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Cursive
Posted: 09 July 2013 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Recently, I was told that elementary school age kids are not really being taught cursive anymore in public school.  Searching around online, there’s plenty of banter about it. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-04/local/38274984_1_cursive-students-districts

FWIW, I was taught to write cursive in second or third grade, but it wasn’t emphasized, and even today I have difficulty with it - although it has not hindered me professionally.

Do you think learning cursive matters, does good handwriting in general matter in today’s world? Or is worrying about handwriting just Bourgeoisie behavior?

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Posted: 09 July 2013 04:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Do you think learning cursive matters, does good handwriting in general matter in today’s world? Or is worrying about handwriting just Bourgeoisie behavior?


Cursive writing has largely been replaced by keyboard classes. I predict that within the next decade, if the trend continues we will switch to the electronic media for communication, e.g. The iPad I’m using now has a notepad and I have used it before at recent workshops. I still bring a writing pad but my handwriting is so atrocious even I can barely read it. Our parents (now called the Greatest Generation or the Depression kids) took handwriting classes while their parents learned Spencerian Script, the 19th Century form of writing with a flourish. Beyond the elementary grades NO writing classes are now taught. Instead kids are learning to type and communicate on PCs. Our grandaughter learned basic keyboarding in kindergarten and now schools my mother on her kindle fire. Ironic.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Does anyone know about the origins of cursive?  It always seemed to me to be about speed, as it can be faster than printing, and probably as a way to minimize ink splotches when using a quill pen, but since the keyboard eliminates those issues it may now be archaic.  It isn’t often used as a decorative script, so I’d guess most people are not taken by it esthetics.  I know there are claims that the method of written communication an individual uses may affect how their brain works, but I haven’t heard that claim made either.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The article focuses on the ability to read historical documents written in antiquated script but students of history can teach themselves to read these forms without the ability to write cursive. Working with these documents, you pick up the style of writing as well as the syntax, e.g. 18th Century writing uses the F and the S with very subtle strokes. The F looks like an s with a line through the middle. Look at a violin (fiddle) and the two holes on the body are called F holes. So I don’t foresee researchers struggling with say the Constitution, written in 18th Century script, having a problem translating it into typed print. I have several examples of ephemera from the Renaissance through the 20th Century and have had no problem with translation, if it’s legible that is!


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Posted: 09 July 2013 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Do you think learning cursive matters….

Nope. Languages, styles and expressions evolve get better or get replaced and go extinct all the time. I’m sure some people were predicting the end of the world when Egyptian hieroglyphics went out of style, but the world went on fine without it.

does good handwriting in general matter in today’s world?

Yes, but the style is not anywhere near as important as legibility is. The idea is to communicate. So long as everybody is on the same page, I’m not worried about the style.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 09 July 2013 02:24 PM

Do you think learning cursive matters….

Nope. Languages, styles and expressions evolve get better or get replaced and go extinct all the time. I’m sure some people were predicting the end of the world when Egyptian hieroglyphics went out of style, but the world went on fine without it.

does good handwriting in general matter in today’s world?

Yes, but the style is not anywhere near as important as legibility is. The idea is to communicate. So long as everybody is on the same page, I’m not worried about the style.

Well put.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Aside from signing my name, I don’t think I can even write cursive anymore.  I have to sit and think about it for a while before I can remember how to write half the letters and even then I still can’t get some of them right.  I haven’t used cursive in twenty years.  I don’t know anyone that does.  Block letters are just easier and faster.

EDIT
Fixed a typo.

[ Edited: 11 July 2013 07:37 AM by Dead Monky ]
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Posted: 10 July 2013 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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mid atlantic - 09 July 2013 03:16 AM

Do you think learning cursive matters, does good handwriting in general matter in today’s world? Or is worrying about handwriting just Bourgeoisie behavior?

I still can and sometimes do write using cursive, and I also taught my boys. I don’t think it matters at all what we use in the end, but I can tell a lot about people by looking at their handwriting. I’ve noticed that women in general have much nicer handwriting, and I speculate it’s because they communicate a lot more than men, even in writing.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Not directly related, but on a recent podcast, Neil deGrasse-Tyson mentioned that he noticed that the words in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address naturally tended to group themselves in 5-7 word phrases, that 5-7 items are what its easiest for humans to hold in their mind at one time, and that 5-7 words are about the amount of ink a quill pen can hold before it runs out of ink.  He says that any time he has to write an important speech, he uses a quill pen to write it because of that.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 10:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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George - 10 July 2013 10:34 AM

but I can tell a lot about people by looking at their handwriting.

