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Print or Cursive

September 24, 2009

I recently read an article about cursive writing becoming a lost art. The piece began with a mother being a bit panicked because her eighth grade daughters cursive wasn’t up to high standards. Thanks to computers, practicing hours of cursive writing isn’t as much of a priority anymore. Question is: is it something to really be panicked about?

Since learning to write cursive in either 2nd or 3rd grade, I haven’t really used it much. Few teachers ever required me to write with joined letters. Therefore, I mostly printed and still do though sometimes I do a cursive/print hybrid thing.

I don’t think this is a new fear and I don’t think it’s one that will go away anytime soon. With the invention of the typewriter, people believed the same thing. Will the gift of cursive writing become a thing of the past like writing by candlelight? Will we be too wrapped up in technology that we forget what it even looks like? Look at handwritten historical documents like they are written in some alien language?

People still find reasons to write whether it be their signature or scribble notes. I don’t think there is anything to be panicked about. But I wonder. Do you write in cursive or print?

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Andrea has been a regular writer at Write Anything for a little over three years. When she isn’t discussing the lost arts, she can be found at either SOUTHern WRITEmares or Ghost Stories.
9 Comments
  1. September 24, 2009 4:30 am

    Cursive AND printing are getting left behind. They only teach that hybrid style “handwriting” which is actually Denelian style (no idea how it’s spelled and can’t be bothered to look it up).

    The schools here no longer teach printing or cursive.

    I mostly print. I was once told that printing and cursive use two different sections of the brain and are good for kids to develop their (writing) motor skills.

    My kids don’t even recognize cursive when they see it!

  2. September 24, 2009 4:43 am

    I’m looking in vain for your arguments to justify your claim that it’s nothing to panic over. Surely, you’re not trying to justify this by the mere fact that it’s not an old fear, or that it will not go away sometime soon. That would mean any fear others have had in the (distant or not) past or are likely to have in the future are false fears. In addition, the comparison with writing (or not) by candlelight is a false one. The lighting people used has nothing to do with the way they write or wrote. It seems to me your premise may be write but you have failed to make a convincing argument for it.

  3. September 24, 2009 5:51 am

    I write something that resembles D’Nealian (although it was never called that when I was being taught, and most of the joins I “invented” myself) when I’m writing for myself.

    When I want others to read what I’m writing, it’s usually a hybrid of D’Nealia and “school” cursive – the letters become rounder, some of the clumsier joins are dropped.

    But when I wan someone to be absolutely certain of something (spelling, etc) then I print.

    I briefly looked up some examples of these hands, and my own letter forms don’t resemble them, particularly capital A and the lower case r, s and z, which all look more like the Helvetica font versions.

    In the UK, we were just taught “handwriting” without any technical terms for the styles, and I wonder if even the teachers know the difference anymore – there’s less emphasis on creating a uniform style for all, and more on the general mechanics and letting each child discover their own personal hand.

  4. September 24, 2009 10:42 am

    Cursive is faster than print, because you don’t have to lift the pen/pencil off the paper between letters. When I take notes for myself I use cursive. Unfortunately no-one else can read my cursive, so if I’m writing a note for someone else I print.

    My problem now is that I actually type faster than I write (even in cursive), so I get impatient and try to write faster– which makes it even less legible…

    It does take longer to learn to write a legible and efficient cursive than it does to learn to print. For that reason I suspect cursive will soon (if not already) be a casualty. I can’t say I see a big downside to that, though.

  5. September 24, 2009 11:05 am

    We were taught to write in Calligraphy from first grade to seventh, using a fountain pen no less, and all throughout high school, cursive was the preferred way to write, so my classmates and I are used to it. Nowadays, I write with a mix of cursive and print. It’s still pretty much similar to how I used to write when I was younger, but many have complained that it’s too small. :p

    I like writing on paper. I love the feel of the pen on paper and for me, it allows for more freedom (to some degree) as opposed to using a computer.

  6. September 24, 2009 12:23 pm

    I write in both. The years that I learned cursive I was being educated in a good private school, and my cursive looks like script (while my print is a bit childish). Anytime I want to impress, write a heading, or dally on a note, it’ll go to cursive.

    Then again, I also taught myself to write legibly with my left hand because I was bored in high school science. Cursive may or may not be practical, but it’s certainly pretty.

  7. September 24, 2009 12:34 pm

    I use both, I guess. Some kind of hybrid text. A connected print. My written text consists mostly of joined-print letters with the letters r, s, and z almost always in cursive form.

  8. Rachel permalink
    September 24, 2009 5:38 pm

    I use a mixture myself. It’s primarily print but a lot of the letters look joined. Personally, I don’t see why cursive is necessary because I can’t read a lot of other people’s cursive. I still prefer hand writing to typing, but that’s more the texture of it than readibility, creativity, or anything else you can think of.

  9. Dave permalink
    September 24, 2009 6:10 pm

    I write in cursive and have been since 2nd grade. I find it to be more efficient than print. Cursive writing also looks great, so it’s sad to see it dying.

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