Why Writing is Important

rogersgeorge on March 20th, 2017

When you listen to spoken language, if you misunderstand, often you can’t go back and re-hear it.

Besides not being able to re-listen to what you hear, sometimes the written form is just plain clearer than the spoken form. The fidelity of the instrument you’re listening on might be poor. Foreign accents can make someone hard to decipher even though the person’s written English is fine. (I get a lot of this from headhunters technical recruiters whose first language is something besides English. My hearing problem doesn’t make it any easier, either. I’ve gotten into the habit of asking for an email, which I promise to respond to quickly.)

There’s another problem with spoken language that applies to about everyone. That’s when one word ends with the same sound that the next word begins with. Did you know that “share drive” is really “shared drive”? Say that pair aloud. They vary by only a couple hundredths of a second on that “d” in the middle, so it’s easy to miss. Some other combinations of sounds produce this effect, and that couple hundredths is the basis of today’s comic, The Lockhorns by Bunny Hoest and John Reiner. Sorry, I lost the link.

You probably have a few favorites of this kind of combinatorial problem (it’s called sandhi, by the way). I invite you to share in the comments.

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