Reading With An Accent

indigochild

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#1
Not particularly Fortean as such but something odd just happened that I feel compelled to share.


Reading an article, only 1 paragraph into it, I started reading it in my head as a female South African accent I don't know why but in the third paragraph she states she is from South Africa I thought how amusing it is that we do the accent in our heads then I stopped and thought hang on I only just read she was South African and got a bit freaked.

:shock: :lol: :oops:


What are your thoughts on this?
 

beakboo

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#2
Perhaps some keyword that suggested South Africa hit your eye and only your subconscious noticed. Or something about the photo or the byline. Or maybe your eye jumped ahead, picked out the words "South Africa" but it didn't register consciously.
 

escargot

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#3
Yup. I was thinking about this today - how unsatisfactory it is to read books on gadgets like ipaqs because one's eye roams around the page - we don't read word by word.
 

beakboo

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#4
True. Haven't there been studies that suggest as much? If you see a sentence with all the vowells left out you can still make sense of it. We read a general impression. If we read word for word we'd be there all day.
 

running_girl

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#5
When I'm reading, i'll often pick up on a random word a way into the text. Not even a significant or unusual one. If I scan the page again to find it, I won't, until I actually get to that point...
 

escargot

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#6
Yup, the process of reading, and especially of how we learn to read, is not straightforward. It is individual and mysterious.

Taking in individual words or phrases at a glance, before one starts reading a page in order, is one of the more sophisticated strategies which we can only learn for ourselves - we can't be taught it. Much of the time we probably don't even realise we're doing it.

We are such clever apes. 8)
 

Forever_S

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#7
Your subconscious mind had already skimmed the page before you consciously started reading it and it picked up on the fact that the writer was from South Africa. At least that's what scientists would have us believe. It's very interesting though. The mind is an amazing thing indeed but such instances might go some way to explaining other anomalies, such as if you hear voices as part of a mental illness for example, what accent would those voices be speaking in and is that significant?
 

James_H

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#8
beakboo said:
Perhaps some keyword that suggested South Africa hit your eye and only your subconscious noticed. Or something about the photo or the byline. Or maybe your eye jumped ahead, picked out the words "South Africa" but it didn't register consciously.
That's the conclusion I've come to, because it happens to me rather a lot.
 

spiritdoctor

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#9
Maybe she used some kind of words or phrasing that is characteristic of a South African accent and you picked up on it. I think I have had things like that happen to me. Sometimes you read a letter from some one you know and its the words they would use you can hear their voice in your head, they're writing how they would speak.
 

OldTimeRadio

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#10
I think the correct answer here has been given by previous posters, especially if that third paragraph appeared on the same page.
 

beakboo

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#12
Having watched 3 episodes of Still Game one after another, I was reading a Greg Bear novel in a Scottish accent last night.
 

jefflovestone

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#13
A reason we partially and unconsciously scan a large body of text as opposed to word-by-word reading is tied into saccadic shift and it's relationship to line length in typography. There's a natural limit our eye can take in when we read from left-to-right (or right-to-left) and through this we have a rough optimal line length for typography - around 12 or 13 words depending on the physical size of the text and the distance between our eyes and the text itself.*

However, our eyes aren't really these weird horizontal tracking machines - even if the data we visually process is laid out this way. So, whilst we're consciously aware of what's happening horizontally, our eye and brain is still processing data above and below what we're intentionally focusing on. This is one of the reasons we, unknowingly read ahead of ourselves when we read text.


*my memory is nudging me that brightness and colour of text background and whether the text is backlit like onscreen or luminated signage &c also plays a part due to the way we tend to avoid a fixed gaze on illumination, but I can't be sure.
 

escargot

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#15
I had an eye test yesterday, including a hi-tech peripheral vision test. I scored full marks, which means that my PV is as good as perfect. No dying blood vessels or whatever. :D

If it'd been poor, I'd probably have said, ah yes, I'd noticed for a while that all my books sounded like Daphne off Frasier.*

*For the benefit of non-Brits and British Southern Poufs - that's roughly how I speak.
 

Fizz32

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#16
I have the benefit of coming from a mixed Welsh and Scots background, so I have always been able to read the dialogue in Ian Rankin's Rebus novels in a Scots accent, and I recently read "How Green is my Valley" and found I automatically read that in a Welsh accent.

Could your South African experience be something to do with the sentence structure? This does vary from place to place, perhaps she wrote something that flipped your brain into the accent.

By the way, I have had the pleasure of speaking to our Escargot, and in my humble opinion, she does not sound like Daphne from Frasier, as Escargot's accent is genuine (and a very warm and friendly accent it is too). Jane Leves was brought up in Sussex and in her role as Daphne, speaks the way people from Sussex think people from Manchester speak.
 

Recycled1

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#18
It's just as well we don't hear each other's accents on the Limericks threads, then!
I'm a Southerner through and through, despite living thirty odd years in Wolverhampton.
(Back in the South now of course, due to the call of the sea.)
 

Trish71

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#21
True. Haven't there been studies that suggest as much? If you see a sentence with all the vowells left out you can still make sense of it. We read a general impression. If we read word for word we'd be there all day.
I cdnuolt bleveiee taht I cloud aulacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervy lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
 

PeteS

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#22
I cdnuolt bleveiee taht I cloud aulacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervy lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Yes interesting that isn't it? Your post proves that the theory is correct. I wonder if a child who has not been reading long would be able to read similar disarranged words or the ability solely relies on years of reading?
 

AgProv

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#23
Ag man. Do not git me sterrted on Sed-Efrrrrikan iccents or ilse i ricken we will be here ell diy..... (apologies. working with a few Saffies and having created South African characters for fiction... this is a very iddictive, sorry, addictive, way of talking. And I do have memories of a Saffie friend scanning my writing for tone and accuracy, making a few pertinent comments and little suggestions, then pointing out "thet bleddy song hes a lot to enswer for. Why do you think all of us talk like a bunch of rooinecker zefs?"

"that bloody song", btw:
 

Ogdred Weary

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#24
I might read dialogue in an "accent" and will read obviously read narration in an "accent" if the author has written it that way - e.g. Irvine Welsh sometimes writing in a phonetic Scottish voice but narration is otherwise more or less "neutral" for me. I suppose that "voice" is my internal one rather than my actual one.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#25
Am sure I read somewhere that people who have claimed to be Whatever in past life regressions are sometimes recalling something they weren’t even conscious of reading in a book they casually flicked through and didn’t “read”, years before...

Ie: you can take in a lot by just scanning a page and not consciously reading it so maybe can get ahead of yourself, subconsciously, on a page..?
 

GingerTabby

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#28
I read The Lord of the Rings when I was about thirteen. In my mind I kept hearing Gandalf's voice as that of John Reed of the now-defunct D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. We had a lot of their recordings in the house so that's probably why.
 

catseye

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#29
I write books. When people who know me read the books wot I write, they say they can 'hear' my voice narrating. I write very much as I speak, same speech patterns, similar turns of phrasse, so people who don't know me, but subsequently meet me often feel as though they already know me. It might be a brain pattern thing.

So maybe writers pattern themselves in their books and some speech patterns are VERY identifiably regional.
 
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