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Your IQ in 90 Seconds
The Great Retrodiction: English speakers only
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Science marches on. A researcher writes in to chide me that I have forgotten the fastest intelligence test of all, which masquerades as a simple reading test, but which can reach back 50 years, and in 90 seconds deliver a precise verdict on the best level of ability you had in your prime. Indeed, I had forgotten this test, despite recently using it in clinical practice. All this comes from Edinburgh, where Jean Brodie was in her prime, and where psychometry is now in its prime.

Picture the scene: the person being tested is handed a page with 50 words printed on it, and asked to read them aloud, one by one. All the examiner has to do is to note whether they have been pronounced correctly. And that’s it. It is called the National Adult Reading Test.

In his email to me the researcher gives estimates of the time taken:

“Three of the testers (between them they have given the NART several thousands of times), asked how long it takes to give the NART, replied: “an average of a minute and a half. Sometimes a minute, and sometimes three”.

This is a quick test, and extremely powerful.

Now a word about Thomas Caxton. Problem is, which word and how to spell it? Having brought his Flemish printing team over to Westminster, Caxton had to decide how to spell the uncouth English language, which was unkempt, various, regional, protean and quite the rising thing. He that the money was to be made by printing in English, and had to decide what English was likely to be understood. Even with Chancery Standard to guide him (craftily, he placed his printing press next door to the national centre (centre) for official document production) he had to make decisions about English. It is said of Caxton that he fixed written English before it had actually “reached a consensus”. I digress, but it is a feature of English that she is not wrote as she is spoke. In this peculiarity lies an informative isotope: children have to learn how to spell, and in doing so learn how they should pronounce what they read.

What dreadful traps lie in wait for those multitudes who have not won the lottery of life by being born British? I and my brothers, despite English schooling, on coming to England had difficulty with idiosyncratic spellings and with the pronunciation of place names. One of us spoke of “Leicester Square” as Lay-ses-ter, not the absurdly correct “Les-ter”. Equally, pronouncing “mortgage” as Mort-gage” not as the approved “mor-gage”. Why was the t silent? Yes, I know is it is a death pledge, as in Morte d’Arthur, and yes, one third of English is French. I blame someone, and Caxton will do.

Perhaps the ability to learn these absurd peculiarities of English is an intelligence test. It is certainly a burden on memory and learning, probably not as onerous as kanji, but a demanding task anyway. If this unremarked school-age skill measures speed and power of learning, then will it fade with age? Why not find out? Take some children who were tested for intelligence aged 11, and test them again in old age. Then, test them on the “reading/pronunciation test”. Then, compare their current and youthful intelligence scores with the estimate derived from the reading test.

If you want just a very quick summary: A short test of pronunciation—the NART—and brief educational information can capture well over half of the variation in IQ scores obtained 66 years earlier. The NART correlates 0.66 with the Moray House intelligence test given at age 11. A 66-year follow-up is a Foxtrot Oscar follow-up.

These are big claims, so if you want a little more detail, here are three relevant papers in support of them:

J. R. CRAWFORD, I. J. DEARY, J. STARR, L. J. WHALLEY. The NART as an index of prior intellectual functioning: a retrospective validity study covering a 66-year interval. Psychological Medicine, 2001, 31, 451–458.

Background. The National Adult Reading Test (NART) is widely used in research and clinical practice as an estimate of pre-morbid or prior ability. However, most of the evidence on the NART’s validity as a measure of prior intellectual ability is based on concurrent administration of the NART and an IQ measure.

Method. We followed up 179 individuals who had taken an IQ test (the Moray House Test) at age 11 and administered the NART and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at age 77. A subset (Nfl97) were also re-administered the original IQ test.

Results. The correlation between NART performance at age 77 and IQ age 11 was high and statistically significant (r= –73; P< .001). This correlation was comparable to the correlation between NART and current IQ, and childhood IQ and current IQ, despite the shared influences on the latter variable pairings. The NART had a significant correlation with the MMSE but this correlation fell to near zero (r= .02) after partialling out the influence of childhood IQ.

Discussion. The pattern of results provides strong support for the claim that the NART primarily indexes prior (rather than current) intellectual ability.

The correlation of 0.73 is based on the fact that only the brighter subjects survived the 66 years after taking the test, so there is a restriction of range and when one allows for that, the underlying correlation is 0.78.

The pronunciation test survives even as dementia sets in:

Pronunciation of irregular words is preserved in dementia, validating premorbid IQ estimation

B. McGurn, MB, ChB; J.M. Starr, FRCPEd; J.A. Topfer, BA, MSc; A. Pattie, BSc; M.C. Whiteman, PhD; H.A. Lemmon, MA; L.J. Whalley, MD; and I.J. Deary, PhD

NEUROLOGY 2004; 62:1184–1186

The National Adult Reading Test (NART), used to estimate premorbid mental ability, involves pronunciation of irregular words. The authors demonstrate that, after controlling for age 11 IQ test scores, mean NART scores do not differ in people with and without dementia. The correlation between age 11 IQ and NART scores at about age 80 was similar in the groups with (r=0.63, p < 0.001) and without (r=0.60, p< 0.001) dementia. These findings validate the NART as an estimator of premorbid ability in mild to moderate dementia.

Clearly, intelligence runs through behaviour like carbon through chemistry. Those liable to dementia are those who were lower in intelligence at age 11. Although all the more recent scores are lower in the dementing group, the drop in the NART is explicable by the initial differences in intelligence. Once that is controlled for, it retains its predictive power.

If you did not have any access to a person’s intelligence score at age 11, which in clinical practice accounts for almost all your patients, then you would be guided mostly by the Mini Mental State examination. It is not affected by previous levels, because it is a broad measure of current functioning.

The NART might make you under-estimate the person’s original ability, and the extent to which they had fallen from previous levels. However, the authors say:

If the value of the NART in estimating premorbid intelligence was attenuated in the presence of dementia, then it would be expected that the correlation between NART and MMSE would be different in our two groups. This was not the case.

Predicting and retrodicting intelligence between childhood and old age in the 6-Day Sample of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947. Ian J. Deary, Caroline E. Brett. Intelligence 50 (2015) 1–9

In studies of cognitive ageing it is useful and important to know how stable are the individual differences in cognitive ability from childhood to older age, and also to be able to estimate (retrodict) prior cognitive ability differences from those in older age. Here we contribute to these aims with new data from a follow-up study of the 6-Day Sample of the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947 (original N = 1208). The sample had cognitive, educational, social, and occupational data collected almost annually from age 11 to 27 years. Whereas previous long-term follow-up studies of the Scottish mental surveys are based upon group-administered cognitive tests at a mean age of 11 years, the present sample each had an individually-administered revised Binet test. We traced them for vital status in older age, and some agreed to take several mental tests at age 77 years(N = 131). The National Adult Reading Test at age 77 correlated .72 with the Terman–Merrill revision of the Binet Test at age 11. Adding the Moray House Test No. 12 score from age 11 and educational information took the multiple R to .81 between youth and older age. The equivalent multiple R for fluid general intelligence was .57. When the NART from age 77 was the independent variable (retrodictor) along with educational attainment, the multiple R with the Terman–Merrill IQ at age 11 was .75. No previous studies of the stability of intelligence from childhood to old age, or of the power of the NART to retrodict prior intelligence, have had individually-administered IQ data from youth. About two-thirds, at least, of the variation in verbal ability in old age can be captured by cognitive and educational information from youth. Non-verbal ability is less well predicted. A short test of pronunciation—the NART—and brief educational information can capture well over half of the variation in IQ scores obtained 66 years earlier.

