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Richard Krooman

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Julliet is the sun? Is there a difference between hearing language and reading it?

This question arose to me while reading a book about the brain and (shortly after) hearing James Geary's talk about metaphores.

Everything that I read seems to be a lot more distant and without emotion than the things that I hear. If someone talks to me using all kind of metaphores I can understand what he's trying to say. But when it's written down I can usually only see that it's not logical.

Geary sais that "Julliet is the sun" is a metaphore that better explains what Julliet was like than any describtion of her appearance.
To a dyslectic guy like me however reading that line doesn't make sense. Trying to visualize it somewhat gives me the idea of what he means though. After visualisation I can also combine that with emotional feelings. And then rework my way back to the text.
For instance I would guess that the next line of text (never read romeo & julliet) would have something in it like: And the rays of light that emitted from her smile warmed my heart.

But the above doesn't come natural to me. It's more like there are 4 seperate sequential stages that I need to go through before the emotional content of the written word reaches me.
1) looking at the words
1.5) "hearing the words"
2) visualizing the scene
3) combining emotions to objects
4) figuring out how to combine them all together

But I can stop at any of the stages. A speedreading book thought me to skip the "hearing the words" for faster reading (which works really well).

However when I hear stuff I don't actually have to visualize things to undestand the emotional content. This is not the case however when I read, only when other people talk to me.

In both cases I construct a logical framework around the story filled with why's. (I try to understand the motivation of the main character in the story)

Anyway I was wondering if a similar distinction between hearing / reading exists in your life

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    Feb 15 2012: My overall answer is yes. My answer as far as Julliet is concerned is no.

    Being familiar with who Julliet is and where this line comes from it does not matter how the information arrives to me. I know what is it.
    However, if I am unfamiliar with the subject or topic then how I obtain the information will dictate how I interpret it. If someone is trying to convey a message to me their voice will describe the urgency, anger and even the humor of what they are trying to convey. But, if I read the same words and they are not written down in the exact and proper manner needed then what needs to be told can easily be lost.
    How we "Get it" is pretty much decided on how it is delivered. In my opinion there is no better or worse when receiving information as long as how it is delivered is handled properly. Just remember to speak clearly and do not forget to use the right punctuation marks and people will usually "Get it."
    • Feb 16 2012: Hello Frank,

      It's not that I don't "Get it". I just have the feeling that I "Get it" in a different way / form than other people do.
      You're kind of saying that a good book > bad book. While I'm trying to say that, for me, the medium used to convey information has a large impact on the way I "Get it".
      The meaning of what is written down is always clear to me.... but the emotional value of the meaning is something seperate from that.
      So to stick to my example "Julliet is the sun" I think that many people read that as followed:
      The woman that goes by the name of Julliet = physically warming up body like rays of the sun (or insert any other emotional content for the word sun).
      While I go:
      Woman by the name of Julliet = sun. Where the word sun doesn't have direct emotional value, I first have to (actively) "visualize" it (in a graphics way which then leads to an emotional way).

      While for spoken words my interpretation is different. (lets say that it goes through a faster route)

      It's funny how strange it feels to describe this hehe :)
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        Feb 16 2012: My understanding: Juliet is NOT the sun, I am.
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        Feb 17 2012: How it work for me is this...Julliet is Julliet. As long as you know are familiar with the referrence and where it comes from then it means one thing and only one thing. If I am having a problem with that special someone and my friend talking to me says "Julliet is the sun" then he is using a solid, set in stone metaphor to convey his understanding of my situation. The same as if we used Julliet on the balcony. Spoken or written it is the same to me.
        Now there are certain phrases that people use that were coined way back when but if you are not old enough to know the meaning then varied interpretation or confusion can come into play. So if I say " To the Batpoles" or "Beam me up Scotty" , no matter what I want it to mean, an image of a person should come to mind. If you are too young or never heard of Batman or Star Trek then the original thought of this conversation comes into play.

        How it works for others is another thing.
    • Feb 16 2012: btw the part of the right punctuation marks etc made me think of a joke by a dutch comedian.

      Which was about Hansel and Gretel done by Herman Finkers. Which features a story with no punctuations.

      "Hansel said Gretel it is really nice weather outside perhaps should I wear my short skirt?"
      Which gets read as:
      Hansel said: "Gretel it is really nice weather outside perhaps should I wear my short skirt?"
      Wait that doesn't sound right...
      "Hansel", said Gretel, "it is really nice weather outside perhaps should I wear my short skirt?"
      Ah that's better...

      "Don't be silly Gretel said Hansel... you're my brother not my sister"

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