Hearing words, writing sounds: examining the author’s brain


Interesting article in the Guardian. (Now don’t all start going on about their historically atrocious record on spollings!  They’re a lot better now.)

Anyway, here’s the opening paras with a link to the full article at the bottom.

The novelist Kamila Shamsie measures out her life as an author in chapters, punctuated by a familiar ritual.

“Usually at the end of writing every chapter I’ll print out and read aloud,” she says. It’s something she’s been doing since university, she continues, citing the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali, who told her “there are things the ears pick up which the eyes don’t”. As she sits on the lookout for repeated words, unexpected clunks or unwanted dissonances, it “feels like listening”.

“I don’t know how to say that any better. It’s about the sound of the sentences.” After years of “developing your ear for the sounds of language” she doesn’t have to think about “why a particular clump of syllables sounds wrong to my ear. I just know that it does.”

Brain scans of participants in the Johns Hopkins study

Hearing words, writing sounds: examining the author’s brain

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