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As a personal observation, I find many people in the business world now write, when they are put in a situation where they must hand write something, in a hybrid style that drunkenly weaves back and forth in a single written sentence between both cursive and printed letters with many business associates adding the occasional smiley face or other emotive for good measure.

 

Conventional wisdom, as reported in the media, seems to support the idea that hand writing, particularly cursive writing, is an anachronism and is seeing its last days as a relevant form of communication as the general populace increasingly adapts to a faster, much less nuanced and short hand form of communication that better suits the clipped one or two sentence style of digital communication most prevalent today.

 

Will the last living person to write with a pen please replace the cap?

 

RJR

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Some of the most complex, beautiful, profound expressions of humankind were set down with a simple pointed stick. Whether we should teach kids this trick or not is a question, but I'm glad I know how.

 

Doug

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Luckily for me, I'm not one to take notice of conventional wisdom.

I'm happy writing cursive in a neat, legible hand that I was taught as an 8 year old. I couldn't give a toss how others choose to write.

Long reign the House of Belmont.

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It is regrettable that too many- especially of today's youth are not learning cursive and have difficulty sometimes even reading it let alone writing it.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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My eight year old is being taught cursive. His teachers are quite concerned about his 'handwriting." This was from when he started printing.

 

If we happen to be behind some curve in this, that's fine with me...

 

T

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Unfortunately most of my colleague physicians have a pitiful and horrific handwriting. We’re about to change into complete electronically medical records and many are welcoming this just because it is practically impossible to read what my colleagues write. I am not happy for the change for then I won’t be using my FP’s :(

sonia alvarez

 

fpn_1379481230__chinkinreduced.jpg

 

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Let's admit it: handwriting is going to become extinct. We should accept it, especially now with all those touchscreen devices where you all you have to do is move your finger from one key of a virtual keyboard to another. It's simply a matter of time before such skills are considered more important than holding a pencil and making marks on paper (not to mention cursive writing with a fountain pen), even at elementary school. Who can object to that? Interaction with digital devices is becoming increasingly important and the influence of its interfaces is felt well beyond digital environments. On the positive side, we could see a drop in the absurdly high prices of many vintage fountain pens as a result.

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On the positive side, we could see a drop in the absurdly high prices of many vintage fountain pens as a result.

 

Yes... Everyone quit writing and give me all of your fountain pens!!! I typically write in all-caps, but only because my dad is an engineer and I grew up watching him write in all-caps. It drove my teachers nuts when I was in school. They said that it wasn't proper and that I wasn't learning where a sentence started and began and what proper nouns were. So I started using larger capitals as "capital" letters and smaller caps for "lowercase" letters. That still didn't please them so I changed to regular print and cursive. Then they complained that my writing was too small... I remember having parent teacher conferences because my teachers felt I was being deliberately disruptive with my handwriting.

 

I now write in all-caps for the most part, unless I'm using a stub nib and feeling fancy. Even then, it's a weird script/calligraphy/graffiti hybrid... Wonder what my teachers would say now. :D

 

In all seriousness, though, handwriting is an important part of human communication and my children will learn to write well.

No, that's not blood. That's Noodler's Antietam.

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Honestly, this doom-and-gloom kind of stuff annoys me.

 

Yes, people do write less. No, people won't stop writing. Writing will be a niche hobby, just like all the other handicrafts. But just because people don't need to handknit anymore doesn't mean that no one does. There's a lot of things that people can outsource but don't (knitting, weaving, crocheting, cooking, fixing appliances, house repairs, sewing). And to be honest, there's a lot of interest in writing well. I think that handwriting hasn't positioned itself well compared to the other crafting hobbies, which is shame and something we should try to correct. There's a mystique about it that there isn't about (for example) knitting that keeps people away. That's the real problem, IMO.

 

TL;DR

There's no reason to start a dirge for handwriting. If you're so worried about it, start giving FPs away, bringing writing up in conversations about hobbies, etc.

Edited by WirsPlm
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Conventional wisdom is based on overexcited proclamations from enthusiast groups, then repeated by the media looking for an exciting story. Sure, people can type now more than they used to, but some people are acting like handwriting is already archaic and antique. Surely they say, our kids will never encounter the need for it (despite still being in active and common use).

http://stubblefield.me Inks Available for Sample Exchange: Noodler's Black, Blue Black, Apache Sunset, Private Reserve Black Cherry, Sherwood Green, Tanzanite, Velvet Black, De Atramentis Aubergine, J. Herbin Lie de The, 1670 Rouge Hematite, Bleu Ocean, Lamy Turquoise, Rohrer & Klingner Salix, Sheaffer Skrip Blue-Black, OS Red Rubber Ball, Parker Quink Blue (India version)

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Blame Gutenberg!

 

I think I fall somewhere nearer to WirsPlm on this issue than the OP. I think all the hand wrining and regreting about the demise of handwriting is louder here because for many of us, it was a compulsory element of education and was certainly seen as an essetial skill for making one's way in a literate society. It's not anymore. We can now function in the world without any reliance on cursive writing. I suspect for some time we will need to be able to apply a written signature, but I doubt even that will be a necessity in 25 years. Who among us is distrubed by the passing of Morse code? We mourn the loss of cursive because it was dear to us, most of us came along after Morse code was sent to the store room of superceeded technology. Underwood 5, IBM Selectric, where have you gone?