Who bothered to note these minor infractions social behaviour, these shibboleths that ruffle the decorum of the spoken word? It was Hazel Nelson who did this, and her explanations about the development of the test, and how to administer it is given here:

A test which usually takes 90 seconds to administer is capable of reaching back to the abilities of youth, and can estimate pre-morbid intelligence even 66 years later, and even in those citizens in the early stages of dementia. It is used regularly to get estimates of pre-morbid intelligence when patients have had head injuries, or any accidents or illnesses which affect cognitive function.

It may seem a restriction that this test works only for English speakers, a mere 1.5 billion, but as my friend says “one should never look gift horse in the mouth”.

So, should you come across any person who doubts the validity of intelligence testing, grab them by the lapels (if they have no lapels you may skip this step, since there is little point debating with the improperly dressed) and enquire whether there is any branch of social science which, on the basis of a 90 second test, can make such useful predictions.

• Category: Science • Tags: IQ, Psychometrics 
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  1. Anon[256] • Disclaimer says:

    You can estimate people’s IQ even by reading a comment posted by them on a blog.
    It’s an attribute that influences visibly pretty much anything we do.

    Even in “sportsball” you see differences of intelligence between players (which of course never show up in commentator’s accounts of the ongoing).

  2. dearieme says:

    Since the test originally comes from Edinburgh then “correct” pronunciation would need to be rhotic. That means that only a minority of Englishmen could score high marks. To take one of your examples, no Edinburgher would accept Lestah as a correct pronunciation of Leicester.

    Moreover, Scots don’t drop “h” whereas all Englishmen do (though with varying frequency). So again the test would surely be awfully hard on the English. Further, Scots tend to use vowels where the southern English use diphthongs – oops, they’ll fail again.

    And as for Americans or Aussies …..

    Come to think of it, how about Kiwis, who pronounce almost all vowels as “uh”? I’m very fond of Uhn Zuhd, so I am suspicious of a test that would be hard on its denizens.

  3. dearieme says:

    Come to think of it, the following list of surnames would be improperly pronounced by every Englishman, or at least every Englishman I’ve ever met: CRAWFORD, DEARY, STARR, WHALLEY.

    • Replies: @Rodney1111
  4. @dearieme

    As far as I know, the test itself was designed in England. What Edinburgh has provided is the data which shows its long-term utility.
    Glasgow would be a different matter.

  5. res says:

    It may seem a restriction that this test works only for English speakers, a mere 1.5 billion

    (In addition to dearieme’s points about local variation) Any idea how well this test works for those who speak English as a non-first language? Only about 360 million of those 1.5 billion are native speakers.

    That said, the test does seem very useful. I am particularly intrigued by the ability to evaluate pre-morbid IQ in dementia cases.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @Cortes
  6. @res

    Not sure if it is used much outside English as first language countries. Wechsler took the test over, rather forgetting its heritage.

  7. Polynices says:

    That’s neat. There are a few words on the list that I’ve heard pronounced two different ways and to this day am not sure if either or both are correct. I suppose I should look them up. Not sure that’s a strike against my IQ.

  8. Muggles says:

    Interesting. I think a similar type of test could be very useful for evaluating prospective employees.

    Just take a paragraph from a reasonably literate publication or magazine, book, or two. Make sure the typeface is large enough to overcome any mechanical or eye problems. Then ask the subject to read the text aloud. Then perhaps a simple quiz on what some of the more abstract words mean in context.

    See if they know how to pronounce the more difficult/unusual words. Have some idea of the conceptual terms and meanings. See if they stumble as well as acknowledge punctuation.

    This works best with native English speakers but should also work for longtime residents with reasonably fluent English. Or test in their native language.

    People who don’t read, can’t read will do poorly. Or who have little education either formally taught or self taught. A trait of very bright people is that even absent formal education beyond literacy, they pick up and learn the words and language.

    A pure pronunciation test might not work very well in the US due to regional variations (like “pecan”) and accents. From what I read even in England there are many local region dialects and word pronunciation differences. A less variable test using only fluency and word recognition would seem also to highly correlate with IQ regardless of accent and local usage. Standard English of course.

    • Replies: @Endgame Napoleon
  9. This is the basis of the Watson-Glaser test, which has the merit of considerable face validity. You read a short document, and then have to aswer questions about what can be concluded in terms of inferences, deductions, interpretations, and arguments. This is very like the decisions carried out by managers, and so is often used in management selection.

    Anyone taking the test can see that it is legitimately facing applicants with the sorts of problems they will encounter in their work. Law firms often use it in selecting applicants.

    On samples of 20,000 students it correlates well (r=0.74) with the Otis Mental Ability Tests.

    On a tiny sample of Wechsler Verbal IQ it correlates r=0.41 with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, but that is because of a correlation of r=0.5 with the Verbal scale.

    On the down side, it can take over an hour, but the benefit is that you know with some certainty whether the candidate can cope with the sorts of problems which will land on their desk.

    • Agree: Endgame Napoleon
  10. @Muggles

    While I’m glad to see a test that favors verbal people for a change, it seems like the intelligence of the math people is undercounted in this test. Many mathematical people don’t care as much about words. While the mind of a verbal person fixates on new words and their context, the mind of a mathematical person often skips over words, regarding the nuances as inconsequential.

    Verbal people often overlook the interrelations between numbers, but see the interwoven nature of words: their spellings, their meanings, their assonance, their alliteration, their euphony, etc. This seems like fluff to math people. However, spelling skills might be downgraded over the entire population due to over-dependance on predictive text, spell check, etc.

    I wonder about the differences between verbal people and art people, particularly whether the most visually artistic ones have verbal skills to match. On art blogs, I see a disproportionate number of well-written posts, and I think it is because of the desire of art people to control the design of the writing.

    Some of the most skilled visual artists are quiet people, though. That might be due more to temperament than verbal abilities. It might be a result of putting more effort into manipulating shapes, tones and colors than manipulating words to create a strong verbal design.

    Artists are more concerned with artifice and structure, whereas the science / math people seem more interested in the way things work undenneath the hood and the logical route to arriving at that knowledge. Science / math people will often dismiss an artfully constructed argument, with an attempt at paragraphs flowing into one another and strategically placed \$2 words, if the art / verbal person’s conclusions veer from a logical, linear path.

    Art / verbal people think associatively, seeing connections between disparate things, whereas math / science types mistrust this type of thinking. They think art / verbal people are trying to get one over without going through the logical steps to prove that their points have validity.

    There isn’t a lot of logic in a list of words, and English isn’t the most logical of languages. Ask hyphens. Hyphens don’t make sense; hyphens need a redo. More than anything else in the English language, hypens need some discipline from the math / science brigades. If someone can explain the function of hyphens in the English language, plus using them consistently, s/he is a Mensa-certified genius.

  11. Albertde says:

    I guess (an Americanism) that the test has relative validity. I am thinking of words like solder (“sold-er” vs. “sodder”), dynasty (“die-nasty” vs.”dinn-asty”), Isaiah (“Eye-say-ah” vs “Eye-sigh-ah”), Althorp (“Al-trop” vs. “Al-thorp”), Elgin (“El-jin” vs. “El-gin”).

