Death of Cursive Handwriting: Will It Make Historical Documents Indecipherable?

The drumbeat of lamentation of how cursive handwriting is dying continues (It seems like every year we have a post on the death knell of cursive, so why should 2011 be any different?)

Young people rarely use cursive anymore, and that may be fine for their daily communication needs, but consider this report by Katie Zezima for The New York Times: the death of cursive also means that a growing number of historical documents will become indecipherable to them.

Jimmy Bryant, director of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Central Arkansas, says that a connection to archival material is lost when students turn away from cursive. While teaching last year, Mr. Bryant, on a whim, asked students to raise their hands if they wrote in cursive as a way to communicate. None did.

That cursive-challenged class included Alex Heck, 22, who said she barely remembered how to read or write cursive. Ms. Heck and a cousin leafed through their grandmother’s journal shortly after she died, but could barely read her cursive handwriting.

“It was kind of cryptic,” Ms. Heck said. She and the cousin tried to decipher it like one might a code, reading passages back and forth. “I’m not used to reading cursive or writing it myself.”

Link | The Atlantic has the counterargument


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P.S: We started using a fountain pen since 4th std or 5th std, and using a fountain pen was like a puberty thing in schools. ;)
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I hardly doubt that, we've been taught how to write in cursive since school. Its a compulsion in many decent schools across India.. I still write in cursive, a habit that's been force fed into my hands/brain since my 1st std
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I'm late to the party here, but a coupl eof comments:
1. My regular pen is a fountain pen. With computers, I don't write as much as I did taking notes in college, but a fountain pen is WAY easier to right fast with than just about anything -- there is virtually no friction so your hand doesn't get tired nearly as easily.
2. Difficulty reading penmanship is a big problem modern Germans have reading Sütterlin handwriting. This is a form of cursive handwriting that was only taught in Germany during the early 20th century and is pretty tough to read if you aren't used to looking at it. Here's a link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%BCtterlin
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