Dyslexia and Dictionaries.

old git

Tremendous Bore
Apologies for being serious but following an amusing conversation this morning and the number of admitted semi and fully dyslexic CafSax members, what could be changed to make dictionaries more useable for dyslexics?

Recall trying to find the correct spelling for the entry meaning "the saying of the thing twice over in different words". Knew how it was pronounced but what was the root? Taught? Tort? Neither but "Taut" with the "ology" added on. It does make sense but never occurred to me.

So what can help if you need to check spelling or meaning from a spoken word? Except for the more frequently recurring senior moments, do not have many problems with words, so any suggestions, serious or not, would be appreciated.
 

Nick Cook

Member
Messages
862
Location
Wokingham, Berks, UK
My daughter's dyslexic and when she was younger we got a special dictionary for dyslexics.

I can't remember how it worked, but I'll see if i can find it and let you know.
 

Basil

Member
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33
Location
on the edge of Dartmoor
I suppose, if you already know the definition but not the spelling then you could look for an alternative word in a Thesaurus and that should lead to the spelling of the word that you are looking for (if you see what I mean).

However, if you also need the definition then I have no idea, but I am sure that there are specialist phonetic dictionaries that are available.
 
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losaavedra

Member
Messages
392
Location
Rojales, Spain
Oh dear ... this is one of my favourite subjects that I find I cannot possibly respond to even near adequately in (sax!) forum posts, as it would take me weeks, that I don't have, to do so! At one level (how to properly spell a word that one can already 'say') a phonetic look-up must be the way to start. Any half decent dictionary has a pronunciation table at the front and words in the body text are then 'spelled out' to indicate how they should be said. Unfortunately dictionary order of word presentation is not phonetically sequenced ... so a bad speller is instantly stymied! However, an electronic dictionary could provide for all sorts of search criteria to include, spelling-of-word, phonetic representation of word, meaning(s) of word, structure or part structure of word (i*mo??er would thus reveal 'ironmonger' and possibly other words fitting that pattern), words that start or end in a particular way, words that 'contain some known string of characters but the rest is unknown, and so on and so on. I've personally designed and programmed a database handler that does all of the above ... I'm just missing the database itself in the right format to get the thing rolling. Anyone seriously interested in these language issues should read The Language Instinct (Stephen Pinker), David Crystal's The English Language, and have close to hand a dictionary of English Etymology, Thesaurus, The Concise Oxford, and a heap of other reference items, many to do with grammar, that are really too numerous to mention here. I've not much else to say at this point ... what I've said so far could be yet another of those 'thread killers' I seem to be rather good at producing!!!!
 
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OP
old git

old git

Tremendous Bore
Already have the Concise, Roget, Hubert and Britannica, so have enough reading to outlast me. Interested in the opinions of full and semi dyslexics, although we all belong to the latter category.
Wonder if there is any similarity with being tone deaf. There is a theory and numerous practitioners who claim that even 'Growlers' can be taught to sing and therefore play instruments.
Thanks for a serious reply, Mike.
 

losaavedra

Member
Messages
392
Location
Rojales, Spain
As a brief response I've noticed that it is possible to become more dyslexic in one's first language as a result of a move from one country to another where the new one uses spelling that is far more phonetically based, as is Spanish in my case. I can read aloud in near perfect Spanish even though I still 'understand' far too little of the meaning of what I'm saying. The letters of the Spanish alphabet are consistently pronounced, in the same way in whatever words they are used in. There are a few positional rules to learn, such as 'c' on the front of a word often sounding like an 's' but for most other word positions for 'c' the result in a 'th' sound. On the other hand weird English letter groupings such as 'gh', 'ph' are barely found at all because an 'f' does the job quite adequately! The Spanish letter 'j' is always sounded as 'ch' (similar to the Scottish 'ch in loch) and the individual syllables within words are all generally spoken ... which is possibly why spoken Spanish sounds so fast and why my town name is pronounced 'R-och-aagh-lez' (3 syllables) instead of 'Row-jails' (two syllables).

To some extent the above exposure messes up one's ability to continue to spell correctly in English ... but my wife and I have possibly been saved by doing endless (English) cryptic crossword puzzles!!!!
 
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old git

old git

Tremendous Bore
Right on Mike. Remember at junior school how irregular English spelling was demonstrated by the 'how to spell potato in a logical but totally non understandable manner'. He also demonstrated the total futility of shouting "Look out!" to foreigners, as they do and his final nail was a sentence with numerous "that"s, that sounded sensible when he said it but never worked for me.
That leaves the obvious question, if our spelling system is so chaotic, why aren't we all fully dyslexic? Is it just a pattern recognition problem?
 
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