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For What Is French Ruled Notepaper Used?


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#1 Headache Corporation (TM)

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 19:16

Howdy folks,

This may sound like a dumb question, but I've seen "French Ruled" notebooks before and I'm unsure of how they are supposed to be used. Clairefontaine makes them, of course, and they look almost like a tiny spreadsheet layout, but the spaces are too small to really write in. Is there a special use for these I'm unaware of? Do French school children go off to school with these?

Perhaps some Francophiles on the boards can answer these questions, for which I'm really curious about.

Thank you,
David.


P.S. Pendemonium shows a close-up example of "French Rule" on their web page for Clairefontaine, if you scroll down a bit:

http://www.pendemoni...#clairefontaine


No affiliation, of course.

[edited for typo]

Edited by Headache Corporation (TM), 21 April 2007 - 19:18.


#2 Headache Corporation (TM)

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 19:22

And how come this new software won't let me capitalize "French" in the title? unsure.gif

#3 antigone

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 20:23

AFAIK its just regular writing paper. I'm using it for note taking, writing on every second line. It looks very neat, go and try it!

#4 Titivillus

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 22:03

QUOTE(Headache Corporation (TM) @ Apr 21 2007, 02:22 PM) View Post
And how come this new software won't let me capitalize "French" in the title? unsure.gif



I just did a test thread and French can be capitalized rolleyes.gif so I edited the topic title to show both capitals.


Kurt

Edited by Tytyvyllus, 21 April 2007 - 22:05.


#5 Headache Corporation (TM)

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 05:13

QUOTE(Tytyvyllus @ Apr 21 2007, 10:03 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Headache Corporation (TM) @ Apr 21 2007, 02:22 PM) View Post
And how come this new software won't let me capitalize "French" in the title? unsure.gif



I just did a test thread and French can be capitalized rolleyes.gif so I edited the topic title to show both capitals.


Kurt



Thanks Tytyvyllus! I tried it 3 times and it wouldn't stick. Not exactly a NooB; I don't know what was going on with that. doh.gif I just didn't want to offend anyone's national identity, especially since the French make such lovely paper.

#6 inkysmudges

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 06:22

smile.gif Antigone is correct, it's what the French use as regular notepaper. At certain times of year, especially when kids are starting the school year or coming back from one of the vacations, it's almost impossible to find "regular" ruled paper like we use in North America.

We once asked about it and the sales person said that "only Americans" use lined paper, that the French use the grid paper in school and for them from then on it's "normal" paper. Clearly this person was somewhat prone to over-generalizations but the point remains that for the French the "grid" paper is the norm.

#7 antigone

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 12:45

I've also read french kids'd write in purple ink (think I read it somewhere on J. Herbin's HP?) or that they used to write in purple in Napoleon's times... maybe inkysmudges or some french forum member can confirm this?
France looks like a real fun place to go to school at laugh.gif

#8 inkysmudges

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 13:13

I don't know what they do these days but I've seen French kid's schoolbooks from the 50s and indeed, they used the deepest purple ink I've ever seen. Of course it may have deepened colour over the years but, wow, nice ink!

Also, FWIW, back in those days they used dip pens. Their handwriting skills were compulsory and was really quite something. From what we've been able to gather public school for the French is a lot more like what North Americans would expect from a private school education: strict, thorough, disciplinarian and, generally it seems, rather traumatic.

These days the school supplies stores carry literally hundreds of different FP styles, most less than $20.

#9 jm_meessen

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 18:54

QUOTE(inkysmudges @ Apr 22 2007, 06:22 AM) View Post
smile.gif ... but the point remains that for the French the "grid" paper is the norm.


I think it comes that since the third republic, the french school system is mainly governement run ("cole publique"), so the paper (and ink) was supplied for and standardized (part of the century long french uniformization effort). The format was probably designed to help pupils to learn to write. It is also called Sys (maybe the name of the inventor or the minister that imposed it). It is also the same reason why also traditional french school ink has this particular colour. And as every kid in France used it in school they continue to use it later. And passed from generation to generation

Note that school ruling to learn to write is different (but always widely distributed) in Belgium or Germany.

