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Friday, May 4, 2012

How Else Do You Read?

Dictionary.com distracted me again.

This article explains two different modes of reading: lexical and phonological. The lexical way picks out only the meaningful words as opposed to grammatical function words, and can thus be done speedily. The phonological mode would seem to be the result of having been told to "sound it out" during the learning process and can take almost as long as actually reading the text out loud. The article proposes that though this is a better way to go about copyediting, few people do it.

I employ the phonological mode of reading automatically. It sometimes frustrated me that I was a slower reader than some, but then again, I knew I was getting more enjoyment and comprehension out of it. Now it turns out that this is what makes me a good copyeditor. Ah, validation!

I still take the article's point about technology making us sloppier. I know I rely more heavily on the red underlining of misspelled words more than any human being should. The key is what you do when you see the red underlining. Do you take the computer's suggestion, or consider it critically based on years of training and experience?

As I've been telling a few of my authors lately, there will always be a stray gremlin or two in published material. Now I know that it's because these two modes of reading dominate, and neither one can catch every error, every time. Is there another way to read that would be superior for copyeditors? Sign me up for that seminar!