Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Word Jumble

"Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe."

I have made a tool which can be used to test the theory. Most of the words that the tool produced were a lot harder to read than the quote, so I am guessing that the theory is not very accurate. Perhaps it is the specific ordering of letters in the quote which makes it easier to read?

1 comment:

Adam Dunn said...

I'm replying here, because Multiply requires one to log in.

Once upon a time, long long ago, I read an article by Kevin Larson, who works for Microsoft Research. You can find it at: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ctfonts/WordRecognition.aspx
It is a very good read, if you have the time, and I'm sure you will like it. The article talks about how word *shape* is also important to recognizing a word, along with other factors.

It is true that many people can read a sentence when the middle letters are jumbled, but it probably helps to stay close to the original shape, and mix letters like 'b' and 'd' more often than other combos. Many people can get half way through the original Cambridge jumble before they even realize that the words are jumbled!

I don't know if there's something wrong with me, but this effect does not work with me. While I can generally read the Cambridge jumble smoothy and at a quick pace, I realize right off the bat that the letters are jumbled. It is like I have the opposite of dyslexia. I think it is this ability that allows me to skim over a passage of text and pick out spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors faster than most people can.