  12. The black billionaire Robert Smith was in the news recently after he offered to pay Morehouse student debt. The interesting thing about him is that he’s achieved success by embracing cognitive testing perhaps more than anyone else:

  13. @dearieme

    Come to think of it, how about Kiwis, who pronounce almost all vowels as “uh”? I’m very fond of Uhn Zuhd, so I am suspicious of a test that would be hard on its denizens

    Well, Aussies claim that New Zealanders pronounce ‘six’ as ‘sex’ and ‘sex’ as ‘sucks’!

    • Replies: @Beau Nydle
  14. Is the test construct valid? I’d bet my whole check that it’s not.

    • Replies: @BengaliCanadianDude
  15. anon[339] • Disclaimer says:

    Ye olde potatoe.

    • Agree: Fuerchtegott, 95Theses
    • Replies: @95Theses
  16. Muggles says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    It is correct that verbal/linguistic skill is only one measure of IQ and intelligence. The subject of the essay here was correlation between a short word test and IQ.

    I am not sure how my variant would correlate but I think it does measure language ability and everyday fluency. If someone doesn’t read it usually means they aren’t very bright. Even narrow savants usually study their own passionate subjects intensively. A chess nut will read chess manuals and past annals of major games. Artists will read and study art books.

    True there are some types of intelligence in abstract thinking (math) and expressed perceptions/emotions (art) where language is secondary. Also as you note some people have their IQ manifest in non language areas of the brain. Some autism spectrum people have abilities to see things, hear patterns, etc. which may not include verbal fluency. Or even emotional IQ which can greatly alter the effective use of raw intelligence in someone.

    Word usage isn’t based on logic, so looking for that is misguided. Your “English reform” notion is seriously off kilter. Even the French can’t manage Language Police or uniformity.

    If a quick test is needed for hiring, find out if they can and do read. And speak with some fluency with concepts and words at a fairly high level. If for non people-oriented work, like programming or raw number crunching, mechanical tasks, then maybe other criteria would work better.

  17. @RaceRealist88

    The main issue I have is that it relies solely on pronounciation and enunciation…isn’t that in itself a big no-no? Others have stated this either in previous comments or in other blogs which I’ve read…but regional locution and diction varies EVEN by neigbourhood, class, city, whatever. This can be within a state, province, whatever. Obviously there are blatantly incorrect ways of pronouncing a certain word, but I feel this test in itself relies too much on researcher subjectivity. This is the opposite of objective. There are so many variations involved in a word, it’s insane.

  18. joe2.5 says:

    Correct reading for the purposes of the test is phonemic, not phonetic. As it evaluates if you know (and remember) the divergence between the rule-based reading and the actual reading of the particular word, the exact phonemes don’t play a role. The evaluation is of course supposed to take into account the range of accents. Where the choice of test words is, to say the least, infelicitous, is where this choice confines the test into being British-only (as with “gaoled”!)

    • Agree: 95Theses
    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  19. can’t be done in some languages. german for instance. spelling and pronunciation are way too regular. novel words are 99% obvious as to how they’re spoken out loud. however in german, due to the 3 articles, they measure social status and intelligence in a similar way to english merely by hearing you speak – but here it’s if you don’t know the correct article for all nouns. they know you’re dumb, or at least provincial, as you start missing them, their opinion of you degrading by each missed article. apparently when arnold talks in german, he sounds like a hillbilly.

    however, doctor thompson is correct, that a person’s ability to pronounce novel words, is definitely related to intelligence, as a general principle.

  20. a lot of these fast intelligence tests only work to sort people into broad general categories though, and it really does take a 60 minute standardized test to explore the upper limits of 1 in 10,000 level intelligence, wechsler scope brainpower. i’m hesitant to trust the wonderlic, for example. which at 12 minutes is longer than these quick tests, but that still seems too brief.

    the few guys even smarter than that can probably finish the wechsler in 30 minutes or less, but they’re hardly the target audience of such tests. those guys can go directly to answering every question correctly on the old SAT, and if they’re beyond that, they can go work in STEM and crack serious long standing problems if they really want to impress us.

  21. Until a couple of generations ago, Scots used to sound “ch” and “gh” as a gutteral.
    Hence the test for Scottishness was too say “it’s a bra bricht munlicht nicht” (it’s a bra bright moonlight night) sounding all the guterals.
    Like at 1:15 into this old song by Harry Lauder

    I think bra is the Swedish word for good, adopted.
    Germans used to sound their guterals too, But it is becoming muted. Dutch and Danes still do it though. Some Middle Easterners too,

    The point is: this reading test won’t work for “all English speakers”. Just for natives of the testers home town, that’s all.

  22. IQ

    A bunch of nonsense fabricated by simpletons in an attempt to objectify a complex and subjective attribute known as intelligence. This measures the ability to perform simple mental tasks, which can be augmented by training and practice. IQ tests take no note of intuition and creativity, nor have any bearing on true intelligence. They have some relation to job success because only this simple minded interpretation is needed for repetitive and obedient tasks.

    I have scored well over 140 on recognized IQ tests scored by ‘certified psychologists’ while half asleep, but don’t give a shit. A truly intelligent person does not brag, but rather teaches, and realizes that a ‘high IQ’ means precisely dick, just as well as many other qualifications in modern society such as degrees, etc. Many feel intimidated by the real scope of intelligence thus they try to tame it and make it comprehensible on a ‘normal’ level rather than to truly develop it within themselves and increase the breadth of their perspective.

  23. My grandmother told me that in the late 1920s a Hungarian immigrant to London was having tremendous trouble learning English. He was generally perplexed, especially by such names as Cholmondoley (‘Chumley’) and Happisburgh (‘Hazebro’), but later became paranoid that all this was a deliberate plot to remind foreigners of their inferiority. Nonetheless he persisted and persisted and slowly began to acquire some sort of mastery over the language, and indeed began to plume himself on this to the extent that he set himself up as a tutor to his fellow immigrants. By 1930 he started passing himself off as an Englishman born and bred, with visions of social climbing and all the rest of it.

    One day in 1931, however, he was walking down Oxford Street, entirely ignorant that Noël Coward’s Cavalcade had just premiered at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, when he passed a newsagent’s stall. One of the posters, advertising the latest edition of the Evening Standard, I believe it was, bore the following words: CAVALCADE PRONOUNCED SUCCESS.

    Our friend returned to his bedsitter, took out his revolver, and shot himself.

    • LOL: TelfoedJohn
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @Abbybwood
  24. @Dr. E. Black

    You can copy the “Urban Dectionary” from the web. Well done. That probably qualifies you for some job that still exists today, at least if you are a cute slim curvy under 25 female, or maybe the last who could give a full explanation to tourists of the workings of a country railway signal box.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  25. Interested. Sceptical. I suspected error might have crept in since numerous Oxbridge graduate teachers introduced me to the Higher Pedantry – packaged inevitably also with the Lower. So I checked the list. A breeze. No doubts except….. Of course a forthright English speaker should pronounce “banal” to rhyme with “anal”. Not sure that my pedagogues told me that at school but maybe one did because here is what I found on line from someone who knows four pronunciations:

    *The Annoying One*
    When people argue with me over the pronunciation, they like (bā’-nəl), which rhymes with anal. A full 28 percent of the usage panel prefers this pronunciation. That was, of course, over a decade ago, and by my experience, it has been losing ground. I’m sure part of that is due to the fact that it does sound like anal. But more important to me is that the hard-a just doesn’t seem banal to me.

