Writing Mirror Language

Born an illegitimate child, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) had a genius that spanned art, engineering and science.

He was ambidextrous and liked to draw with his left hand and paint with his right.

Most of his inventions were recorded in his notebooks in mirror script.

Some people have thought that Leonardo da Vinci wrote mirror script to obscure his written thoughts, but using his left hand for writing was probably just more comfortable.

This right brain faculty is in keeping with his artistic and creative abilities as well.

It seems the right brain acknowledges and generates upside down, backwards and mirror forms of information.

Writing and reading foreign vocabulary in upside down or mirror fashion aids retention, because it is thrown to the right brain first (see "Exercise -- Foreign Vocabulary - Upside Down).

Turn any newspaper upside down and practice reading the primary headlines and items in bold print.

Remember, Leonardo obviously was able to read his mirror script as well as write it.

You'll find that it is also easier to render a simple line drawing when the material to copy from is held upside down.

In children, the disorder of the central nervous system called dyslexia often involves a natural inclination to read and write in a reverse order.

Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were both dyslectic.

A University of Wisconsin political professor, Andrew Levine is able to TALK backwards as easily as he does forwards.

With no advance notice, Levine translates each word within 1/10 of a second and can reverse the sound of words in any language spoken to him and llits niatniam eht redro fo eht ecnetnes.

Some children between the ages of 8 and 10 also have this strange ability and can reverse the spoken language, but it seems to be lost later in life.

One university study revealed that 82% of all 5-year olds could easily mirror print, but only 13% of all 7- year olds could do so; and by age 8, the inclination for mirror writing virtually disappeared altogether.

Since dyslectic children are less lateralized (left-right separa- tion of hemispheric brain function) than normal children, they could probably be helped more if they were encouraged to write with both hands instead of with only one hand, thus more properly balancing the hemispheres.

Swimming and other ambidextrous activities have been shown to help dyslectics for this reason.

Read the following paragraph of mirror language as fast as you can 3 times.

On the first time, hold the workbook in your right field of vision; the second time hold it directly in front of you; and the third time hold it in your left field of vision.

Record your time for each reading of the paragraph.

_____ 1st _____ 2nd _____ 3rd Lewis Carroll was ambidextrous and wrote mirror language in his book, "Through The Looking Glass.

" On the stage, John Stone has sometimes demonstrated his skill at writing backwards, mirror images and upside down letters while simultaneously singing a tune.

In the 20's and 30's, Harry Kahne performed on vaudeville doing the same thing, but used both hands simultaneously while talking to the audience and doing 2 separate mathematical calculations all at the same time! When asked how he performed such feats, he replied that practice was the key.

Reading and writing mirror language is primarily a right brain skill.

When you learn to write mirror language, your ability to read mirror language also improves.

To begin writing mirror script, take a piece of chalk in each hand and begin printing the A, B, C's on a blackboard with both hands simultaneously.

At first, put your hands in the center of the board and only watch your right hand while letting your left hand synchronously write the same thing as your right does.

You'll notice a natural inclination of the left hand to write mirror script of whatever the right hand writes.

Practice the A, B, C's in plain block letters at first; then after mastering that, begin practicing in long hand script, lower case letters, then later upper case letters.

Soon you will be able to write only with the left hand in mirror script without the aid of the right hand writing normally.

When you're away from a blackboard, pantomime the procedure with both your hands in front of you in midair.

To assist in the process, visualize yourself writing mirror language and see in your mind's eye how it feels.

After mastering the process on the blackboard, do it with pad and pencil as well.

After mastering the preceding part, read the following paragraph of mirror language in your left field of vision to see if your time is better than your reading time for the first paragraph.

_________ Reading Time