It is difficult to convey intonation in typed speech

August 19, 2012

(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

I just wanted to add the above comment to Bob’s notes on language. Spoken (and, to some extent, handwritten) language can be much more expressive than the typed version.

I’m not just talking about slang or words such as baaaaad; I’m also talking about pauses that give logical structure to a sentence. For example, sentences such as “The girl who hit the ball where the dog used to be was the one who was climbing the tree when the dog came by” are effortless to understand in speech but can be difficult for a reader to follow. Often when I write, I need to untangle my sentences to keep them readable.

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