    Regardless, I’ve never commented on someone pronouncing banal this way. It’s always the other way around. I say it the “wrong” way and am instructed about the right way to say it, which they know because Moses Mrs Johnston told them in the fourth grade.”

    Assignate! Really, of course you must pronounce the “g” – but who the hell has ever used or heard the word?

    Is one allowed thinking time to commiserate with Americans before settling firmly on the English short “i”? Maybe some whose teachers at Groton or at Exeter were Rhodes Scholars had gone native at Oxford would have helped rescue that last IQ point.

    And did I lose a point or 2 of IQ while dithering over “radix” (still not 100% sure) or “drachm” which is clearly an apothecary’s dram unless you insist on thinking of the currency the Greeks should have reestablished 10 years ago?

    Thank goodness my Irish, Scottish and Midlands ancestors got with the strength and realised that the Home Counties were where they knew how to sound posh.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  26. @Wizard of Oz

    Oops! No editing. The short “i” is of course in “idyll”.

  27. Cortes says:

    I suspect that the Johnnie Foreigners who cope with the chaos will score well:

  28. Cortes says:

    Mastery of reading English is a long process.

    Our daughter attended the same primary school in the 1990s as I had attended in the 1960s. A feature of her homework each night was to copy and pronounce correctly five new words supplied by her teacher. That’s five new words per night for ?26 school weeks for seven years of primary school. (Maybe not every night, but every night I was there to help and check her homework).

    In the last couple of years of my time at primary school we were subjected to surprise tests based on spelling textbooks edited by

    I’m sure the memory is enough to revive the nervous tics of many on hearing the dread words

    “Pencils down and close your jotters. Hugh MacDonald: Stand up and spell “Egypt” for the class.”

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  29. eah says:

    All the examiner has to do is to note whether they have been pronounced correctly.

    This seems like that kind of IQ test that will help validate claims of IQ skeptics that IQ tests don’t measure intelligence.

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  30. @Cortes

    In childhood and youth I had a very good visual memory, at least for words, and never made a spelling mistake until at the age of 12 a devilish teacher got me with Czechoslovakia – though not with dichlorethylsulphide [aka mustard gas] which, I confess, two minutes ago I spelled with an f for the ph before checking – which got everyone else. So on holiday a few years ago I tried out “Czechoslovakia” on my sweet 9 year old female relation who had never been thought bright like her older sister. She got it right, thereby perhaps adding some weight to JT’s claims for the 2 minute pronunciation test because she is now at Cambridge…. Perhaps it is her Ashkenazi genes which she doesn’t share with me 🙂

  31. @Endgame Napoleon

    Your man for hyphens is Eric Partridge, with his You Have a Point There. Still in print in the UK, maybe in the US as well.

    • Replies: @Atypically Genius
  32. dearieme says:

    It’s not just English! I’ve met only one Englishman who pronounced Latin properly, but ‘e’d bin to Eton, ‘adn’t ‘e?

    All the Americans I’ve heard pronounce bits of Latin have used the standard, rebarbative English pronunciation. I was once at a conference where an American’s pronunciation of “fungi” left a German completely perplexed, to my vast amusement. Why, the German was presumably asking himself, was he being questioned about a fun guy?

  33. The following is a brief introduction to something I wrote a few years back but never published – at least not directly in this form. I believe that broadly-defined intelligence is more accurately measured by broadly-defined vocabulary than by any other standard (albeit with a healthy respect for standard deviation), but it is also critical to be cognizant of, most especially, adjectives (opinions) being passed-off as nouns (facts).


    “Know well, then, that worthy and godlike is the zeal with which you rush upon definitions. Apply yourself to it, and practice it, while yet you are a novice – all the more, because it seems useless, and is called trifling by the vulgar : for if you do not, the truth will escape you.” – Plato

    Fraud by definition


    Humans are cogno-linguistic. We perceive reality very largely as a function of the language that we use to describe it. Most everyone inherently believes that you have to be able to think something before you can say it. The greater reality is that, above a certain base level of perception and communication, you have to have the words and language by which to say something before you can think it.

    The financial world is exkaboomable! We are in serious, serious trouble. Or not.
    Exkaboomable (Ex-ka-boom-able) is a word that I created with the following definition:

    1. wholly inert, zero latent or potential energy;
    2. extremely energetic, highly unstable and prone to spontaneous and violent explosion.

    Exkaboomable is at best a meaningless word, and potentially a very dangerous word. Exkaboomable is a generic example of what I call a counter-sense word. Counter-sense words have two or more mutually exclusive definitions.

    In contrast, fairly rare word-pairs such as flammable and inflammable are directly opposite in form, but have the same meaning. A counter-sense word is a single word or term chosen or asserted to mean, at the option of the decision-maker, either X or minus-X. A given counter-sense word means X – unless it doesn’t.

    Counter-sense words are oscillating-contradictions that facilitate cogno-linguistic fraud upon the human species.

    Counter-sense words are theoretically impossible as an inherent fraud against meaning, but have still managed to saturate the language of finance. In the financial world, counter-sense words are the cogno-linguistic equivalent of burglar’s tools, where having them is prima facie (on the face of it) evidence or contingent proof of intent to use them as such.

    Much of the financial world, for example, turns on the meaning of the word principal. There is arguably no more important word in the world than principal in the financial sense. The history of each of our financial lives is written in the principal amounts of our financial contracts and broadly-defined financial securities. And investments of principal is the very definition of a great portion of the national and international macro-financial markets that so vastly affect the micro-principal amounts that we have each to manage throughout our lives at the micro-level.

    So is principal the amount actually advanced / invested by the creditor, and received by the debtor? Or is it the amount that the debtor agrees that they owe regardless of the amount actually advanced and received?

    Is the amount of principal a question of objective fact?, or of the agreement of parties? Is it a noun/fact? Or is it an adjective/opinion? Over \$100 trillion (\$100,000,000,000,000) of USD-equivalent principal debt in the world today directly depends on the answer to a question that theoretically cannot exist.

    The essential form of a typical mortgage-broker loan or credit offer, for example (especially second and third mortgages), is as follows:

    We will loan you \$100,000 at 30% per annum provided that you agree to falsify the mortgage and promissory note to state that we loaned you \$130,000 at 6%, plus an unregistered side-agreement for an unlawful and illegal kick-back of \$30,000 to us.

    A typical mortgage-broker loan involves at least a dozen prima facie criminal / racketeering offences (with respect to the real transaction). The rest of the financial-world-in-fact follows the same business model with adjustments to the amount and degree of misrepresentation and falsification in any given case. Every nominal loan / credit fee is first and foremost a true-principal-amount and real-interest-rate misrepresentation-fee, and a GAAP / accounting-fraud-concealment-fee.

    The effective roll-over period is currently about ten years. If you were to go back ten years and, based on the aggregate payments as since made, you allow the nominal creditors interest only on the actual or net advances, and not on the interest unlawfully and illegally capitalized in advance (i.e., eliminate the fees altogether (don’t count them as either interest or principal)), then all the current debt exactly disappears. On top of everything else, the bankers are systemically eating or consuming their entire cake/asset-base (as additional earned interest income/bonuses) roughly once every ten years, while still having/possessing it forever going forward as interest-bearing-principal.