 

communication evolves and with the rise of technology it evolves at an ever faster rate. Most of us 'learned' on a rotary phone, but our children may or may not have ever used one (not to brag HERE but the first phone to come into my family home was an old hand ringer hanging on the wall, our 'number was 'two longs and a short'). Do you have a cell phone? Is it a flip phone, a 'keyed' phone, or a 'touch screen' phone? See what I mean?

 

Cursive handwriting will always be around because it is attractive and cherished by a dedicated following. But it's not essential, any more than Morse code is. I don't believe cursive handwriting will become a lost art, I believe it will become a cherished, anachronistic art, and I say thanks to all of you for carrying it on.

 

By the way, if you saw my henscratch, you might hail the passing of cursive.

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By the way, if you saw my henscratch, you might hail the passing of cursive.

 

+Infinity. Cursive is not the be-all end-all of writing.

 

Honestly, I'm all for people writing however they feel comfortable. The OP's snobbery (drunken hybrid style, wut?) is honestly part of the problem with handwriting-as-hobby. I've never met a knitter who looked down on people who knit differently (I mean, I'm sure they exist, just not very common). But a lot of people who handwrite for a hobby seem to think it's OK to pass judgement on those whose handwriting doesn't meet their taste. If it's legible and the person is happy with it, why does anyone else get a vote?

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I wouldnt write off hand writing any time soon. A local university did a test. The gave a lecture and half the class took notes using their favorite electronic devices, laptop, ipads etc. The other half took notes handwriting. The latter group using good ole pen and paper generally scored higher in the post lecture exam. There are other evidence to suggest hand writing is related to brain function that fosters better creativity and memory than keypad entry.

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" The latter group using good ole pen and paper generally scored higher in the post lecture exam."

 

I don't doubt it. The character of my writing is noticably different (to me) when I write with pen and ink than when I use a keyboard. But then fresh vegetable snacks are better for the average person than are potato chips and cheetos, and still we see the veggies wilting in the cold case as the chips fly off the shelves.

 

Don't get me wrong, I am not 'anti' writing, but I believe that it will be some time befor we see a resurgence in handwriting that comes close to being even with those who print and or keyboard. I say it will be 'some time' because I believe there is always hope; look at the trends in smoking here in the US over the last 60 years. There will always be 'writers', we just have to try to be open and inviting in hopes of encourging others.

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There's some very interesting work being done on how physically writing ties into memory and learning. There's also some interesting studies out there for books - in particular one study found that people remember where things happened in a book with mechanisms similar to how they remembered physical locations, suggesting that people really do remember material better when they read it in a physical book. I've found that to be true IME also. Hopefully more people decide to start studying this kind of thing.

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Well, as someone who learned Morse code (in the military - I was a radio operator), all I can say is when digital communication systems fail, we'll all be picking up our chisels and stone tablets and handing what we "write" to a person on a horse who will wildly gallop to the next town to deliver our message, and be dang grateful if the horse doesn't step in a gopher hole and break it's leg in the process.

 

Obsolete or not, words written non-digitally will never completely disappear.

 

And as for knitting - as I type this on my PC, my feet are encased in a pair of socks I knitted for myself nine years ago - beautiful, handmade and still going strong!

Breathe. Take one step at a time. Don't sweat the small stuff. You're not getting older, you are only moving through time. Be calm and positive.

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This topic comes up every 3-6 months. I can't seem to find the last thread, but we talked about associations with handwriting to 'legitimate culture'. I owned up to my own writing being, well about average, but still enjoying writing; it is the mix of broken cursive that you talked about.

 

Google your favourite author's handwriting, very few write in cursive, most have gaps.

 

Some of mine:

Huxley

Orwell (particularly interesting, he sometimes joins several words and breaks in the middle of others)

Steinbeck

Hemingway

Swift

 

Very little of what I handwrite write is read by anyone else (other than letters to family and friends), its mostly drafts for journal or conference papers and the occasional few words on a script when marking. My handwriting serves me very well.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. -Carl Sagan

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Indeed the topic comes up frequently. It's part of a larger rant about kids these days. To some degree, yes, technology does change the needs for vocational training. But a key point not to lose sight of, in my mind, is that public education was not originally supposed to be vocational training.

We have allowed mission drift that has in effect left us with education for the elite, but training and warehousing for the masses. As automation and globalization make us masses in developed countries less and less relevant to the economic needs of the elite (see Germany for an interesting counterexample) we can expect the emphasis to shift further from training toward warehousing. Kids don't need any particular skills for a life of marginal employment and frustration. They need chronically low expectations and the ability to distract themselves unobtrusively. Many public schools are superb at granting both.

ron

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...

Google your favourite author's handwriting, very few write in cursive, most have gaps.

 

Some of mine:

Huxley

Orwell (particularly interesting, he sometimes joins several words and breaks in the middle of others)

Steinbeck

Hemingway

Swift

 

Very little of what I handwrite write is read by anyone else (other than letters to family and friends), its mostly drafts for journal or conference papers and the occasional few words on a script when marking. My handwriting serves me very well.

 

Really fascinating to look at the handwriting examples. Swift's looks very much like Thomas Jefferson's from the same era:

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Declaration_of_Independence_draft_%28detail_with_changes_by_Franklin%29.jpg

 

I think your comment that, "Very little of what I handwrite write is read by anyone else," explains why most current handwriting isn't as legible now. We don't use our handwriting for others to read.

 

When I decided to reform my handwriting a number of years ago, I wanted it to be readable by an unfamiliar third party, but like yours, most of it is for my eyes only. But there is a satisfaction in being able to write something someone else can read...

 

Doug

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