Posted by: gdevi | April 8, 2014

Skimming and Scanning

Interesting article here about deep reading.

You know, the great linguist Roman Jakobson, while he was studying aphasias–we study this in English 280 in neurolinguistics –noted that after cerebral lateralization, the left hemisphere processes language production sequentially or syntactically–phonology, morphology, syntax etc–what we call grammar–while the right hemisphere works on this global coherence of utterances. Folks with right hemispheric aphasic impairments find it harder to process humor, irony, figurative language, particularly metaphors, and other kinds of semantically distant words, all kinds of prosodic functions, inferential reasoning, and responding to emotion in speech. In other words, our brains are evolutionarily wired for beautiful deep cognitive processes as well as ticker-tape information processing. Many of the items on that list make up “literariness” in language, or what Jakobson called the “poetic” function of language.

Systematically skimming and scanning for keywords and headlines, while reading, completely leaves these deep functions of the brain untouched. It is really our loss. Distracted reading, skimming, scanning, checking emails, checking Facebook, looking at the things flashing at you from all sides of your computer screen, listening to beeps and pings, while reading–so many windows open all at once–goodbye, right hemisphere. 

I am so, so tired. I did so much grading, revising the manuscript and gen ed sub-committee work last night–I went to bed at 3 in the morning, and woke up at 5:30. I taught all day, and sat through three meetings. I made some shrimp and pasta for everyone, and I am going to finish doing the dishes, and then I am going to watch something terrible on netflix and then I am going to sleep the sleep of the gypsy!

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