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edward long

Association of Old Crows

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Why do we bother with spelling?

Unlike chess, in spelling the middle game is irrelevant. All that matters is the right choice at the beginning and the end. The middle letters, which must be the correct set of letters, can be completely jumbled and the reader will not be confused. To wit: "Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe." How can this little known God-given ability of the human brain be exercised to simplify, and perhaps improve, our lives? Any ttguhohs you cveelr TED fklos?

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Closing Statement from edward long

OK. OK. Spelling is important and we should continue to teach it and all the rules associated with it to those learning how to read, speak, and write our language. From Silverstein to Shakespeare; from subjects like cryptography and dyslexia, this debate was spirited and very much worth while. From the Netherlands to China we TEDsters hashed-out our feelings on this skill we call Language. It makes sense that the subject of written communication would interest TED folks, after all, what is more crucial to TED Conversations than wtitten communication? I asked two questions. Both were answered. We bother with spelling because it permits standardized rules of written communication. And, the only possible beneficial application for the remarkable ability of the human brain to unjumble familiar words almost as fast as reading correctly spelled words is to jumble words as a way to draw attention to them and add emphasis. We learned the idea of jumbling and unjumbling words is known in the academic world as TYPOGLYCEMIA, and THE JUMBLING EFFECT. Taht's all floks!

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    May 5 2013: As others have said, we can only recognise these words because we can already spell. Language is a living thing, evolving all the time. Spellings have often changed over the centuries. The US and UK have different spellings for certain words. We do not need to make an effort to change spellings. Time does that for us.

    Spelling is important because in most languages a missed letter can change the meaning of the word altogether. In English too. I remember when we were children I used to give my brother spelling tests and one of the words was "shirt". He forgot one of the letters and that was something we laughed over for a long time. 7 years olds can find a laugh in anything.
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      May 5 2013: Time keeps drifting into the future. The most often recurring opinion here is that WORD RECOGNITION is the key to "Typoglycemia,a.k.a. The Scrambler Effect". It seems a missing, or added, letter changes the degree of difficulty in unjumbling words. Each letter is important. I know 7-year-olds enjoy laughing at,and with, their Grandpas! Thanks Pamela!

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