A Glimpse of the Brain: The Mechanism of Mental Audition
Recent developments in neurophysiology reveal a unique plasticity of the brain which determines the way a reader perceives a written text. The balance between kinaesthetic and sensory areas of the brain in the course of reading is to a considerable extent reliant on how familiar we are with the information and data presented in the text. Unfamiliar (or defamiliarized) parts switch on the analytical area of the brain that in its turn activates micro movements of speech organs — as a result we have a sensation of mental hearing during silent reading of such parts. While familiar elements are automated and stored in our long-term memory, we recognize them with our eyes as we read the text but the speed of reading is so fast that there is literally no time for the kinetic instrument to switch on. As a result they remain dumb and relatively dark to us in the context of speech. The author intends to communicate his or her message through careful operation of the described balance. Prosody and intonation may be of some assistance in explaining this unique message but it may be so unique and individual that base phonetics will hardly achieve anything without the help of histrionics. But acting may seriously distort the original message that is uniquely reflected, so, for the sake of objectivity, we remain within the framework of linguistic stylistics in interpretation.
KeywordsSpeech Perception Silent Reading Syntactic Construction Vocal Tract Length Linguistic Stylistic
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