Spelling matters?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 16 15:04:20 UTC 2003

At 11:14 AM +0100 9/16/03, Michael B Quinion wrote:
>Several copies of an intriguing message have been forwarded to
>me recently; interestingly, no two were exactly the same. A
>Google search shows it suddenly started to appear in groups on
>12 September, with 159 copies being posted that day alone. It
>has since hit the wider Web, with about 560 different examples
>already catalogued. One version is:

That's the version I've seen, at least the beginning, which made me
wonder if this was penned by a non-native speaker/writer.  Or is "a
research" possible in British (or other non-U.S.) English?  Note also
that the conclusion from the paragraph must be closer to the
proposition that letter scrambling doesn't wipe out interpretation
for four-and-more-letter words.  I suppose "hte" wouldn't be
impossible to "correct" in context either, but it does help that none
of the two- and three-letter words are scrambled below.


>"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't
>mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny
>iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the
>rghit pclae The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed
>it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not
>raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe".
>This is intriguingly self-referentially right, in that it's
>surprisingly easy to read. I presume that the reference to the
>research is spurious, but if anybody has any background on its
>provenance or subject matter, I'd be interested to hear.
>Michael Quinion
>Editor, World Wide Words
>E-mail: <TheEditor at worldwidewords.org>
>Web: <http://www.worldwidewords.org/>

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