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Sending Letters Overseas, Cursive Or Print?



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Just one suggestion, if you are going to write in cursive and you use letter forms that are noticeably different from standard print ones (like the capitals mentioned above, or the lower case r and s which are often quite dissimilar to print versions) it might help to include in your first letter the alphabet written out in both capitals and lower case. Then if the reader doesn't know what a letter form is they can refer to your alphabet to work it out. That won't help much in the department of reading easily and quickly, but it would help avoid the "can't understand this at all" problem (assuming the legibility of your writing is not a problem on its own).

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That is a very good idea @loganrah.

 

I never gave this a thought when I wrote to overseas pen pals. I wrote (American cursive). But taken from the reverse view, sometimes I’ve had a difficult time reading the cursive of a pen pal I used to write to in the UK.

 

I don’t write all my capital letters as taught. (F, T, I, Q, Z, M, A and maybe others). I think readers can figure it out in context. Maybe my capital I is confusing until a sentence starts with In.

 

I guess to me, write how you are comfortable writing, and perhaps let the person know it’s fine if they need to ask what a word or two were.

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Just yesterday I fell to talking with a woman who has been in teaching all her life, both here and abroad. She turned out to be a fountain pen fancier herself and could still turn out some very pretty writing.

 

Anyway, she told me that people in Europe and Asia can’t read cursive. I was astonished, but she assured me it was true...and disappointing.

So if you want your letter to be legible, I’m afraid you’re going to have to print.

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Cursive is still taught in Europe, not sure what makes your friend think or say that Europeans can't read cursive...

 

I'd write in my hand, end of story, no matter where the letter were to go, but just be careful to write legibly.

 

Cursive should be possible to be read by literally anyone who's learnt Latin script.

And who's taught Cyrillic the same applies: students learn print and cursive of that script as well.

 

I agree on the weirdness of American cursive I tend to see, at least I think it's usually Americans who write weirdly and I'm actually specifically thinking of the letter "G" (not the whole alphabet!). The whole letter is squished in one area and looks like a "Cj" or like... nothing, some scribble.

Like this http://shoppingfoorme.club/wp-content/uploads//2018/11/cursive-g-cursive-letter-g-letters-example-within-cursive-letter-g-cursive-sheet.jpg

I learnt the cursive "G" like this https://i.pinimg.com/236x/27/70/12/277012a7647b6895e22bd93e0ccae10d--letter-g-tattoo-wrist-tattoos.jpg?b=t

or this https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51rjOODkdBL._SL1121_.jpg

 

The first sample I never even recognize as a "G"...

Edited by Olya
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fpn_1550433965__img_4926.jpg

 

fpn_1550433978__img_4927.jpg

"We are one."

 

– G'Kar, The Declaration of Principles

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

 

Are you looking for a custom bound book? Check out my Etsy page.

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Well, now I really want to see how Europeans write capital letters! :D

 

most probably anything like this:

 

fpn_1550490129__lateinische_ausgangsschr

 

That was what my teachers wanted my handwriting to look like.

The other European forms do not differ that much from this one.

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most probably anything like this:

 

[pic]

 

That was what my teachers wanted my handwriting to look like.

The other European forms do not differ that much from this one.

 

Thanks! The capital S is the only one that would seem weird to some Americans, but I can see where the US version of a few letters might be hard to recognize, if above is what you're used to. For the record, I don't know anyone willing to write Q like the number 2 - everyone thinks it's way too weird and writes some variation of a printed Q, like in your image. :D Whoever invented that weird 2-like Q should get their knuckles rapped by a ruler! ;)

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...everyone thinks it's way too weird and writes some variation of a printed Q, like in your image.

 

If everyone does that, then I guess that makes me no one ;) . Oh well.

Edited by Tweel

fpn_1375035941__postcard_swap.png * * * "Don't neglect to write me several times from different places when you may."
-- John Purdue (1863)

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... For the record, I don't know anyone willing to write Q like the number 2 - everyone thinks it's way too weird and writes some variation of a printed Q, like in your image.

 

If everyone does that, then I guess that makes me no one ;) . Oh well.

 

I kinda figured the intro (in bold) made it clear I was speaking of the subset identified as "people I know". :) If you can pull off that Q-like-a-2 character, more power to ya!

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most probably anything like this:

 

fpn_1550490129__lateinische_ausgangsschr

 

That was what my teachers wanted my handwriting to look like.

The other European forms do not differ that much from this one.

This is the style I was taught in "special needs" handwriting lessons in 1993-4 in the UK.

 

(I'm dyspraxic, and it took me a long time to be able to produce legible handwriting. I'm now a calligrapher!)

Edited by Inkysloth

Instagram @inkysloth
My website http://inkysloth.moonfruit.com/

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I print exclusively, including domestic US correspondence. Has less to do with recipients' understanding of cursive and more to do with a scrawl I never could advance beyond abysmal.

