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Question about the Cursive "p"


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#1 KCat

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 17:31

I noticed in Antonios' sample and then later on some cursive writing websites that the "p" isn't "closed" as I was taught to do both in school and in italic writing. The shape is still obvious, but I'm not sure I like it. Is this traditional for this style of handwriting and if so, why?

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#2 antoniosz

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 17:44

In traditional ornamental/copperplate script the p is open.
Mine is neither but it is influenced by copperplate. Yes in italic it is closed.
Anyone from France could correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that the open p is the typical way french students have been taught to write "p".
In italic hands "p" is closed.
Look at "penamship" in the photo below which is used without permission from
http://www.zanerian....Flickinger.html
By the way zanerian.com is a must see ;)
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#3 Anne-Sophie

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 22:39

http://www.zanerian....airdLesson3.gif

This link shows the p as it was taught to me at school in France. It has been taught that way since the 19th century.

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#4 KateGladstone

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 20:33

The open-bottomed lower-case "p" indeed does not (as far as I know) appear in any Renaissance Italic handwriting - it does characterize some of the post-Italic cursives (e.g.,m the nineteenth-century examples that others have posted or linked to).
It probably originated in an attempt to make "p" slightly easier to write. To my mind, though, it makes "p" less legible. (Legibility often "trades off" with writing-ease.)
Just possibly, whoever came up with the open-bottomed "p" may have had in mind the open bottoms on the bowls of many capital "P"s right back to the Roman Empire and even earlier (archaic forms of "pi" from Western Greece have the right leg shortened and often curled under, resembling the open bottom on a Roman-era capital "P" but with a much larger opening than the relatively tiny opening in the Roman-era capital "P." Archeologists/paleographers tell us that the Romans and Etruscans probably originally got their version of the alphabet from Western Greece.)

#5 KCat

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 23:24

thanks for the input, everyone. Very interesting to me. Kate, it didn't throw me off too much of course because it was in context but had I seen the letter alone, I'd have had to think about it. So, yes, I think a something is lost in that form.

I've always been fascinated by how words and letter have changed over time. I think it started with my first forays into the volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia which started each letter section with various forms of the letter through history.

In terms of words - it's easy to see how it happens. Example: "Apron" is a distortion of "napron" (as in the "nape" of the neck). A napron -> an apron. With letters, ease/speed of writing seems to be the main driving force.

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