Jmm

#10 jm_meessen

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 20:20

Additional information:
The format of the so-called french ruling was patented in 1892 by a book/stationary seller of the city of Pontoise and taken as standard for french schools.

For more information see this document (sorry in french) http://www.inrp.fr/i...ue_alphabet.pdf

Jmm


#11 inkysmudges

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 22:27

Great info JM, thank you.

#12 HDoug

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 23:19

QUOTE(jm_meessen @ Apr 23 2007, 08:54 AM) View Post
QUOTE(inkysmudges @ Apr 22 2007, 06:22 AM) View Post
smile.gif ... but the point remains that for the French the "grid" paper is the norm.


I think it comes that since the third republic, the french school system is mainly governement run ("cole publique"), so the paper (and ink) was supplied for and standardized (part of the century long french uniformization effort). The format was probably designed to help pupils to learn to write. It is also called Sys (maybe the name of the inventor or the minister that imposed it). It is also the same reason why also traditional french school ink has this particular colour. And as every kid in France used it in school they continue to use it later. And passed from generation to generation

Note that school ruling to learn to write is different (but always widely distributed) in Belgium or Germany.

Jmm


Thanks for the link! It has such wonderful historical and contemporary examples of handwriting in it that I saved the document.

Also, I wanted to mention that I recall seeing someone posting examples of how "French ruling" actually is used -- I though it was a posting by our own JJ Harvey -- but I couldn't find it. I'll post a link if I find it...

Doug


#13 inkysmudges

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 23:39

It's not uncommon for some shop owners in Paris, particularly those who have specialty boutiques, to include a bit of history about themselves in their shop windows, including their school books!

There's one place in particular that I'm thinking of where his 6th or (8th?) grade schoolbooks have been in the sun long enough that the ink of the grids has almost completely faded away but the writing ink remains strong and colourful. And very nice handwriting it is too, quite like that shown in JM's pdf link.

If the opportunity presents itself I'll take a pic of M. Chaudun's window display and post it here.

edit: spelling.

Edited by inkysmudges, 23 April 2007 - 23:40.


#14 N. McKay

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:01

It's an interesting pattern -- almost like having tab stops on your writing paper.

#15 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 14:05

QUOTE(N. McKay @ Apr 23 2007, 09:01 PM) View Post
It's an interesting pattern -- almost like having tab stops on your writing paper.


This is exactly what the vertical lines are used for.


In France, there are rules on how to write an essay, not only about style but also form.


Introduction, Conclusion and main paragraph are supposed to be indented almost at the middle of the page.
Two lines or one line need to be left blank between those 3 parts.
Subparagraphs need to be indented as well.


The horizontal lines are handwriting guides, minuscules (regular letters) must be the size of the space between the first dark blue and the first light blue line. b,d,l,h must stop at the second light blue line, and g,q,j must stop at the second light blue line under the dark blue line.

Majuscules (capital letters) stop at the third light blue line.

Seyes ruling with Herbin either Violette Pensee or Poussiere de Lune was used by children and people until the mid 50's.


At that time, the Bic started to replace fountain pen writing for business purpose, it probably had a lot to do with carbon copies.
In France, most ballpoints, but the yellow and clear Bic, used to be refillable. Parker had a nice market for it's Jotter, the prefered pen/pencil set gift, especially for women.


Waterman Florida Blue and all other erasable blue inks were used in school when the ink eradicator was introduced to the marketplace in the late 60's, early 70's.

In class, we were not allowed to switch from Bic to fountain pen until we were in the 5th grade but I used my first fountain pen in the 4th grade. I could not believe the difference a smooth writing fountain pen with a comfortable girth could make.


My handwriting has always been bigger than the "normal" french handwriting and I always threw the size convention out the window, especially when I had to transcribe a 4 to 6 pages essay, between midnite and 1am, due the next day.

Edited by Anne-Sophie, 09 May 2007 - 17:29.

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#16 Elaine

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 14:29

Thanks Anne-Sophie! That's the info I've been looking for. Ok, so what are the spaces at the top and bottom used for? (the ones without horizontal lines). Are they just margins? They make me want to do some kind of chart biggrin.gif



#17 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 17:23

QUOTE(Elaine @ May 9 2007, 10:29 AM) View Post
Thanks Anne-Sophie! That's the info I've been looking for. Ok, so what are the spaces at the top and bottom used for? (the ones without horizontal lines). Are they just margins? They make me want to do some kind of chart biggrin.gif



I refer to those as "fear" margins.


