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« Job Market Boot Camp, Part 17: Emotional Maintenance | Main | What does your grad program do well? What could it do better? »

07/18/2015

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Elisa Freschi

Thanks, Helen.
Last Friday I started thinking about your last post while I was training an MA student in reading a South Indian manuscript. The interesting part was that while explaining her the various features of the copyist's style and of the graphemes, I became aware of what I was unconsciously doing while "reading" the manuscript. From a certain point of view, I would have said that I was just perceptually seeing and recognising the various graphemes (consonant+vowel, consonant clusters+vowel, vowels) (by means of the fusiform face area, I presume:-)). However, controversial cases of graphemes resembling each other make one aware that there is also some sort of rapid inference at play ("it is above the line, thus it cannot be an ṃ"). Last, someone who had not been taught about what to look for would not be able to "see" the distinctive traits of, say, vā as distinguished from ha.
Long story short, "perception" is not just a natural, non-conceptual phenomenon.

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