Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Have you read the book?

Recently we read Victoria Houston's "Dead Water" and we are now reading "The Survival of the Sickest" by Sharon Moalem.  For more than 50 years, I have read aloud to Lynn while she assembles jigsaw puzzles or knits or something else.  I like to read aloud, although I suspect that sometimes my comprehension and retention is better when I read to myself silently.  '

A very eye-opening book was "Space Between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading" by Paul Saenger.  The author described just what we did in 10th grade Latin class reading Caesar's Gallic Wars.  The words were written without capital letters at the beginning of a sentence and without periods, question marks or exclamation marks at the end.  It took plenty of effort and thinking and looking and comparing to find a subject and its corresponding verb.  We had already learned to read silently and we considered it to be poor manners if different readers in the room, reading or trying to decipher, spoke aloud what they were working on.  Before the modern layout of words, spaces, capitals and end punctuation, a room of readers, as in a library reading room, was a noisy place.  Those trying to decipher would use their voices to say aloud what they thought they were onto.  

One other thing I didn't mention was the effect of writing words without the invention of spaces between them.  Youcanseethatitwouldbeslowerandmoreworktoteaseoutwhatiswrittensoittakesmoretimeandefforttogetmeaningfromwriting. When you are writing in longhand, and the letters just flow, once you are in the habit, you can just keep scribbling along, without the bother of lifting the pen to space words.  Spell checkers and other parts of modern word processing software don't like continuous writing.

Our modern conventions make reading faster and easier. Our way allows interesting, exciting concepts to just flow into our head.

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