The top right or left was/is used to mark the essay or test. The margins was/is used for the teacher's comments, all in red or bright ink.

The more comments and editorial signs the lower the grade and the more chance I had to get grounded which meant, no TV, no French Pastries and no allowance but plenty of extra math lessons and chores on my list hence "the fear margin".

LoL


In history lessons we were allowed to use the margin and a double A4 page to make timelines.

I believe the upper margins were used for time and the left margin for events, king's names, inventions, artists and cultural name of the era.

Spreadsheet like documents such as the one above for history was also used in geography, history of litterature or civic studies.


In high school, all mathematical graphs were done on graph paper that looked like velum.

Geometry classes, in the lower grades, were written with square patterned paper from a Rhodia Pad.

We used the square to draw geometric figures and to cut them out to form cubes, cones etc...

Because Rhodia paper was so expensive, I tried to find a cheaper square lined paper, to no avail.
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#18 Elaine

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 20:35

Wow, thank you Anne-Sophie. It's great to get a glimpse at another culture's schooling.

#19 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 02:07

QUOTE(Elaine @ May 9 2007, 04:35 PM) View Post
Wow, thank you Anne-Sophie. It's great to get a glimpse at another culture's schooling.


Believe me you only want a glimpse smile.gif

The good thing about all those rules is that it forms your mind to find a way to break them.

For example, I brought a multicolor ballpoint (similar to one that is available at The Container Store) to class.
It was, of course, strictly forbiden, we were only allowed to write in those ugly thin yellow Bic and in blue.

The teacher almost took it but I talked her out of it by blushing, putting my head down and say I'm sorry.

At lunch, my pen was back home and the very same evening I did my homework with the gorgeous Poussiere de Lune color, a nice bordeaux.

The next day, the teacher was not happy when she was correcting my homework but she could not press the subject too much because burgundy, nor other bright color were, in theory, forbidden.

Red, the teacher correcting color was the forbidden color.
Is it fair for an intelligent and family oriented mammal to be separated from his/her family and spend his/her life starved in a concrete jail?

#20 adair

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 03:21

This has been a fascinating thread. Thanks, Anne-Sophie! I know that Clairfontaine makes notebooks that are French ruled, but what about pads or loose paper thus ruled? I haven't seen it on any website. French ruled certainly improves handwriting and creates a very classical-looking regularity.

#21 antigone

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:48

Wow, Anne-Sophie, I didn't know that nice french stationery came at such a high price. Sounds like hell to me sad.gif
And I can't believe how different that school system is though its just a bunch of kilometers away from wher I went to school. Has french government never debated about changing the educational system? I know, german pupils are not known to be the best educated kids in the world, but at least they are not the unhappiest mellow.gif

#22 adair

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 12:39

Actually, I am very impressed by the French and German school systems, compared to ours here in the USA. I will never forget visiting a German classroom equivalent to one of junior high school levels. Every student had their orderly pen and pencil case, full of sharp pencils for both writing and drawing and either a Geha or a Pelikan fountain pen. Each also had their neat pile of graph paper. No cries of "I don't have a pencil!" or "Can I have some paper?" that one hears every day in an American classroom. Everyone was prepared.

#23 Headache Corporation (TM)

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 02:14

Anne-Sophie,

Thank you very much for your insights. Your answer was really what I was looking for when I started the thread, except that I wasn't sure that kind of answer existed. It seemed as if there would HAVE TO BE some kind of system to using all those lines.

My hat's off to you! happyberet.gif

-David.

#24 Nibble

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 13:28

What a very interesting thread. I feel it should be an entry on Wikipedia, though I am much too stupid to know how to do such a thing.

I must go to Paris and buy some of this paper. (Perhaps I will become a French Intellectual. No, I think it takes more than that... )

Thank you, Anne-Sophie.

