This entry in last week’s roundup post fascinated me. I’ve seen it before, but nevertheless it still amazed me how easy it was to read the jumbled up text. What was even more astonishing, though, was that when I followed the link to the response article, I found I could even read the Spanish muddled up version (and no, it wasn’t just that I was expecting it to be the same sentence, translated – I’d been scanning down the page and hadn’t realised that).
Obviously, I can read in Spanish, but I wouldn’t have expected to be able to decipher jumbled up text so easily. I guess that’s why I sometimes miss spelling mistakes when I write in Spanish – when I read it back, I see what I want to see, not what’s really there, exactly as we all do when we write. (It’s not dissimilar to the way we understand alphanumeric text-speak, of course.) The same goes for foreign language students writing in English. Have your students take a look at that initial paragraph of that article and see how they get on – it might be quite a confidence booster for them!