Aoccdrnig to rscheearch

Though by now this passage has become fairly ubiquitous in the blogosphere (see variations of it here, here, here, here, and here), few of my readers are likely to have seen it yet and some might find it interesting:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

I actually first learned of it through an interoffice email, which attempted to flatter or patronize (I can’t decide which; you be the judge) myself and my fellow copyeditors:

Now, I am not saying all your work is unimportant. Everyone knows your work is important. But I thought you should see just how much can go wrong without hurting the sense of a passage. In fact, perhaps the evidence below shows why it’s so DIFFICULT to do a proof-read [sic].

At any rate, the only thing I might be able to add to the discussion is to point out David Harris’s update, which he blogged today:

I am quoted in today’s Daily Mail (London) news article about the scrambled letters meme. Bill Mouland, the journalist who wrote the piece, also contacted Dr Graham Rawlinson, now 54, living in West Sussex, who originally wrote about this idea in his Ph.D. thesis at age 27.

If you have any updates about the possible source of this fast-spreading linguistic ephemera, I’m sure David would appreciate it, as would I.

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