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What Happened To Handwriting?

antique elderly handwriting cursive

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50 replies to this topic

#21 beak

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:08

.............................. Feeling lonesome, good manners left soon after.

Well,

yes,

and no;

 

I have been gob-smacked many times recently by young people showing great consideration and politeness to strangers in the street.  So much so, that it has begun to make me wonder if the tide may be turning once more.  One can well see that anyone of any perception will soon be sated with the 'me me me me me' approach to life, which underpins the bad behaviour of many youngsters. 

 

The realization that a little effort can bring great rewards may be occurring to more and more of the next generation.  One can hope.


Edited by beak, 23 February 2014 - 11:08.

Sincerely, beak. God does not work in mysterious ways – he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.

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#22 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:18

Well,

yes,

and no;

 

I have been gob-smacked many times recently by young people showing great consideration and politeness to strangers in the street.  So much so, that it has begun to make me wonder if the tide may be turning once more.  One can well see that anyone of any perception will soon be sated with the 'me me me me me' approach to life, which underpins the bad behaviour of many youngsters. 

 

The realization that a little effort can bring great rewards may be occurring to more and more of the next generation.  One can hope.

 

Can it be that the 'young generation' is diversifying in that particular matter? Maybe the curve is no longer bell but two peaks at opposite ends. (Unfortunately, in regards to handwriting, I've yet to see this happen...)


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#23 Apprenti

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 13:29

As a member of that 'younger generation' I often get complimented on manners. This is all well and good but it's kind of sad that we've got to the stage where good manners and chivalry are uncommon. In some ways I miss the days where swearing/cursing was considered an outrage, but then again, in those days, there was racism and persecution (at least more so than nowadays).

Man is always going to feel the desire to be independent, and most will yield to the temptation of sin. I don't think behaviour now is any worse to how it's ever been, just different.

Thanks,
Joe

Edited by Apprenti, 23 February 2014 - 13:29.


#24 PaperDarts

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 15:17

It's a generation thing. Handwriting isn't taught as much now, and because it's not used much in communication between people it is less valued. You can be a superior student of exemplary character with the handwriting of a mentally deficient criminal. In former times a superior student would have to have good handwriting. 

I'm an old guy but had very crappy handwriting in my youth. The handwriting thing is a fairly recent skills acquisition project. 

 

Doug

 

This says it for me too. Not that long ago, handwriting was the most common way to get words down on paper -  typewriters were certainly around long before my generation but not common household objects for most people. 

 

Everyone was taught penmanship when I was in primary grades, but some people never did acquire a legible hand - my dad is one of them, and not for lack of trying. Likely he was forced to hold a pen in a certain way that didn't work for him. Now he just taps away on his iPad mini and we're all happier for it.

 

Personally, I think the instrument you use affects handwriting too. When I use a ballpoint pen my writing is much less legible than with a fountain pen. Having to press that hard changes the way I write. I know people who are recent converts to FPs and they've commented on the improvement in their handwriting.

 

But HDoug, it's very difficult to believe that your handwriting was ever "crappy"!  :)


"Life would split asunder without letters." Virginia Woolf

#25 Mickey

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 16:49

As a member of that 'younger generation' I often get complimented on manners. This is all well and good but it's kind of sad that we've got to the stage where good manners and chivalry are uncommon. In some ways I miss the days where swearing/cursing was considered an outrage, but then again, in those days, there was racism and persecution (at least more so than nowadays).

Man is always going to feel the desire to be independent, and most will yield to the temptation of sin. I don't think behaviour now is any worse to how it's ever been, just different.

Thanks,
Joe

 

I think you've hit it on the head regarding manners. Society is becoming generally more coarse. I would only disagree regarding the racism and persecution. I don't see anything different in the degree of racism today, only in the manner in which it manifests. The underlying problems persist for well understood reasons. (Long discussion not possible on this board.)


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#26 Just I

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 21:05

 

Personally, I think the instrument you use affects handwriting too. When I use a ballpoint pen my writing is much less legible than with a fountain pen. Having to press that hard changes the way I write. I know people who are recent converts to FPs and they've commented on the improvement in their handwriting.

 

I definitely agree that the instrument affect the handwriting. Part of the reason I am so much happier with fountain pens is their size - with bigger hands, they fit better and I don't have to scrunch my hand up. Between that and better flow, a more relaxed grip makes for better handwriting. 