    In the longer term we observe what the American socioeconomic philosopher Albert J. Nock referred to as a professional criminal class (e.g., lawyers, bankers, judges, politicians) that persistently (generation after generation) lives beyond its means (i.e., value added) while the ever increasing absolute and relative differential is covered by aggregate debt that increases at a greater rate.

    Principal is also a special type (and most significant form) of counter-sense word where dictionaries normally only give one sense, while commercial practice defines the contrary. It would be very difficult to put the Whatever-the-debtor-agrees-that-they-owe sense into a dictionary because the fraud against meaning is manifest in spelling it out, and ever more so in more specialized financial dictionaries.

    So virtually every financial, accounting, and ordinary English dictionary and/or regulation defines it to the effect “The actual amount invested, loaned or advanced to the debtor/borrower net of any interest, discount, premium or fees”, while virtually every financial security in the real world implicitly incorporates the fraudulent alternative/contrary meaning.

    Thus in practice, principal means the creditor’s actual and net investment, unless it doesn’t.

  34. Anonymous[291] • Disclaimer says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    Ron Unz’s articles, and especially his replies on threads, are written in pretty simple, utilitarian language. Nothing highfalutin like a lot of commenters on various blogs.

  35. ““Three of the testers (between them they have given the NART several thousands of times), asked how long it takes to give the NART, replied: “an average of a minute and a half. Sometimes a minute, and sometimes three”. ”

    I hate to nit pick, but I did a double take on the above passage. I believe it needs the following repair:

    “Three of the testers (between them they have given the NART several thousands of times),WHEN asked how long it takes to give the NART, replied: “an average of a minute and a half. Sometimes a minute, and sometimes three”.

  36. @James Thompson

    The test would probably work well in French but would be almost worthless in Spanish due to the highly regular phonetics and orthography of Spanish. All this, of course, assumes functional reading abilities.

  37. schrub says:

    i attempted to download the test and was informed that by doing so I would be allowing the company supplying it, Academia, access to my Google contact list.

    Ia this a legitimate test or is it just very tempting bait used by Academia to harvest people’s contacts which it would then sell. (\$\$\$\$).

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  38. @Anon

    You must keep watching the tube after the game is over for the post-game player interviews.

  39. I once heard someone say a 10-second measure of intelligence is to recite four numbers, e.g. 6-8-9-5, and then say the string in reverse order. One can even administer the challenge to oneself.

    It’s very difficult. Five-number strings are nearly impossible. Six and above, fuggedaboutit.

    Everybody knows the alphabet, but nobody can say it backward unless they’ve practiced it as a parlor trick.

    Apparently human brains don’t go backwards.

  40. 95Theses says:

    I’ll take an olde potatoe over a living Navy corpseman any olde day. ツ

  41. AaronB says:

    This will end by judging a person’s intelligence based on how rapidly he can blink his eye three times, which will be discovered to have an astonishing 5% correlation with performance, and thus be considered perfectly adequate to replace any more complex measure of intelligence.

    Promising scientific careers will be destroyed as funding and grants will be doled out on the basis of rapid eye blinking.

    Our civilization is in a decadent death spiral.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Abbybwood
    , @Anon
  42. @Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid

    Yes, all covered here:

    Digits backward are good predictors. For reliability one should use at least two trials per string length, which lengthens the time to about 5 minutes. On the plus side, all these are true ratio measures.

  43. Anonymous [AKA "Dr. E Black"] says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Indeed… Calculate the time that you spend on this BS, and what you could really do irl 🙂

    Clock is ticking 🙂

  44. res says:

    Our civilization is in a decadent death spiral.

    And you choose to worry about ridiculous strawmen of your own creation. I rather think you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution

    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
  45. Republic says:

    I can get a good indication of a person IQ by asking the question: what caused the twin towers to collapse on 9/11?

    • LOL: dogbumbreath
  46. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Dr. E. Black

    IQ: A bunch of nonsense fabricated by simpletons in an attempt to objectify a complex and subjective attribute known as intelligence.

    LOL. You have committed the ultimate offense in the world of psychology. You have questioned the credentials of non-entities to judge their intellectual superiors. You will now be trashed by the IQ-ist trolls.

    • Replies: @Sean
  47. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    What’s crazy about the claim that intelligence is reflected in pronunciation is that in Britain, at least, pronunciation is a matter of social class and regional affiliation.

    Thus, if you are very high class indeed, you will quite likely pronounce girl as gel.

    If you’re a graduate of Oxford University, you will pronounce Oxford as Awksfud,
    off as awf, and Magdalen College as Maudlin College (It’s as if they are constantly sucking in their cheeks.).

    If you are from Glasgow, you may pronounce football, as fitbah.

    If you are from the English Midlands, you will pronounce the city of Leicester, Lester, and the town of Bicester as Bister.

    If you are from one of the more prosperous parts of London you will pronounce Cardigan Gardens as Caduggan Gardens.

    And if you are from certain parts of East London, you will pronounce Heathrow Airport as Eefro Airpor!.

    And if your friend is named Mainwaring he probably pronounces it Mannering, whereas, if his name is Meagher he will likely pronounce Marr. However, when the WW1 politician and crook Horatio Bottomly called upon Lord Cholmondley the conversation went as follows:

    Bottomly to the butler: I have come to see Lord Chol-mond-ly
    Butler: Do you mean Lord Chumley
    Bottomly: Yes, tell Lord Chumley it’s Mr. Bumly.

    • LOL: Cortes
  48. Sean says:

    I imagine the words are chosen to be ones not everyone uses. Bobby Fischer was supposed to have been able to correctly pronounce long strings of words in a language he did not speak, just hearing them once was enough.

  49. nickels says:

    An alternate take is that this shows just how shallow, and not useful at measuring anything, the IQ test is.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  50. Whitewolf says:
    @Dr. E. Black

    A truly intelligent person does not brag

    So a truly intelligent person wouldn’t tell everyone they have a 140+ IQ and put Dr in front of their name?

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  51. Good pronunciation loses its relevance because of audio transfer improvements.
    On an old telephone it was quite important to know how to speak.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  52. @Peripatetic Commenter

    The New Zealand accent has its roots in the Scottish one, due to their predominance in early NZ and vowels are spoken accordingly. Milk is pronounced ‘mulk’ six as ‘sux’ sex as ‘six’ pen as ‘pin’ among many other little “Scottish-isms. Ironically, Australians having openly displayed anti feelings towards the English and desire to have themselves regarded as more Celtic in nature, are mostly unaware their accent takes the largest part of its structure from east London and south east England, where the majority of prisoners, settlers & migrants came from. On a hot summers day, NZers will go for a “swum un the poow” and Aussies will go for a “sweem een the pule”

    • Replies: @dearieme
  53. Sean says:

    You call yourself “speccy”. Whether or not people with glasses ma have higher IQ when tested, they are certainly more intelligent on average (in the same way way men can be said to be taller than women) as I am sure you have noticed. Calling yourself speccy shows you are quite good at playing the game.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  54. dearieme says:
    @Beau Nydle

    “roots in the Scottish one”: the idea that there’s only one accent in Scotland is charmingly naive.

