1. jim says

    I knew a guy in high school who could do this just as fast… he explained that he sees the word in his head and reads it backwards.

  2. Rick says

    I can do that, too. Have been able to all my life. If you have the ability, it requires no thought; it is just automatic. You don’t actually “see” the word backwards; you just “hear” it.

    I won the talent show at my graduate school by doing it.

    Extremely rare ability and this girl is the only one I have ever seen who can do it as well as I can.

  3. Paul R says

    I can do this too and always have. It freaks people out. One of favorites is Subaru, which backward is U R a Bus. I think she messed up a few (slightly) near the end, though. But she’s great at it.

    I can say the alphabet backward as quickly as forward, and I speak very quickly.

  4. Linguist says

    I can do this and there are plenty of videos on youtube of this, but she’s not really saying the word backwards in the way that I had hoped (which is phonetically and not graphemically). She seems to be transposing the written word backwards. For example, “wire” (why-ur) is returned as “eriw” (ehr-ew). Actually saying the spoken word backwards would require a reversal of the phonetic components of the word, not the graphemic parts. A reversal of that kind, such as with “wire”, would roughly be returned as “roo-aihw”. Although to be honest I’ve never seen someone who could do THAT in less than 3 seconds, and I’m not sure it’s even possible.

  5. Anon says

    @Rick: actually, I see the words. Hearing has never played into it for me.

    I’ve never met anyone who mentioned having this “skill,” so this post fascinates me.

    I also have a compulsion to make words out of the letters on every license plate I see, in order.

  6. Rick says

    @Linguist I do it phonetically, Linguist. In the talent show I mentioned, we got a reel-to-reel tape recorder and played it in reverse when I was through reading an article “backwards”, reversing both the order of the words AND the pronunciation…..and the crowd erupted into a frenzy when they heard what came back as regular English, albeit with a bit of a strange accent.