1/26/09

The slow, ongoing death of cursive handwriting

As bloggers, we are part of the "problem", are we not? Do you even care? How do you write? I use block letters and I have since high school when I suddenly realized noone cared one way or another. My penmanship was always poor, and frankly, I don't like the look of cursive handwriting. So good riddance!
However much you studied...your "hand" was distinctive - as personal as your voice or laugh. But as typewriters proliferated after World War II, handwriting gradually became less important. Authors typed their manuscripts and students typed their school papers. As telephones became universal, letter-writing virtually disappeared. In the e-mail age, most people seldom need to write more than a grocery list or a short note, or sign a check. It's not only kids; many who formerly wrote fluently and neatly have forgotten how.
Link, Via, Via.

"Sign a check"? Do you still write checks? I wrote my last check a couple years ago, and never got around to ordering new checks. I pay all my bills online. Don't you?

11 comments:

Frances said...

Hi Chuck, good food for thought. I still write in my garden journal and noticed how I could barely hold the pen properly and the script was messy and barely legible. I have vowed to try harder and take my time, it all about being in a hurry. I do still pay a few bills by check in the mail. I want to keep my beloved mailman Claude who I exchange plants with employed for a while longer until her retires.
Frances

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Funny this topic should come up right now. Our daughter's school does not teach cursive. They have so much already they have to get in during the course of a day, or marking period, that they do not have time to teach cursive. And her teacher's even told us that if she does get the time, she'd rather teach the kids to type (we're talking fifth grade here) a more useful skill for them.

We have taken it upon ourselves to teach her cursive. She's got a hand-eye coordination problem relating to an eye problem (no peripheral vision!). Her block letters look like those of a kindergartner. Can't keep letters on a baseline, writes off the page, letters change in size dramatically and cannot distinguish a d or b to save her life.

With cursive, her handwriting is drastically better and has none of the above problems.

Michelle said...

That's really interesting. I've never given much thought to handwrititng, but now that I think about it, my husband gave up cursive for block writing and my own writing has devolved into something of a hybrid. My 88 year old mother has the most beautiful and legible cursive writing of anyone I know. She actually writes letters - and they are such a joy to read!But, hey, I still write an occasional check.

Pam/Digging said...

I write checks for the piano teacher and other service folks. But I know what you mean. I tend to write in a mixture of cursive and printing. My son never learned cursive in elementary school and got to middle school without knowing how to sign his own name, which I thought ridiculous. On legal documents, one is asked for your printed name and your signature, after all.

chuck b. said...

Great comments!

I was thinking signature is the one thing you need penmanship tools for...but not necessarily penmanship. My signature is a big looppy thing that has block letter first letters and then a mixture of cursive and arsty loops. Guy's signature is, more than anything else, a subtly complex mark.

I remember spending a lot of time on penmanship as late as the sixth grade, when maybe I would have benefited more from working on fractions, et cetera...

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

I loved penmanship class! WRiting line after line of letters was fun. But writing line after line of "I will not poke Tommy with my pen" during detention was a bit more tedious.
--Curmudgeon

queerbychoice said...

I pay rent with checks, and I use cursive handwriting occasionally for other things - I print when taking notes for my own use, but I use cursive if I'm writing to someone else. Which, granted, doesn't happen very often off the computer. But there are occasional thank-you notes to relatives and such.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I take copious notes in cursive - too bad I can't read them! Law school ruined my handwriting (which wasn't that great to begin with), have to take so many notes, as quickly as possible. My spouse & I often have a good laugh trying to read each other's writing on the grocery list.

Entangled said...

Odd coincidence - I've just been having a discussion online and in email with commenters and family members after I did a post for my genealogy blog about National Handwriting Day (was Jan. 23). Just about everybody agrees that their handwriting has deteriorated in the Internet age. I gave up cursive in high school because I thought it was cooler to print. Now I can't even print well.

Annie in Austin said...

Hello Chuck,

For National Handwriting Day, Entangled put a post about her great-grandmother's penmanship on her genealogy blog.

I used to have rather pretty handwriting at one time, but all those years of gripping trowel handles and pruning shears ended that!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lisa said...

Heh, my cursive is awful! I only use it for my signature, and I find even writing "Merry Christmas" on my cards to be clumsy...I have to concentrate! I don't especially miss it, but I do still use checks. I like the pictures, and order mine from the Styles check company. I'm working my way through the "rock n' roll" section of fan checks...I just finished a box of Alice Cooper, and now on to Jimi Hendricks.