Composing words

I have always been bad at spellings. Be it english, gujarati, or hindi, my teachers always complained and found it amusing that someone could be so bad at spellings. I never understood why I was bad at it until today when i tried checking the spelling of a particular word. A simple word. Assam. I wasn’t sure if it was assam  or asaam.

To test it out, I got my cell phone and typed in assam and looked at it for a while. I soon realised that it was not how the alphabets together created a sound that i was looking for but the form of the whole word. The word as a whole. I was inspecting the positive and negative space the word created and matching it with previous images or occurrences of the same word, checking if the space around the word matched with the space i had in mind and thus finally deciding if the word was spelled correct.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a positive and a negative space is, if we have a black pen and were to write the letter “A” on a white sheet of paper, the region marked by the ink (in black ) is the positive space while the space created while writing (in white ) is the negative space.

I was correcting my spellings visually not verbally. I experimented this theory with a few other words. This time a little longer word. The word knowledge is well etched in my memory cause i was once asked to spell it out during a quiz competition witnessed by my mom. She taught in the same school I studied and was in the audience. During the rapid fire round, i was asked to spell this word to which i spelled it first without the last e. But something about it dint seem right then. The overall word dint seem to be balanced.

There was this small space which only the alphabet “e” could fill that was missing or at least my past memories of the space the word created suggested.I was taught spellings in the traditional way. But somewhere my mind dint read the word, it saw the word and determined if the word was well composed. Verbally I still wonder if the “e” is required in knowledg ( looks improper right ?) or the “g” in strenth . Seeing words and remembering the form of it seemed easier I suppose but  looking at this happening seem like I have a lot to learn about composition from what I did. I was composing words visually.

Further thoughts-

Do we learn letters or alphabets first ?

When a kid is taught letters, the association of sound with that letter  converts the letter into an alphabet. Letters are taught visually, sounds get associated with a particular letter over prolonged  listening. Its like teaching a dog how to give a hand shake. The dog initially has no idea why it is giving a hand shake. But over the years it realizes that this simple gesture creates a strange looking shape on the humans face, which ultimately leads to the master being happy. This strange shape we know as a smile. But for a dog it is a sign of benefit.

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2 Responses to Composing words

  1. Anusha says:

    I remember words visually too. That is why I get confused sometimes when I write in CAPS 🙂

  2. Vaibhav Jain says:

    intriguing. I am good with spellings but really bad with grammar..i.e. i can compose words easily but not sentences.. Now I know why..

    Ur posts do make us think.. keep it up!

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