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First, most european countries adopted partially English cursive (Copperplate-like) at some point or suffered a fade/fashion wave of using it. You can find copy books on the "English hand" in almost any country form the XVII or XVIII centuries. In most cases this resulted in a local script that would be a mixture of the traditional one and English hand by mid XIX and translate into "modern" writing for the XX.

 

Second, it may sound awkward in the US, but there are few european countries (a la US): most of us have invaded / have been invaded / have merged / have split from each other at least once (and often more) in the last Centuries. Even when that is not the case, almost no EU Country could do alone, there has been a huge commercial intercourse. You would not be able to have it if people were unable to read each others' books, notes, invoices, orders, accounts... Which also contributed to bringing scripts together: first with Chancelleresca, but when later they started to diverge again (as in the times of insular writing), soon you'd have a "business" script and a "personal" one and these would converge by foreign influences.

 

That may explain why XX C. copybooks from the Netherlands, France, Spain or Italy would look so similar (to name a few) yet distinguishable (in the fine detail) although almost undistinguishable (overall).

 

Google for "cuadernos escritura Rubio" in Google Images to see what late XX Century writing looked like in Spain and compare with the samples above.Before that it would be the Palmer method or "bastarda" (mixed Spanish, Italic and English) related ones.

 

Third, contemporary writing is an altogether different story, but I'd bet it's closely similar everywhere. Recent trends in education have had it that children should not be coerced into a specific form of writing but left alone to develop/discover their own. Which is a disaster due to timing: the trend came about together with computers, tablets and cell phones. That explains why many people cannot write (or maybe understand) cursive writing: they only know capitals, or print scripts and can hardly write "cursively" (i.e. fast and legible) since they almost only write on electronic devices.

 

Even worst: with voice interfaces, many youngsters start not to even type, but to talk to their devices, and do not read but listen to YouTube tutorials, which which they are losing even typing. Never mind how inefficient that is (you can't "read across" a time-linear video).

 

I bet something similar applied to most of the rest of the World: Asia was trading with UK, Spain, France or Germany since the XVI, Africa was colonized by europeans for most of the XIX-XX, and at least in the Francophone areas they still learn the French way, Australia had a heavy UK influence...

 

So, summarizing, I'd say: if a Norwegian has been able to understand the writing of an Spaniard, you may as well feel confident they'll understand you. If a South-american could correspond with a Philippino, a Mexican with a Chinese, a Greek with a German, etc... Geez, man! It's gonna be damn surprising if they can't understand you.

 

Personally, I have more trouble reading the *ahem* (for lack of a better word) of some of my fellow-nationals than the writing of many "aliens" (and believe me, I've dealt with people from more countries than years I have, and I have a bag lot of them.

 

Finally, if there's something we learnt in EU (again, may seem surprising from a US POV), is that our differences are as interesting as our similarities. And we are proud of them and try to keep them alive. If you change your writing style to write me, then your are hiding your real self from me, how can I trust you then?

Edited by txomsy
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I agree on the weirdness of American cursive I tend to see, at least I think it's usually Americans who write weirdly and I'm actually specifically thinking of the letter "G" (not the whole alphabet!). The whole letter is squished in one area and looks like a "Cj" or like... nothing, some scribble.

Like this http://shoppingfoorme.club/wp-content/uploads//2018/11/cursive-g-cursive-letter-g-letters-example-within-cursive-letter-g-cursive-sheet.jpg

I learnt the cursive "G" like this https://i.pinimg.com/236x/27/70/12/277012a7647b6895e22bd93e0ccae10d--letter-g-tattoo-wrist-tattoos.jpg?b=t

or this https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51rjOODkdBL._SL1121_.jpg

 

The first sample I never even recognize as a "G"...

As an American, I'm not sure I've ever seen those two latter "G", where the letter goes below the baseline. It looks like it can't decide to be uppercase or lowercase. I noticed that if the bottom swoop is shifted up, it's basically the american "G".
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Which do you use to address the envelope? This may give a clue, as it must be easily read and understood by quite a few people, before it reaches its destination.

 

I think even more important than the people, the address needs to be legible to machines. Most mail is processed and sorted by automation nowadays. I even stick on printed labels with the address in the foreign language where possible (in addition to local English).
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Write the note in your best hand. Include a typed version.

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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Whatever you decide regarding the letter, keep one thing in mind. Address the envelope in print. Most letter sorting is done by automated machines which can read print, but don't do so well in cursive. Especially in a different language.

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fpn_1550929741__img_4936.jpg

 

fpn_1550929757__img_4937.jpg

"We are one."

 

– G'Kar, The Declaration of Principles

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

 

Are you looking for a custom bound book? Check out my Etsy page.

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