    There are features that all Scottish accents share – anyway, all the ones I’ve heard. They are all rhotic, for example. But “one”: nope.

  55. @Whitewolf

    It’s OK to place MD after their name if they truly are a medical doctor. People with Phds should be wary of letting anyone know they actually have a Phd.

  56. @Fuerchtegott

    By old telephone do you mean similar to the wall hung models where you had to turn a crank in order to reach the operator. To reach a neighbor on a party line you had to crank the handle the correct number of times the number he was assigned.

    • Agree: Fuerchtegott
  57. Abbybwood says:

    It took me about two minutes to Google and find “the fifty damn words”.

    Does this mean I am stupid?

  58. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    Calling yourself speccy shows you are quite good at playing the game.

    A plausible theory, perhaps, but wrong. Speccy was just an alternative to Spectator since someone had already bagged CanadianSpectator on Google’s blogger.

    Presumably short-sightedness and hence the use of glasses is more common among those who read more than those who read less. If, as seems likely, reading enhances verbal intelligence, that would explain the relationship between wearing spectacles and higher IQ test scores. In other words, reading is just one of the environmental factors that affect IQ test score which is not a pure measure of anything innate.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    , @Sean
  59. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    An alternate take is that this shows just how shallow, and not useful at measuring anything, the IQ test is.

    What the word pronunciation test shows is how well you have acquired the pronunciation of the educated class, which in turn tells how “well” you have been educated, which in turn says something about how susceptible you are to further education and what your earnings potential may be.

    The relationships are obviously hardly precise. In fact they are wildly imprecise, which is why the Terman long-term study of the careers of high IQ kids excluded from among the candidates the only two, Shockley and Alvarez, who went on to win Nobel Prizes.

    Moreover, the predictive power of IQ tests owes more to the influence of education on future educability and earnings potential than on intelligence. Indeed the IQ-ist have no definition of intelligence other than a circular one; namely, that intelligence =IQ and IQ = intelligence. In other words, the IQ-ist have no theory of intelligence.

    Yet on the basis of their circular definition, reflective of a seemingly limited mental capacity, the IQ-ist claims to be able to assess the intelligence of geniuses in worlds as different as those of Shakespeare, J.S. Bach and Richard Feynman. It’s obviously rubbish, but it pays.

  60. Unclezip says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    Hyphens..the same can be said for semicolons…and ellipsis.

  61. The concept doesn’t work in my opinion. I’m Australian and pronounce most English words the same as the British standard, however not all Aussie schools have or had (in my day) equally competent English teachers in the first place so I notice plenty of others whose English pronunciation is flawed but who are still equally or more intelligent than some who do pronounce proerly.. More critically would be Americans who pronounce many English words inccorrectly and are incapable of even being told they are wrong. There isn’t a standardised English pronounciation in practice although absent the USA’s extreme example it might be closer. Canadians speak good English, Kiwis do and so do Aussies technically anyway. Maybe we just need a different test for Americans.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  62. @Rabbitnexus


    How could you even tell the difference between a Canadian and an American speaking English? I’ve been lying to Kiwis and Aussies and Brits and every other group for years overseas by telling them I am Canadian so I don’t have to be hassled about Bush (Now Trump) etc.

    • Replies: @BengaliCanadianDude
  63. Abbybwood says:

    Just blinked my eyes three times fast and it made me dizzy.

    Does this mean I am stupid??!

  64. @dearieme

    I am surprised by what you say. I was born and raised in England and cannot imagine there is more than one way to pronounce the first three names you offer. (But, being English, what would I know?) I would pronounce them cror-fud; deer-e; and star. As for the fourth, I have known two people with that surname who pronounced it differently: one pronounced it woll-ee; the other wor-lee: ‘wor’ as in Falklands ‘war’. And who defines what is ‘correct’ when two people with the same name pronounce it differently? I would be interested to hear what you feel is the correct spelling for each.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  65. Watch out when you write (I mean, right) things like “she is not wrote as she is spoke.”

    The fatuous little prigs on here will correct you and then congratulate themselves on how much smarter than you they are.

  66. @jeff stryker

    o I don’t have to be hassled about Bush

    Well you damn well should be. You elected him. Now you gotta owe us all an explanation. Till the end of time etc etc

    overseas by telling them I am Canadian

    I don’t want OUR reputation ruined by some 50 year old Kraut (s)expat in SouthEastAsia. Please refrain. Consider this a formal cease-and-desist order.

  67. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    You’re wrong. You’re, I mean your, not even nit-picking. Your just wrong.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  68. How does this work in Guangdonghua?

  69. Sbin says:

    Verbal skills are valuable but not a true measure of cognitive ability.
    I am highly dyslexic but posses exceptional spatial relation and problem solving ability.
    IQ tests were around 145 in my youth.

    My secretaries possessed exception verbal skills.
    I would never trade my natural abilities for the ability to remember which spelling and punctuation rules apply.

  70. @BengaliCanadianDude

    A 45 year old white from the Upper Midwest is more likely to be assumed to be from London or Kitchener than a Bengali, believe me.

    At 45 (Not 50) I’ve learned a few tips and pointers on impersonating Canadians…

    1) Pick a border city in Southern Ontario like London or Waterloo or Sarnia. Nobody can distinguish someone from Michigan or Wisconsin from someone from Southern Ontario. Even Newfies and Prairie Canadians cannot tell if someone is from Michigan or freaking Kitchener. Impossible.

    2) It helps to spend some time IN Canada so you can drop some reference points. I lived and worked in North Bay for a period of time so I can.

    3) Drop the fact you are Canadian early on and this way Eurotrash or Muslims who rage about the Evil Empire will be defused.

    4) Most Euros and non-whites assume every American whereas a 10 gallon hat and boots and is a cowboy from Dallas so many will assume that people from Michigan or Wisconsin are Canadian ANYHOW due to the same ignorance that leads them bore or bother Americans about Bush or Trump etc.

    5) You cannot fool Canadians themselves, except for first generation or second generation Indians like yourself who are somewhat removed from the white mainstream so don’t attempt this ON white Canadians from Southern Ontario.

    6) Whichever President the corporations want in power will be. Bush was useful and then Obama was, so party makes no difference.

    7) You cannot distinguish between Americans and Canadians who are white. Germans are rarer in Canada except out in Saskatchewan but overall all whites look the same even to Indians like you and if I told you I was a Quebecer you’d buy it.

    8) It doesn’t matter in SEA so much, but more in Muslim countries.

    9) Don’t let Americans find you impersonating them overseas because this obviously means you are ashamed of your country. But in countries safe enough to Americans, you don’t have to fake it.

    10) Don’t find yourself in a position where people demand to see your passport.

    I should state I am not German and not 50. I’m 45.

  71. @Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid

    This will seem boastful, and I apologize for it, but my sons and I play a game (when on long road trips) which is to recite numbers forwards and backwards. We top out around 13 to 14 numbers. The IQ sceptics will rightly point out that this ability to retain numbers is but one facet of intelligence, even though it might have a 0.7 or 0.8r. What is interesting is something that I can attest to directly; I ‘remember ‘ the numbers by seeing them visually in my mind’s eye. This ‘narrow subset skill’ has also helped me to write code, and to retain an enormous amount of statutes and case law as a trial lawyer. It’s not intelligence per se, but it seems to be a foundational component of the type of intelligence that is best suited for maths, coding, and logic.

