Slepping: its so smiple

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Slepping: its so smiple

A curoius ietm is going around the innernet at the moemnt citting new reserach from Cambirge Uvinersity tat indicicates we don't raed wrods the way we ttaut we ddid. Accroding to the exprets, the eye deosn't need or evn want the whoole wrord.

It noets the frist and last lettres, and fills in the rest by inrefence. You can even add or dorp lettres. The jumumble in btweeen is irrveralent. Cogintion hapneps vrey fast and quite misteriollusly.

My immeaidte ttaut was, "Oh my, I have wasetd a good prat of my life lerning to sllep this fraeking langague." But hey, notting's prefect. At laest it is graet nieuws for people who make a lot of tyops and for poor slleppers. As the state of Eglinsh contieuns to flall, it's likley that scools will strat to ralex thier lagnuage standrads even feurther - if inedeed they still have any to ralex. Prtety soon, taechers wll thorw up ter hnads and excalim, "Who caers if wrods are sllepped crorectly? I'm not paid enuogh for this carppy jobb anway."

I didn't exprect to find scuh poor Eglinsh here in Lodnon, the hmoe of our comon tuonge. After wathcing PBS in my fromative years in Idniana, I was sure Eglinsh scools had the langauge udner crontol. Good garmmar, good sllepping (ecxept for the ecxess use of the letter "u", of crouse) and I assmued Alastrair Coooke was the typacl Eglinshman. Or maybe Jon Clease.

Abstoluely not ture. Sllepping is casaul, and three is an accnet for evry neihbourhod in Lodnon, plus a few hunderd form upcuotnry, many of tehm toatlly incomrhpeensible to otsidres. Some spaek cokcney, othres esturay, otehrs just plian pish or posh. Try pure Yokshre. My favuorite trem is mockney, whcih is spekon by so-called uperclasps poeple in Lodnon who wnat to be thuoght of as okay, dwon-to-erath, unpertentious, so they adopt cokcney in a mocking srot of way.

To stay aflaot in Lodnon, I puruse a nubmer of lagel and semi-lagel activtiies, inculding clasess for biusness execuvites in the use of the Eglinsh lagnuage. I am often laufed at by some studnets becuase oevr here they do not cosnider me ot be a native spaeekr. Well, navite or not, I can give alll off thsee men and wmoen a run for thier menoy.

A simlpe examlpe of how far off the baem they are: one dreictor of commucinations for a big mlutinaiontal sheomaker aksed me to plaese define "snigular". It was a wrod that had befludded him, he expailned, ever since he greduatad from colegle, or as they call it over hree, from "uni" (shrot for "uvinersity"). I gvae him a had stare, suspicuos he was stetting me up, then braked: "One shoe is snigular."

"OK," he respnodded, now cofnident he had me cronered, "so what's purlal, smrat guy? Aha!" "Purlal is two shoes," I said. "Duh." "Oh, now I get it," he said. That shut him up. Ture sotry.

In anohter gruop of my studnets, a woamn PhD in chmeistry, abuot 45 yeras old and 18 snote, actulaly did not know how to spell the name of her own comapny. Unsuprrisingly, she was nott vrey inneersted when I poinetd tiss out.

The use of the cmomma in these claesss is so fanciful that I make fun of the ecexs by handing out slat cellers as bobby pirzes, and tell them to fill them with cmommas, then just spirnkle ligthly aruond the page. Saeson to taste, you mite say. This alwyas suprrises them becusae the Egnlish thnik Amricaens canont do iorny. Hah. I live by iorny.

This is not to say that Amriecans are surpeior - with sllepping or acencts. A guy I used to wrok for at Bruson Mrasteller in Lodnon had hte hbit of spaeking too luodly in pubic palces, like mnay of our cuontrymen. He origianated from the Bronx and was pourd of it, or so he siad. His speech dirpped with micro-regionalisms.

The most wondreful thnig hapepned to him a few yeras ago when an Amricean tuorist aproapched his talbe in a resternt, plantd his big tassled shoes and poinetd at him and said: "Da Bronx - betewen 168th and 172nd Street!" "Bigno!" my fiend, said, not msising a baet. He had been riased on 170th Street, and lepat up to embarce the neihbuor he neevr kenw. My friend had awalys said tere was no raeson to claen up his speech and now is eevn mroe covninced he was right to retian his "cluture", if that's the wrod. By the way, he can't sllepp ethier. He's in fact pratly dyselxic.

I'm raelly worierd abuot the delcine in good sllepping, and I'm not sure I even agere with the Cambirdge resaerch. I'd like to know mroe about the methodlogoy, the contorl grupps, the size of the smaple. And who kowns, it may just be anrother innernet joke. I've been saerchnig evreywerhe for the oriignal resaerch but I cna't fnid it. I even tried Goggle. Maybe I'm spelling Cambirge wrong.
By netchicken: posted on 18-12-2003








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