Friday, 7 October 2011

Brain Interpretive and Understanding Capacity

Another of Pauline's great emails:

If you can read this you have a strong mind:

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!

1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!

1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.

PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F U C4N R34D 7H15.

I got stuck on 53RV35 at the beginning, and only worked it out after finishing the rest. My brain did not register the phrase "serves to prove", which is not part of my vocabulary and, after checking a couple of dictionaries, seems to be sloppy English - the meaning of 'serves' may have changed, of course. Does the phrase mean, simply, 'proves'?

I wonder if Polish readers would understand this. I think it would be impossible for me to understand even simple Polish phrases written in this way. Indeed, I have enough problem with the simple verbal requirement of understanding through picking up key spoken words, which serves to complete understanding of past as well as future speech. I have to listen closely to everything said (and then still fail to understand often enough). Its one of the reasons why using another language can be extremely tiring.

Going back, I still hesitate on 53RV35. This reminds me of the regular questions I have about English words and phrases, when all I can say is "I don't know why, but it just sounds wrong to me", just like 'serves to prove'. The replying answer is often "OK, but can you say it?". "Yes, of course. You can say anything you like. Everyone will understand and there are far more important things to worry about." (An important thing for students to understand about English, I guess.) To be of greater help, however, I try to add, "However, I would say ...". (Thinks: 'please don't say "why" '.) "Why? Only joking!"

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