[Fwd: Re: People who can recite a word's letters alphabetically]

David Bergdahl bergdahl at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Dec 1 21:37:36 UTC 1999

The reader is definitely a member of the class of "idiots sauvants"--current
theory is that the brain is actively surpressing much of the data we sense and
process and that someone with a 'lowered barrier' can perform such functions
easily.  Infobeat had an article today on same.

> Paul McFedries wrote:
> > The Strange Word Requests Department:
> >
> > A reader wrote to me and claimed she had the ability to hear any word
> > and then immediately recite its letters alphabetically. For example,
> > given the word "dialect," she would immediately respond "a c d e i l t".
> > She said she even saw someone on Letterman who could do this. (This was,
> > no doubt, a Stupid Human Trick.) She wanted to know if there is a name
> > for someone with such an ability. (An "alphaletrist," perhaps?) Does
> > anyone know if such a word exists?
> >
> > Paul
> > Books: http://www.mcfedries.com/books/
> > Word Spy: http://www.logophilia.com/WordSpy/
> _________________________________________________________

David Bergdahl            Ohio University /Athens       tel: (740) 593-2783
home page: http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~bergdahl    fax: (740) 593-2818

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