 

I will say that I am also the type of person who has for various reasons, worked to change the look of my handwriting when I was younger. I would practice making my handwriting slant differently, have different shapes or be smaller or larger - just for fun. When I got into working on the computer, I don't think I wrote more than a line or two at a time for years. I am once again working to change my handwriting. While I find some of the classic scripts to be very beautiful, I want my handwriting to be unique to me. 



#27 cellmatrix

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 21:26

Well,

yes,

and no;

 

I have been gob-smacked many times recently by young people showing great consideration and politeness to strangers in the street. 

I've had that experience too, in fact very often when I over generalize particular groups or classes of people, reality steps in and teaches me something. Its refreshing actually.   :)


Edited by cellmatrix, 24 February 2014 - 02:13.


#28 rain

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:13

My grandfathers were both tradies. Everything handwritten I have from them is in a really blocky all-capitals script. I'm sure they both learned a particular hand in school but obviously felt that capitals made more sense at some point. 

 

I don't have anything handwritten from one grandmother (she was a nurse), but the other (a factory worker) had uneven, mixed-up lowercase and capitals most of the time, or a somewhat spindly angled print-type hand when she put in an effort.

 

None of them had the explanation of arthritis or anything else (fortunately) and I'm sure all of them would have been taught some kind of penmanship.

 

So, what happened?

 

Well, I don't think it's generational.

 

As for myself, I think my handwriting began to degrade very soon after I took a class in shorthand.


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#29 EpicDragon7

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 13:44

I think there are a lot of factors, I will go through them one by one

 

1. Computer age. I learned to type (on an old Commodore 64) at home right at the time I was learning the alphabet, and long before I learned cursive, and during middle school and high school, every bit of writing was typed. I also do not type te standard way at all. I developed my on style long before any keyboarding class (first one in 7th grade) and am just as fast with one hand as with two on the keyboard.

2. I was never taught really how to write properly, only how the letters should look. nothing about proper grip or posture, and always with small diameter bic sticks and pencils that I had a hard time gripping. My hands would get wore out very quickly due to the tight grip required. this was remedied bu middle school with larger diameter mechanical pencils, but never with pens until recently when I bought my first FP, which is a laege diameter pen. I got lots of criticism for terrible cursive, and printing was not allowed during 3rd and 4th grade, but nothing on what I was doing wrong. after 2 years of cursive, nothing has changed. my mother lived a few  hours away, an my dad does not write cursive, so no help at home.

3. during the time I learned and had to use cursive, there was too much emphasis on speed, and writing had to be on the paper fairly quickly. speed is the quickest way to make a mess out of anything.

4. what difference does it really make if it is printed or in cursive? what matters is if it can be read.

 

Forcing left handers to write right handed, paddling for minor mistake or ink blot (with a dip pen, no less), in my book, that is just sadistic.



#30 Namru

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 13:46

I went to an old fashioned English village school in the 90s where Ms. Cooper would hit a desk with a yard rule as me wrote lower case r's very and over again. Everyrime I don't use a loop, I see that gnarled face. But, my handwriting is quite lovely looking and I don't think you can treat kids like that these days.

What worries me more is the club fisted death grip my peers seem to use, with the pen in a vertical position and enough pressure exerted to stab a rhino.

#31 prolixbrio

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 13:47

Funny, I've done a handwriting comparison with my coevals, people much younger than me, and my elders. The result proved to be a generation thing. 


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#32 EpicDragon7

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 14:30

the funny thing is now that I am out of school and graduated college, and found FPs, I want to learn cursive and Italic and these different writing hands.



#33 knarflj

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 17:57

As I've skimmed through the thread, I have been thinking about the handwriting of the older members of my family, who were in elementary school in the 30s. Of my children's four grandparents, two of them had legible handwriting, but nothing you'd call elegant or beautiful. My dad's is atrocious - but he was a left-hander who had to more or less teach himself to write with that hand when efforts to make him right-handed didn't succeed. The only one with beautiful handwriting was an elementary school teacher, who had to write well.

 

I think part of the reason many of us who are younger don't write well may be that we normally learned first to print. Then before most of us got really good at that, we were switched to cursive, and only had enough instruction and practice to learn the basic forms, rather than continued evaluation and practice for enough years to make it beautiful. I know that at least one of my children tells me I should have made her practice handwriting more often and for more years. She's probably right: none of my children have particularly good handwriting, and they were home-schooled, so that's no one's fault but my own. There seems to be such a pressure to move on to "more important" subjects that we quit teaching handwriting when it's "good enough".  And of course when you learn with a pencil, you don't have to learn to form the letters correctly the first time, every time. If I were doing it over, we'd start with fountain pens from the get-go, and I'd keep doing occasional handwriting exercises at least throughout the elementary years.


