Reading with Our Ears

Mayor Cabot,” he wrote, “cast the only dissenting vote.” Then the editor reconsidered. Without altering its meaning in any way, he recast the sentence to read, “The mayor cast the lone dissenting vote.” With a stroke of the pen, so to speak, he had achieved a line of perfect iambic pentameter. The MAY-or CAST the LONE diss-ENT-ing VOTE. He had added a touch of cadence to his story — and…

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A Word Involves the Whole Body

An inseparable but special part of the feeling of words lies in the fact that they have to be produced by a human body — with an exception noted for parrots and the like. The act of producing a word involves breath and muscle, and various kinds of muscular activity tend to produce various kinds of feeling. Thus, aside from all other considerations, the bodily involvement in sounding the word…