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Code writing in English - can you do it in other languages

 
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1305
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:22 pm    Post subject: Code writing in English - can you do it in other languages Reply with quote

My professor friend is going to give her students this.
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 W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C34R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.

Can you do this because of the structure of English or is it possible in all languages?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, only took me about 5 seconds to crack that code, Sally! Wink

If you fancy trying to read some English as arranged into square "Chinese" characters, take a look at Xu Bing's artwork (search for his name on Google Images). This is one of his easier ones (his name adorns the cover):
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Xu-Bing-Without-Meaning/dp/0295981431

And here are some very artistic renderings of actual Chinese characters (obviously very distorted, in order to become stylized pictures of the things they are meant to be representing - Chinese script became predominantly phonetic, albeit poorly, and cast off a lot of its "pictographicness" ages ago!):
http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictures/chinese-character-art.html
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woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This (or at least something similar) is obviously possible in all written languages. Our minds seek what we expect to be there, and select the known item closest to what is actually on the page (not that listening is much different, mind). Exercises like this ought to be part of all linguistics degrees really, since this phenomenon has a lot of implications for language learning. For example, it shows that you don't learn much in a deep way without explicit attention, (i.e people don't "soak things up" all that well) and it shows that alphabet systems and character systems are more similar than people imagine.

I suppose you could say that it shows the opposite since you are learning fast and soaking up the way the numbers represent letters without really realizing how - but I think that is a different type of learning than learning the actual targets, and only short term.
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1305
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I remember hearing that we seek patterns to satisfy some need in our brain. So that has implications for learning as well. And that we make connections with what we have already learned. Both are powerful tools to learn but also are the devil to erase if we connected the wrong things or learned a faulty pattern.
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woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, which rather implies that input should be pretty accurate, and that having lots and lots of free conversation in a class all of the same nationality has severe drawbacks.

It doesn't strike me that the code breaking exercise above is very suitable for language learners - after all it is only if you are supremely familiar with the targets that it is going to "work" and strike you as surprisingly easy to decode.
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