  72. And your point is? That reading English = intelligence? I invite you to read, say, Hindi or German or Russian, and when you fail abjectly, I can point and laugh and call you an idiot. Right?

  73. @BengaliCanadianDude

    Oder Bangla porte bola uchit, dekha jak kemon pare.

    • Replies: @BengaliCanadianDude
  74. @Dr. E. Black

    But IQ correlates to other people’s assessment of someone’s intelligence

  75. dearieme says:

    I would pronounce them cror-fud; deer-e; and star.

    So you intrude an ‘r’ into Crawford where it has no business. Or maybe you don’t pronounce ‘r’, in which case your pronunciation of the other two would be wrong.

    • Replies: @Rodney1111
    , @Rodney1111
  76. @jeff stryker

    Wrong, ethnics from other cointried can tell that Im not indian by the dress code and English

    7) so out of touch with reality. I can certainly make distinctions between some of youse

    5) ive actually spotted a phony american in KL one time, pretending to be a canuck

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  77. @BengaliCanadianDude


    Really, is anti-Americanism that strong in Malaysia?

    Jeez, Louis, we cannot go anywhere.

    You have to understand what a bore it is to be an American overseas and have to get into long debates with people who think that you personally elected Bush 20 years ago or that you want your 9 year old to own a machine gun or all the other tired tropes about Americans. It is so, so boring and tedious.

    Anyhow, most foreigners find Canadians so boring that they don’t bother and while you, born in Brampton, might know the difference most won’t.

    • Replies: @BengaliCanadianDude
  78. @obwandiyag

    So I’s wrong, huh? I sho’ ‘nuf be sorry fo’ dat.

  79. @jeff stryker

    I’m not born in Brampton lol I don’t have Sikh or Punjabi elements within my family tree.

    Nothing wrong with being boring at least we have a DECENT reputation which precedes us

  80. From another Computer

  81. @dearieme

    Not sure I understand your response: If you check the OED’s pronunciation of ‘craw’ it is as I suggest. You certainly could have accused me of *omitting* the ‘r’ in ‘ford’. But you didn’t. It would have been helpful if you had described how you believe the four names should be pronounced. Do you insist that all ‘r’s be rolled for correct pronunciation? In my judgment rolling ‘r’s is both inefficient and inconvenient. So my preference is to omit them at the ends of words. How do you pronounce ‘helicopter’? Do you roll the ‘r’ at the end? Just curious. And also curious about in what geographical location you learned your pronunciation.

  82. @dearieme

    Not sure I understand your response: If you check the OED’s pronunciation of ‘craw’ it is as I suggest. You certainly could have accused me of *omitting* the ‘r’ in ‘ford’. But you didn’t. It would have been helpful if you had described how you believe the four names should be pronounced. Do you insist that all ‘r’s be rolled for correct pronunciation? In my judgment rolling ‘r’s is both inefficient and inconvenient. So my preference is to omit them at the ends of words. How do you pronounce ‘helicopter’? Do you roll the ‘r’ at the end? Just curious. And also curious about in what geographical location you learned your pronunciation.

  83. Sean says:

    Maybe low set ears make wearing glasses too difficult and thus it’s not a sign of developmental instability at all, but rather because those with low set ears never get to read and use intelligence that they do badly in life. Coming up with theories is easy.

    I know, don’t try and deny it, that you have always needed glasses, and before you learned to read you were a bright child. We know that what is called the environment and is responsible for the non genetic part of variation in intelligence is random and has nothing to do with things like being encouraged to read. Environment likely things like a virus in development. It certainly is not upbringing.

    Arthur Jensen said that he noticed how the only people who said they would fail an IQ test are those who think they are so obviously intelligent that no one would take them seriously. That is a bit unfair because the only people who play those games are of superior intelligence.

    Top scientists will tell us that race does not exist, nor does IQ does not exist, and consequently correlations between then cannot be true. but does time as commonly understood exist? The physicists would say it does not.

    As James Gleick says above, those scientists, such as Paul Davies here, are playing a particular game. As are we all. Don’t be dogmatic.

  84. @jeff stryker

    Ik ur american. You have stated you are german in another comment

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  85. ” he placed his printing press next door to the national centre (centre) for official document production) he had to made decisions ”

    Thank god he had no problem with typo’s.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  86. Agent76 says:

    May 23, 2019 NBC News: IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries

    “People are getting dumber. That’s not a judgment; it’s a global fact. In a host of leading nations, IQ scores have started to decline.

  87. Precious says:

    You can estimate people’s IQ even by reading a comment posted by them on a blog.

    Yes but only if they are commenting on the blog subject, not if they are arguing with another poster.

    Once two posters start arguing the two usually settle at a much lower level of intelligence to complete the interaction.

    • Replies: @Factorize
  88. Factorize says:

    Adventitiously, fluoresced ephemeral scintillations from my screen and evanesced. The only prerequisite for a higher measured IQ is denser, more convoluted collegiate lexis? Will I apprehend learned fellow posters henchforth? forum posts could be computed with the algorithm.

    • Replies: @Precious
  89. @BengaliCanadianDude


    No I didn’t. I state German-American which is like a Quebecois stating they are French-Canadian.

    On a subtle level, the white European mosaic of the US is somewhat different. More German and Scandinavian in the Upper Midwest than French-Canadian or British.

    However, German-Americans are more recent arrivals than the French or English of Canada.

    I can usually spot a French-Canadian. They have that Sean Penn thing going on. Narrower chin and eyes and more pronounced nose with arched eyebrows. Penn is Jewish-Irish in real life, I know, but I am saying his LOOK is quite typical in Quebec.

    • Replies: @BengaliCanadianDude
  90. @Bill Jones

    Thanks. Corrected it. Language restored to good order.

  91. @jeff stryker

    That’s what I meant, I meant your background

  92. joannf says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    While this measures the verbal ability of wordy people only, verbal ability is closely related to all other parts of intelligence, crass differences between these being very rare. This is why the test seldom if ever fails in determining G. Btw I believe Mensa accepts people from 130 upwards, which is not a good base to certify geniuses.

  93. Anonymous [AKA "Cedar"] says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    I was thinking, what you said. But I would point out, that most of us who avoided learning to spell because it was illogical and a nuisance, did so because we didn’t have genius level memories and it would therefore require effort on our part, to become good spellers.

    But more importantly, did you consider that, our lack of aptitude for proper spelling would probably be reflected in our testing at the age of eleven? But I would dare say, our verbal scores would probably improve over decades, because over time, we can’t help but learn and become more familiar with words, as we pursue that which interests us.

    Regarding texting and spell check, I believe it has brought my spelling skills up. I recall as a child asking teachers what a word means or how to spell a word, and being told to look it up> I was not often inclined to take that advice. But today I get immediate feedback and therefore my mind is at least exposed to the information to learn by rote.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  94. Precious says:

    Out of curiosity, I ran my post text and your post text through an online reading analyzer to see how our writing compares. This doesn’t measure IQ, but it does measure what grade levels our writing is at…

    My scores
    Flesh Reading Ease: 48.21
    Gunning Fog Scale level : 14.98
    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level : 11.38
    Dael-Chall score: 9.87

    Your scores
    Flesh Reading Ease: 48.82
    Gunning Fog Scale level : 12.05
    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level : 8.12
    Dale-Chall score: 13.04

    It was interesting that while I scored higher on Gunning Fog and Flesh-Kincaid, you scored higher on the Dale-Chall test because many of your words aren’t on the Dale-Chall list.

