Homeauditory processingBoysenberries, Poisonberries, dbqp…argh.

Yesterday, I happened upon a post about misheard lyrics on Facebook. That’s not uncommon, but in the comments, someone brought up the fact her daughter used to believe boysenberries were actually called poisonberries, and refused to eat them.

I had to laugh, because I thought boysenberries were poisonberries up until I was a teenager. That didn’t stop me from trying them, though. I just figured the odd name referred to the idea the berries might be poisonous to some non-human animal.

For whatever reason, that bit of misunderstanding kept coming back to me throughout the day. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how close the “b” and “p” sounds are. They’re both made by compressing the lips together, but the pressure concentration is just different enough to create that subtly different sound.

It’s not surprising those two sounds are hard to learn, in both creation and deciphering terms.

The written letters are hard on the dyslexic brain, too. Those combined with “d” and “q” are tricky. In an attempt to illustrate how hard it can be to differentiate between d, b, q and p, I created this gif:

(Please only use with permission and link back to this entry)

They look pretty much the same, but with the line oriented differently on the letter’s bubble. I still have problems with them from time to time.

That’s probably why I find it a little easier to write in cursive, especially when no one else is going to read what I jotted down. Letters in print look too similar, but cursive letters are more distinct, and easier to keep track of. Plus, I don’t have to pick my writing utensil up as often.

Yes, I have the handwriting of a child.

Combine that with the similar sounds “b” and “p” make, it’s little wonder words like “boysenberry” and “poisonberry” are so easily confused.

Now, I ask myself, why did I never hesitate to eat something I thought was called “poisonberry”?

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