What are some things you can tell about a person from their handwriting? I’ve read that some diseases can be detected through handwriting deterioration, but that’s about it.

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Posted: 11 July 2013 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Well, I like cursive even though as a left hander, I had trouble with ink smears (that was before ball points).  While I can type well, I find that when I’m composing a paper or a letter, I do better hand writing it so I can move or change words and sentences and add new thoughts. 

However, I now understand something that has bothered me for the last few decades.  Many people’s signatures are beyond illegible; there’s no pretext of using any of the twenty-six letters in them.  They could just as easily dip a cockroach’s rear in ink then let it run around on the paper.

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Posted: 12 July 2013 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I believe teaching cursive in school is a pointless waste of time and effort. I think it’s reached the point of being a form of calligraphy—fine as a form of artistic expression for those who enjoy it, but not a skill everybody should be required to learn. Havent’ written in cursive in decades since for me printing is far more legible and not significantly slower, and of course the majority of my written communication is typed anyway.

Interestingly, some people seem to have strong feelings about this. I expressed my thoughts on the subject with some of the other parents at my daughter’s school when cursive was being itnroduced, and the outrage and indignation was amazing. We can have long debates about the latest research on the merits of homework as a taching tool but apparently fancy quill pen writing is off limits! grin

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Posted: 13 July 2013 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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A spellchecking pen that encourages folks to write in cursive (as well as legibly)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10175752/Digital-pen-spell-checks-handwritten-notes-as-you-write.html

The Lernstift pen could make simple spelling and gramatical errors a thing of the past by gently vibrating when the writer spells a word incorrectly or writes illegibly.

The device uses fully built-in handwriting recognition technology and software, and can process written text and detect errors in English and German as a user writes. Whereas other current pens rely on optical sensors to detect the writing movements of the user and digitise the words or sketches for uploading to a computer, or specialist paper or external devices, the Lernstift requires no additional connection to function.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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mckenzievmd - 12 July 2013 12:05 PM

I believe teaching cursive in school is a pointless waste of time and effort. I think it’s reached the point of being a form of calligraphy—fine as a form of artistic expression for those who enjoy it, but not a skill everybody should be required to learn. Havent’ written in cursive in decades since for me printing is far more legible and not significantly slower, and of course the majority of my written communication is typed anyway.

Interestingly, some people seem to have strong feelings about this. I expressed my thoughts on the subject with some of the other parents at my daughter’s school when cursive was being itnroduced, and the outrage and indignation was amazing. We can have long debates about the latest research on the merits of homework as a taching tool but apparently fancy quill pen writing is off limits! grin

I don’t kmow how people get along in daily life without writing cursive. Doesn’t anyone write notes, even to him/herself? Never write a few lines on a greeting card?

As a journalist I took notes constantly in my own style of quick cursive.  I still get notes written cursive from other people.  If it’s going out of style I haven’t noticed.  When I see a note in block printing it makes me wonder if the writer is completely literate.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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mid atlantic - 10 July 2013 10:35 PM
George - 10 July 2013 10:34 AM

but I can tell a lot about people by looking at their handwriting.

What are some things you can tell about a person from their handwriting? I’ve read that some diseases can be detected through handwriting deterioration, but that’s about it.

I can probably tell if you are a man of woman, what continent you grew up on, if you are an extrovert or introvert, and maybe even your taste and level of creativity. I’ve noticed that judging once’s intelligence and age from a person’s handwriting is a lot less accurate that would seem.

I disagree with Lois that people who write in cursive are “more literate” than those who write using print. People who write in cursive are often people who write more (e.g., women). The reason is simply that one can write a lot faster in cursive than in print. When writting in cursive, we don’t lift up the pen nearly as often as when we’re using print. But you have to be skillful in both techniques to be able to tell the difference, which I am.

[ Edited: 15 July 2013 05:49 AM by George ]
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Posted: 15 July 2013 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’ve also noticed that many people in North America band their index and middle fingers when they write. Not sure where that came from.

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