End of Cursive?

John Scalzi “reported a little while back”:http://journals.aol.com/johnmscalzi/bytheway/entries/2006/10/11/cursive–doomed/6600 that, according to an MSN article (which is no longer available online, it seems), cursive handwriting is on its way out the door. While I can’t say as I’m overly surprised by this news, I do think it’s unfortunate. It could be the artsy-fartsy part of me, but I think there is a certain value to be found in being able to write by hand — and to be able to do so legibly. Printing your letters is all well and good; cursive is much faster. I have vague recollections of handwriting classes in the first and second grade, and I remember being ecstatic about learning how to finally write those mysterious letters I’d seen my parents use time and again that I (badly) tried to imitate. Later, when I was older, I found that cursive was a much faster way to write things down and that I actually had (and still have) rather nice penmanship.

Of course, the irony is that now that I’ve become more of a writer, handwriting is no longer practical for me. My brain rushes on much faster than my hand can keep up. I’ve noticed on multiple occasions that when I’m handwriting a long narrative, words and phrases just mysteriously drop off the page, sometimes making it difficult to figure out during the revision process what it was I had _intended_ to say. I type very quickly, and it is the only saving grace I have to make sure that my thoughts make it down to the printed page relatively intact.

With the advent of the computer, Blackberries, and text messaging, it’s no wonder that handwriting skills are flying the coop. We live in a digital age, where most forms of communication now speed along electric wires in the blink of an eye. There’s less need of handwriting in today’s technological world. And the bookworm in me thinks this is both sad and unfortunate.

One thought on “End of Cursive?”

  1. Actually, recent research into handwriting has shown that the fastest and most legible handwriters don’t use either printing or cursive. Highest-speed, highest-legibility handwriters tend to join some (not all) of their letters — making only the easiest joins, and skipping the harder joins — and to use only/predominantly print-like (not cursive) letter-shapes. The results resemble a hybrid of printing and cursive, often slanting a bit but otherwise taking more after Poppa Print than Momma Cursive. This way of writing also looks very much like the Italic handwriting used in Europe’s first published handwriting textbooks (during the Italian Renaissance), which some handwriting instruction specialists including me have revived today as a probably better way to write and to teach handwriting —

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