I am mroe itneillegnt tahn you
February 1, 2008 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Waht is the nmae of the teorhy taht olny the frsit and lsat lttres of a wrod msut rmeian itnact for smoenoe to raed the wrod?
posted by Corduroy to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here's a comprehensive page on the subject.
posted by null terminated at 7:03 AM on February 1, 2008

Despite their comment about agglutinative languages, the Hungarian sample is as easy to read as the English one (well, I mean, granted the obvious). I think "problem" with Finnish is more due the fact that multiple occurrences of the same letter are so common - if you take the "signature" of a finn word by picking out just the set of distinct letters that occur, these signatures are comparatively small, so the order-structure of the words plays a comparatively greater role in distinguishing them.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:18 AM on February 1, 2008

I've nceiotd it gets saabillnsttuy haderr to raed tehse wehn the mddile leertts of each word are aaegnrrd aaabcehilllpty. I dno't beeilve it.

(I've noticed it gets substantially harder to read these when the middle letters of each word are arranged alphabetically. I don't believe it.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:29 AM on February 1, 2008

Metroid Baby, about 2/3 of the way down the page that null terminated linked there's a somewhat similar debunking of this theory. (Search the page for "This is clearly wrong.").
posted by danb at 7:36 AM on February 1, 2008

I think context has a *lot* to do with it.

This sentence: Big ccunoil tax ineesacrs tihs yaer hvae seezueqd the inmcoes of mnay pneosenirs threw me for a loop because I didn't get the context. But once I realized it was about taxes, everything but "ccunoil" became clear. I had to look that up because I don't generally think about "council taxes", so it's not in my general lexicon and thus screwed me up.
posted by hubris at 9:33 AM on February 1, 2008

I think the world you are looking for is "False".
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 10:28 AM on February 1, 2008

Metroid Baby, maybe I'm just autistic or something, but what you posted was absolutely as easy for me to read as the other lines.
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:59 AM on February 1, 2008

There's clearly something to it; otherwise the meme would have been dead on arrival.

The only word from Metroid Baby I had trouble with was "substantially" ... and in that case, the real "position 2" letter has been moved to the "2nd from the end" position. But it still worked. And hubris's line was fine. From the linked page, "magltheuansr" was tough (manslaughter), but the other samples were fine.

Basically ... the linked page debunks the meme itself, not the premises behind the meme.
posted by Alt F4 at 1:21 PM on February 1, 2008

I just happened to come across an MIT course and that same idea was linked here. Full list of class information.
posted by brent at 3:23 PM on February 1, 2008

Durrr. Maybe I'm just extra dumb, because I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out the longer words on my own.

Reading some of the examples above, my mind isn't even trying to rearrange the words. "Pneosenirs" becomes "pee-on-sen-eers" and "magltheuansr" becomes "maggle-thusy-anser" in my head.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:14 PM on February 1, 2008

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