    I think it is safe to say our IQs are reasonably close to each other so if we ever get into an internet slapfight we can keep attacking each other at a very high level of intellectual discourse.

    • Replies: @Factorize
  95. @Anonymous

    It is probably too late to do a study of what learning Latin at school from an early or from a middle school age did for various intellectual functions – mostly positive I guess optimistically. I remember noticing all sorts of regularities in English spelling, as well, of course, similarities with standard variations in French, Italian and Spanish, derived from Latin. That I suppose led to noticing the obviously Anglo-Saxon words with their characteristically non Latinate spellings (think gh, th) and, though I was never blessed with the study of Greek, beginning to acquire a knowledge of Greek rooted words beyond pointers like ph in physics and philosophy. Howevrr I never got to the point where I could immediately explain the rheophyte flora we saw in an Amazon tributary as a classically educated Englishman did by reference to diarrhea [think “flow”] 🙂

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  96. @Wizard of Oz

    I lacked these insights, in that Latin seemed to me no more than clumsy Spanish, with even clumsier numerals.

  97. dearieme says:

    Latin is a funny one. It was the only subject at school where I was both good at it and disliked it. Maybe it was a puritanical objection to learning a dead language; maybe it was a rational feeling that the time could have been put to better use. I’d rather have learnt some German. When we were offered Greek and Russian I declined. Later I learnt to read German at university.

    French was also a funny one: it was a subject that I liked and wanted to be good at. But I wasn’t. On the other hand, being mistaken for a native speaker when bargaining in a flea market in Paris was a proud moment.

    This sort of scarcely relevant reminiscing is presumably a sign of age.

  98. The 7 words I missed, were ones that I had never heard of. Gaol, was a bit familiar to me as I knew it had something to do with jail in the British system.

    Great test for the blokes.

  99. Factorize says:

    Precious, thank you very much! Quantitative literary analysis appears to be a very powerful technique that could be applied to change psychological state and alter features of communications such as clarity. Simply making a conscious effort to shape shift through different ranges of the major quant formulas might be a helpful strategy.

    There have been forum feuds, largely static, ongoing probably for years. To break out of these endless loops, perhaps some of these feudalists might search online for writing tools such as those mentioned in the post I am responding to.

    There are now a new generation of these writing tools that look more profoundly into structural features of written expression. The next grand challenge of machine learning might be to develop a program that could identify great works of literature through such deep analysis.

  100. Factorize says:

    Anon, do you have references for the link between IQ and writing samples. I have been searching away and have yet to find much. Readability scores are only slightly correlated with IQ. Writing samples should reasonably be expected to have at least moderate correlation with cognitive ability. Might there be a website that has an IQ estimator app based upon written works?

  101. Factorize says:

    Anon, do you have references for the link between IQ and writing samples. I have been searching away and have yet to find much. Readability scores are only slightly correlated with IQ. Writing samples should reasonably be expected to have at least moderate correlation with cognitive ability. Might there be a website that has an IQ estimator app based upon written works?

  102. @CanSpeccy

    I have encountered social stress over Magdalen(e). In modern church use it is said as it is written. This is how I normally say it. However, there is a lane of that name in Durham which upper class Southern students of the 1970’s (including Prime Ministerial families) insisted has the Oxford pronunciation. I stuck with the Bishop and used the church pronounciation (sic), thereby expelling myself from the particular social circle involved. Which group had the higher IQ, the Southern elite or the Bishop of Durham and supporters?

  103. @James Thompson

    In Spanish there is the Word Accentuation Test, which presents a list of Spanish words with accent marks removed. The examinee must pronounce the word with the proper accentuation. This has been demonstrated to predict premorbid IQ in native Spanish speaks (Both Spaniards and Central/South American).

  104. @Simon Tugmutton

    Eric Partridge’s work has underscored the need for hyphens.

  105. @joe2.5

    Where the choice of test words is, to say the least, infelicitous, is where this choice confines the test into being British-only (as with “gaoled”!)

    Nice own goal for those arguing that these tests are culturally biased. Doesn’t say much for the IQ of the designers, does it?

  106. @eah

    This seems like that kind of IQ test that will help validate claims of IQ skeptics that IQ tests don’t measure intelligence.


    “All the examiner has to do is to note whether they have been pronounced correctly.”

    All! Well, yes, all, in the sense of “assume the conclusion you want and reverse engineer all the little details”; i.e., begging the question.

    This whole idea seems as worthwhile as measuring “intelligence” by your preference in mustards.

    Take Latin, a supposed “dead” language and thus of certain pronunciation, right? Wrong. Did you attend elite Jesuit boarding schools and obtain a PhD. from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval [note the spelling] Studies? You likely pronounce Latin quite differently than someone who attended Harvard. Who’s smarter?

    I studied Heidegger under a professor in Canada who was fluent — fluent, mind you — in Latin, Greek (ancient), French and German. He was from NYC, but having been in Canada long enough, he referred to Heidegger’s notion of Dasein being “PRO-jected” rather than “prah-jected”; was he smart? I picked up the usage; am I smart?

    How about “law Latin”? In Michigan and Ontario, voir dire is “vwah-deer” just like French (due perhaps to the French influence there). In NYC, my boss publicly corrected me: in NY, it’s “voyeur dyer”. To Frenchman or a Canadian or Michigan lawyer, that’s illiterate. Since he was my boss, I changed.

    I’ve heard it said that you should not correct people’s pronunciations, as it shows they learned the word by reading to themselves, and should actually be congratulated for their studiousness. But according to this test, a self-taught genius would likely be a moron.

  107. @schrub

    Nonsense! IQ fanatics are pure intellectuals, uninterested in such filthy lucre! Imagine, the very idea that something associated with IQ “research” might be a scam!

  108. @Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid

    It’s surprisingly easy, with this non-PC method.

    “What are the two ugliest states? WV and UT.”

    “That’s our cue to pee on Martin Luther King”

  109. @res

    Oh, do you “rahther think,” do you? Oh, Mater, look, nanny’s gone and spilled the tea, how awfully infra dig!”

  110. @CanSpeccy

    What’s crazy about the claim that intelligence is reflected in pronunciation is that in Britain, at least, pronunciation is a matter of social class and regional affiliation.

    And gosh, looky here, social class and regional affiliation are strongly correlated to wealth and success in life, just like IQ! I bet social class is even more correlated with social status, being, well, a redundancy.

    There’s really no end to the “correlations” these IQ fetishists can find.

    I’m reminded of Chomsky’s remark that economics is designed to disguise history. Thus, rather than noting that the British marched into Bombay and broke the thumbs of all the weavers, you explain India’s export driven economy by formulating a “Law of Comparative Advantage.”

    Boris Johnson is PM because he speaks Received English, which is highly correlated to IQ, so he’s the best we’ve got.

  111. Anon[291] • Disclaimer says:

    Our civilization is in a decadent death spiral.

    And yet, according to the child fucking/eating sycophantic genius’ running the planet, it’s because there are too many dumb people of low moral propensity screwing everything up. Thankfully, the best & brightest vaxxed themselves at alarmingly high rates.

    The only people that had this realm of existence figured-out are the Amish, it’s just too bad they worship a filthy Jew god.

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