"To read without also writing is to sleep." - St. Jerome

#34 ChickenScratch

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 22:18

I started grammar school in the late 1980s and cursive was taught in 2nd & 3rd grades as part of English class and in pencil.  After that, you were expected to write all  assignments and tests by hand in ink (ballpoints) and in cursive for all subjects and it was your responsibility to make sure the teacher could read your writing.  Illegible writing = failing grade since the teacher couldn’t read your paper.  You bet kids made an effort to write clearly and neatly!  I never handed in a typed or computer printed paper until university, where professors defined lengths of papers by number of pages, font size, and line spacing.  And even though I had a laptop, I still wrote all my notes by hand.  I have much better memory retention after writing something down than I do after typing it and this translated into less study time needed during finals week. Most of my classmates preferred typing their notes, so maybe most people don’t have this quirk.

 

Today, I think many parents would object to the rules similar to those in my grammar school because many people are so personally invested in how well their kids do.  If their child gets a low  grade for an assignment, they see that as a low grade for themselves as parents and they react emotionally instead of seeing it as their child’s responsibility to improve.  They try to justify their child’s work (or lack thereof) to anyone who will listen.  Sometimes their reactions make me suspect that they wrote the paper for their child so the low grade really is a reflection on them! 

 

A coworker was recently talking (or perhaps I should say, venting?) about yet another low grade her son got on a science paper.  Among other things he was marked down for illegibility, misspellings, and bad grammar.  She complained that penmanship, grammar, and spelling might be important in English class (note the “might”, implying that even in English class such arcana are probably not important), but this was science class, none of those things was relevant, so it was unfair that he was marked down for them.  Thank goodness I’m not a schoolteacher.  Her dismissive attitude shows up in her own work as well, as she routinely displays misspellings and bad grammar in her emails and project notes.


Don't sweat the small stuff....and it's all small stuff.

 


#35 Eastree

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:34

I have a symptom to add to the list, with a bit of an anecdote:

The other day I went to the dentist. There was another person there who had just filling out the new patient paperwork. The receptionist asked for clarification on one item on the forms, and they had a short discussion about his bad handwriting; he initiated that part. His conclusion was that in school, since he was criticized for poor writing skill, he had "just come to terms with it." I believe this apathy towards handwriting could be a major contributor to what has happened to handwriting.

 

Edit: I only mean to use the tale as an example of a trend I have noticed. I know many people who have given roughly the same response to comments about illegibility of their writing.


Edited by Eastree, 05 March 2014 - 04:35.


#36 JonSzanto

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:00

It's gone, only to be preserved by a minority.

 

I have a good friend who teaches literature at the university. Students started coming to her, bothered by the fact that they couldn't read her comments on their papers after grading. She has absolutely gorgeous handwriting, almost textbook cursive.

 

The students simply couldn't read cursive handwriting. If they can't read it, they certainly can't write it.

 

It is gone.


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#37 Chuasam

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:24

in exchange for having horrible handwriting, I learned a valuable skill instead : touch typing.

I can easily hit over 60wpm while many old folks hunt and peck with 2 fingers.

Now I hope to add lovely handwriting under my belt.



#38 GClef

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:48

2014-03-05%2003.43.27_zpsyj87rg7c.png

0305140344a_zpsrcyt0sdd.jpg

Now, look at where we're at.
THAT'S what happened to handwriting!

*Sorry...WILLIAM Austin Burt.

Edited by GClef, 05 March 2014 - 08:54.


#39 henkm

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:24

Doctors in the Netherlands are no longer allowed to write out drug prescriptions, they must now do so electronically (with some exceptions). One of the reasons given: to avoid errors due to bad handwriting.



#40 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:49

It's gone, only to be preserved by a minority.

 

I have a good friend who teaches literature at the university. Students started coming to her, bothered by the fact that they couldn't read her comments on their papers after grading. She has absolutely gorgeous handwriting, almost textbook cursive.

 

The students simply couldn't read cursive handwriting. If they can't read it, they certainly can't write it.

 

It is gone.

 

Odd. I too had a literature professor with absolutely gorgeous handwriting, and for some reason, whatever critique he made I took it with pleasure... his handwriting was that beautiful to behold. Even if he wrote "your paper makes no sense and this is the worst I've ever read, F", I would have taken it politely and did my best to perhaps rewrite. 


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923






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