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Top-down and Bottom-up Processes

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Top down processing models suggests that readers when processing a text to understand it, it all begins in their mind with an assumption of what the text mean or a process driven by meaning. Under this model, readers first identify words and letters so that they may confirm the meaning of the statement. In this, the reader move from whole to part of the text and mostly emphasizes on what is brought to the text by the reader. It is also known as whole to part processing model.  On the other side, Bottom-up process of reading is a model that emphasize on the written text, proceeding from part to whole and it is driven by a process hence resulting to meaning of the text. It is also known as part to whole processing model.

In the internet, on September 2003, a linguistic text stormed in inboxes and that the text that can clearly bring out the differences of top-down and bottom-up processes. The paragraph states, Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Ties is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. 

In top down processing model, the expectation and beliefs of a person, in part, they drive the reader in the pattern detection process. For instance if one is expecting to come across a given pattern or meaning, then she or he focuses the attention on finding evidence going in line with that pattern and hence, not only involuntarily processing whatever is viewed but also trying to understand the meaning. From the linguistic paragraph, the first look on the first sentence, a person at once detects the word Cambridge University research hence one make an assumption the whole paragraph is talking about the research done by Cambridge University (Boothe, 1999). 

Still on this top-down processing model, some information is processed while the rest is blocked.  For instance when looking for a word in a text, it is easier to see it than when one just comes past it when taking a glance on a paragraph. People who are good readers, in many times they anticipate what next word they might read which most of the time end up being the word. In many cases top-bottom process may lead to errors. To support the argument from the text, when reading the paragraph, obvious words like in,a, the, at and it are greatly assumed or read with no thought hence they are funneled as they have no great meaning.

While the bottom-up process is taken as a firm serial process or what can be termed as letter by letter visual examination.  Foremost, one recognizes letters’ features, then, he or she links the features to identify letters. He or she goes on and puts together the letters to know the spelling patterns. Combining the patterns makes the reader to identify the word they make and eventually one proceeds to understanding the sentence and paragraph at large. This is the unidentifiable difference of how the mind works when one is reading a text. To support the point from the paragraph, owing that the letters are mixed one first looks the letters in a word and then tries to see the words that the letters can make hence one is able to know the name. Combining the words they give the sentence a meaning and the combination of the sentences makes one know what the paragraph meant. Using a single word from the text, like bcuseae, the only word that start with a b and ends with an e and in between have the other letters is because as analyzed by the mind (Walter, 1999).

Another difference of the two processes is that for bottom-up process, the reader first task is always coding the alphabetical principle that the marks written do represent.  When the code is broken, the meanings of the words end up coming naturally, going in line with the knowledge of words. From the paragraph, if the readers have knowledge of Cambridge University being involved in researches, hence just by seeing the alphabets in the first sentence he or she is able to realize what it means without much struggle. While for top-down process, suggest otherwise as it states reading is not decoding language that is written to spoken language. Moreover it never involves process of every letter and word.

In addition, readers can understand a sentence even though they do not recognize every word. Readers usually use grammatical cues and meanings to realize the unrecognized words.  Supporting this from paragraph, in the sentence ‘The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm’, words total, rest and still are hard to understand at first when reading but after understanding the meaning of the sentence one is able to realize the words.

Lastly, another differentiation of the two is that under top-down process, the main objective oof the reader is to understand the meaning rather than mastering the words in a given text or the sounds relationship in a text. When using this model one is required to use meaning activities instead of having skills to recognize a sequence of words. From the paragraph, when using this model, one tries reading the paragraph not to know which words are being used but to know what the paragraph is all about. Hence one realizes that the paragraph is about a research done by Cambridge University that stated that if both last and first letters of a word are correct, if the other words misplaced, one still knows the word correctly. The paragraph even goes ahead and tries to proof the theory (Conctance, 1990).

While on the other theory of bottom-up, it operates on the canon stating that a written sentence is organized hierarchically. It adds that reading is mandatory, a serial sequence of a letter by letter analysis hence resulting to a clear realization of every word through the process of decoding. The reader first processes the smallest linguistic parts, then he or she joins the small parts to come up with a better comprehendible parts which when joined they result to understanding of the whole text and paragraph.  From the paragraph given, one first understands the words, then the reader goes ahead to put the words in a text together to know what the sentence is all about and then joining of the sentences give the paragraph a meaning (Thomas, 1988).

The two concepts can be demonstrated in an example like, If a prson des nt pt the fast vwel insde a wrd owng tht the frst and the lst ltters of a wrd are crrect, thn the prson cn stll undrstand the wrd if all the othr lttrs are in ordr and evn if ths is rpeated in mny wrds in a gven sntnce the prson cn stll ralise the maning of the sntnce. The example is stating that, if the first and the last letters of a word are correct but the first vowel inside a word is incorrect. The person can still understand the word and the sentence at whole if the other letters in a word are put in the correct way.

The two theories do in a great way contradict and each school of thought have been backed up by theorist that have over the years gone ahead to prove the theories. At the end of the day, the two theories do proof to be right. The only difference that still stands is that they do apply in people differently depending on a persons’ knowledge of words and the reason the person was reading the text.

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