Chapter 2 Endnotes

17  Not easy: Goldin-Meadow & Mayberry (2001).

17  Online manner: College students can accurately “shadow” (repeat back) recorded speech at lags as short as 250 milliseconds, only a syllable or so behind. They also overshadow, correcting errors intentionally placed in the experiment materials, which indicates they are comprehending what they are hearing as they go along (Marlsen-Wilson 1975).

17  For adults: Gernsbacher, Varner, & Faust (1990).

19  Texts for children: Montag, Jones, & Smith (2015).

20  New genres of humor: See LOL cat attack.

20  Early fears: For a linguist’s perspective, see Crystal (2008). Everyone likes a comical autocorrect error, but now that such errors have become a new genre of humor, it is hard to find real ones. An early version of a popular word processing program replaced cooperation with Cupertino (as in “Could you tell us how far such policy can go under the euro zone, and specifically where the limits of this Cupertino would be?”). The headline “Homosexual Eases into 100 Final at Olympic Trials” resulted from an autocorrect on the name of runner Tyson Gay. [Note added after publication: apparently the error of a homophobic web site.] See many posts on Cupertino effects on the invaluable Language Log.

20  no “spaces”: Convince yourself: see the demonstration on

21  What, Norman?: Rosanna Greenstreet, “Q&A: John Cleese,” Guardian, October 19, 2012.

22  We fill in missing information: This “filling in” is the basis of the famous Kanizsa triangle illusion; “incomplete fonts” designed with missing features are widely used in corporate logos.

22  what makes a code: These concepts were formalized in Claude Shannon’s 1948 theory of communication. See Gleick (2011) for an introduction.

23  for beginning readers: Goodnight Moon in Hebrew. Fascinating that the cover drawing is the mirror image of the original, so that it too “reads” right to left.

23  It’s orthographic TMI: Adding vowels slows skilled reading of Hebrew: Bentin & Frost (1987). However, even skilled adult readers require vowels in some low-redundancy contexts, such as poems.

23  Languages are quasiregular: Seidenberg & McClelland (1989).

24  “stress deafness”: Syllabic stress works differently in French and English, resulting in frequent stress-assignment errors when native speakers of one language use the other. Marking stress patterns in print might be helpful to second-language learners, but the bigger hurdle is being able to hear and pronounce the nonnative patterns. An analogous phenomenon, “tone deafness,” occurs in learning tonal languages such as Mandarin Chinese if one’s first language does not employ tone.

24  James reviewing: Clive James, “Clive James on Brad Pitt’s Chanel No5 Commercial,” Telegraph, November 1, 2012.

25  That was disingenuous: It was not that the newspaper’s stylebook prohibits this use of italics.

25  band camp: See “American Pie (9/12) Movie CLI—One Time at Band Camp (1999) HD,” video uploaded to YouTube by Movieclips, June 27, 2011,

26  By omitting information: What is reported as a direct quotation is often a cleaned-up version of the utterance. This is known as “piping a quote.” Alex S. Jones, “Ideas & Trends; Just How Sacrosanct Are the Words Inside Quotation Marks?,” New York Times, January 20, 1991.

26  “The USSR condemns”: “We Begin Bombing in Five Minutes,” Wikipedia, See it now: “1984 Soviet Union Reply to President Reagan Bombing Joke,” video uploaded to YouTube by Chronos Xaris, November 17, 2012,

27  A beginning reader can: Liberman, Shankweiler, & Liberman (1989).

28  It encourages the fiction: For a charming example, see “Sesame Street—That’s What Reading Is All About,” video uploaded to YouTube by wattamack4, July 4, 2007,

28  Illiterate Portuguese adults: Morais et al. (1979).

29  The effect is so strong: Seidenberg & Tanenhaus (1979).

29  Language is a virus: Laurie Anderson, “Language Is a Virus,” video uploaded to YouTube by Rebel, May 11, 2008,; Frith (1998).