Posted Image


#25 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 19:31

QUOTE(adair @ May 9 2007, 11:21 PM) View Post
This has been a fascinating thread. Thanks, Anne-Sophie! I know that Clairfontaine makes notebooks that are French ruled, but what about pads or loose paper thus ruled? I haven't seen it on any website. French ruled certainly improves handwriting and creates a very classical-looking regularity.


I don't know where you are from, but in the USA, I cannot find any loose paper which is Seyes ruled. You have to make your own with your printer and the template provided in a link given by a fellow FPN member.


http://www.fountainp...p?showtopic=792



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#26 adair

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 19:44


I don't know where you are from, but in the USA, I cannot find any loose paper which is Seyes ruled. You have to make your own with your printer and the template provided in a link given by a fellow FPN member.


Thank you so much, Anne-Sophie. I am also in the USA. Thanks to your posts, I have ordered a Clairefontaine notebook French Ruled from Daily Planner (the old Lincoln Stationers) and have already followed your link and printed out several French Ruled loose-leaf sheets. For now, my handwriting has been slowed down by trying to keep all of the correct proportions. With practice, it should become more natural. I love the neatness and regularity that is achieved with this paper! I'm beginning to like it even more than gridded paper. Too bad that neither Clairefontaine nor Rhodia produce a whole pad of this format. Wouldn't it also be something if we could convince Moleskine to bring out a French Ruled notebook or Cahier? Many thanks again for your richly informative posts.

#27 DarkskyZ

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 10:52

Hello,

As I am French myself happyberet.gif and recently working my penmanship back to what it was in primary school, I thought I may jump in and add some explanation on how to use "Sys" i.e. French ruling.

The main idea as you undestood from what Nibble said before is that you are supposed to base your letters on the bold lines.

Then the thin lines may (must ?) be used as a guidance to form your letters as follows
- Capital letters are supposed to be 3 thin line high and 2 thin lines below for lower loops if any.
- Lower case letters
* main part is supposed to be written between the base bold line and the first thin line up.
* upper loops are to be made up to the third thin line up
* upper strokes are made up to the second thin line up.
* lower loops and lower stokes (as in "p") are made dow to the second thin line down

I understand that reading all this is somewhat difficult so here is what it should look like :




This is just how I was taught penmanship back in the early 80's here in France. And as was said before, "Sys" ruled paper is still the paper you find the most easily anywhere in the country nowadays !

Hope this helps.

Excuse my French...ness :)
Here in France we are surrounded by Clairefontaine but not a single dealer has ever heard about Noodler's so :
Would trade Clairefontaine for Noodler's (France to US trade, sort of...). If interested, please PM me.

#28 antigone

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 07:59

eureka.gif
Thats exactly how I learned to write cursive in first grade!

But in german primary schools the ruling changes every year. We have four lines in the first grade (like the sys ruling, only that all lines are equally bold) with a little more space between the lines:
The second grade copybooks have also four lines per line, only more narrow. In third grade you get to write on two lines:
and in grade four you eventually learn to write on a single line.
Do american and french school kids write on the same ruling all the years?

#29 JohnS-MI

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 15:47

QUOTE(antigone @ May 14 2007, 03:59 AM) View Post
Do american and french school kids write on the same ruling all the years?


I might not be the best person to answer for American kids, as my "kids" are adults now.

In the early grades, the paper is turned landscape (sideways) and ruled with a rather wide rule, but I don't have the dimension. Also there is a dotted (or faint) centerline between baselines. It is the height used for body characters with no ascenders, c, e, m, etc. Ascenders and descenders are midway to the appropriate centerline or baseline, by eye, no line for guidance.

Later, they use paper in normal portrait orientation with only baselines ruled. Normally a wide rule is used in elementary grades. In high school and beyond, people would use a narrow or wide rule according to preference, where a narrow rule is about 0.25" or 6 mm. Various wider rules exist, 0.375", 8 mm, or 9 mm, based on brand and country of origin. One popular brand, Ampad, offers three rules, narrow, 1/4"; college 9/32"; and wide, 11/32" (6.3 mm, 7.1 mm, 8.7 mm).


#30 rosarosam

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 06:06

And the left hand of the paper, before the red line, is where the teacher was writing the nasty things she had to say about my bad English...