "Clearly, for such readers, writing has become a form of language virtually independent of speech" and I would argue also independent of pictures and feelings, too.

Quotes above taken from C.M. Millward's A Biography of the English Language--and until I read that several years ago, I had almost no concept of how I read or what reading was like. I just knew that:

a) I can't read comic books properly (I get trapped jumping between interpreting the story of the picture versus the story of the dialogue boxes; I will read one or the other for several pages before realizing I've skipped a whole bunch of story, and have to go back and catch up)

b) if I ever pause, however briefly, to think about what reading is like while doing it, I slow down and my eyes get really tired as I go over each line, word by word--back and forth, back and forth. It's monotonous and headache-inducing. I have to put the book down and come back later, trying not to think about the elephant's left knee until I get pulled back in. It's something akin to but somehow not at all like matociquala's thing.

In any case, I think that reading taps into some sub-verbal portion of my brain--direct translation of symbols into thoughts, perhaps? It requires a huge brain shift to ask me to talk about what I've read, and it takes this long, gear-grinding moment as I pull things out of my brain and bring them up to a verbal level. I've trained myself to read in other ways for work and school and writing, but that's the real way I read.

Also, I learn fine from reading, but I learn best by listening to lectures and taking notes--I ingest things in two ways at once that way.
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User: autojim
Date: 2007-03-29 03:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I tend to think visually, so I picture the scene, picture the character (this can have interesting consequences in movie adaptations of books I've read. Didn't happen in the LOTR movies, but did in, say, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, where I pictured CIA operative John Clarke as basically a muscular Brian Dennehey and they cast Willem Dafoe), and "hear" the characters speak their dialog. It's like I'm the massless, invisible observer to the scene I'm reading.
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