Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.
(Via Avva, who doesn’t provide a source, but the point is made without one.)
Addendum. Jim at UJG has a post on the subject in which he traces it back to what might be its source; check it out. (He also wrote about it back in May, using a different scrambled text; I don’t know how I missed it!)
Further addendum. A MetaFilter thread on the topic contains a remarkable example of the redundancy of language. The interior letters are not scrambled but completely changed… and yet the paragraph is still readable! Props to duckstab for thinking of it.
Yet another addendum. My record number of hits yesterday apparently came from a mention in a Slashdot post, where you can find further discussion of compression, entropy, and the like, as well as much silliness. (I was amused to see a comment titled “LOL languagehat misspelled iprmoetnt”; apparently Optic7 was under the impression I had written the garbled text myself.) I found out about the /. mention via Jim at UJG, who has a new post with further discussion of the matter.
But wait, there’s more… David Harris did an interesting experiment with this meme, which he describes in a recent post; the comments to the post include translations into French:
Sleon une édtue de l’Uvinertisé de Cmabrigde, l’odrre des ltteers dnas un mtos n’a pas d’ipmrotncae, la suele coshe ipmrotnate est que la pmeirère et la drenèire soit à la bnnoe pclae. Le rsete peut êrte dnas un dsérorde ttoal et vuos puoevz tujoruos lrie snas porlblème. C’est prace que le creaveu hmauin ne lit pas chuaqe ltetre elle-mmêe, mias le mot cmome un tuot.
And Portuguese (via the Merm):
De aorcdo com uma pqsieusa de uma uinrvesriddae ignlsea, não ipomtra em qaul odrem as lrteas de uma plravaa etãso, a úncia csioa iprotmatne é que a piremria e útmlia lrteas etejasm no lgaur crteo. O rseto pdoe ser uma ttaol bçguana que vcoê pdoe anida ler sem pobrlmea. Itso é poqrue nós não lmeos cdaa lrtea isladoa, mas a plravaa cmoo um tdoo.